Are your character bonds fleeting and forgettable, or can they ignite a fire within your readers’ hearts and keep them hooked on your book?

Whether it’s a captivating romance, heartwarming familial love, or a wholesome friendship, the way you write relationships can make or break your story. Authentic and nuanced connections can immerse your readers, while shallow relationships devoid of spark can leave your story feeling lackluster.

So, how can you write relationships that feel genuine and engage your readers? Let’s dive into some must-know tips!

Define Their History

Show the characters’ relationship history. Consider whether you want to showcase their first encounter within the ongoing story or provide glimpses of their past. In either case, expand on that history. By delving into these details, you add depth and authenticity to their relationships.

Questions to Ask

Example

Two strangers reach for the same book and engage in playful banter about who saw it first. Their initial impressions of each other are filled with a mix of competitiveness and curiosity.

As they keep encountering each other in the bookstore, their impressions gradually evolve. With each interaction, they discover shared interests and a growing sense of familiarity.

Develop the Relationship Slowly

If your characters meet during the course of the story, take the time to develop their relationship. Realistically portray their journey as it intertwines with different plot advancements and situations. Allow your readers to witness the growth and complexity that unfolds through their journey together.

Questions to Ask

Example

In a mystical forest, three unlikely friends meet and join forces for a dangerous quest to save the world. As they face challenges and foes, their bond grows stronger.

They learn about each other’s pasts, building trust. Their friendship becomes crucial in unraveling mysteries and defeating the ultimate evil.

Uncover What Makes Them Connect

Uncover the elements that emotionally bind your characters to each other. Explore these connections to forge a strong and believable bond.

Questions to Ask

Example

A musician and an illustrator meet at an art exhibit and bond over their shared passion for creativity. Their connection grows stronger as they inspire and support each other through their art, forging a lasting bond.

Embrace Personality Differences

While we’ve explored what brings your characters together, it’s equally important to explore what makes them clash. Avoid creating carbon copy characters. Instead, make them distinct from each other and let those differences become integral to the story. They can learn from each other, or their conflicting personalities can become catalysts for growth and development.

Questions to Ask

Example

A spontaneous person befriends a cautious individual, leading to an exciting and tense friendship.

Their contrasting personalities create conflict but also opportunities for growth. They learn from each other, finding a balance between impulsiveness and caution.

Introduce Conflict

Speaking of conflicts, these are important ingredients not to leave out! Just as real-life relationships aren’t always smooth sailing and have bumps, your fictional relationships should have conflicts too. A relationship that is always perfect isn’t just unrealistic; it’s also boring!

Questions to Ask

Example

Two best friends experience a misunderstanding when one makes a decision without consulting the other. It causes hurt feelings and a temporary rift. They realize the need for open communication and have an honest conversation to understand each other.

With empathy, they mend their bond and learn from the conflict. This strengthens their friendship and commitment to open communication.

Add Subtlety

Remember the good old advice: Show, don’t tell. When portraying character interactions, it’s important to add subtlety. Don’t explicitly state all their feelings and thoughts through monologues or dialogues. Instead, build some of it up with subtlety and subtext to add nuance and intrigue.

Questions to Ask

Example

In a budding romance, affection grows through small gestures, lingering glances, and subtle changes in their tone. Emotions are conveyed through body language and hidden desires, adding intrigue to their conversations.

Evolve Relationship Dynamics

Relationships aren’t stagnant. They’re always changing along with time, experiences, personality changes, circumstances, and situations. Reflect on that in your writing. Perhaps the characters grow closer and closer as they face challenges together. Maybe they open up more and reveal vulnerable aspects of themselves. Alternatively, they might experience conflicts or external factors that cause them to drift apart.

Questions to Ask

Example

Two siblings experience evolving dynamics as they grow and face life’s challenges. Their individual growth and changing communication styles impact their bond. Moments of vulnerability either bring them closer together or cause conflicts that push them apart.

Sum-Up

Strong relationships enrich your story, immerse your readers, and leave a lasting impact.

By defining their history with each other, developing their bond slowly, exploring their connections and conflicts, adding subtlety to their interactions, and keeping their dynamics evolving, you can create authentic and engaging bonds between your characters.

With these tips, dive into the power of chemistry and make your characters’ relationships shine! Happy writing.

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