There’s nothing that spices up a story quite like a dynamic relationship between characters. If your creations are too similar and want the same things, your story loses a lot of potential conflict and momentum. But if characters are opposites forced to work together, your story suddenly has the potential for fireworks.
Write about an odd couple. No, your characters don’t have to be an actual romantic couple. They can be siblings, classmates, friends, enemies, or anything in-between. But you do need to have a couple (two people), and they do need to be at odds. Their personalities and their motivations should be dramatically divergent. Try to exaggerate their differences and see what action transpires.
- Your story doesn’t have to focus heavily on conflict. It can just take a look at your characters’ relationship, and how their differences cause them to interact with each other.
- If you do choose to go for conflict, it doesn’t have to be violent or angry. It can be a gentle disagreement between best friends, or the quiet break-up of a long marriage. There should, however, be enough conflict to make the story interesting.
- What makes your characters different? Is it age? Wealth? Ability? Religion? Personality? Make sure to clearly define your characters’ differences and use them to shape your story’s plot, including motivation and resolution.
- Do these characters hate each other? Love each other unconditionally? Are they ambivalent towards each other? Do they need each other? They shouldn’t be neutral. If their emotions are dynamic, their relationship will also be dynamic.
- Does your couple have a fraught history? Or maybe they’ve just met each other and already regret it. Think about the story of their past together. How did they get to this point?
- How about a punk rock father and his conservative bookworm daughter? Or a pair of criminals that can never agree on how to execute their crimes? Or a husband who desperately wants a child pleading with his wife who doesn’t even want a goldfish?
Go challenge some reader expectations, really work those differences, and have fun!
If you used this prompt, please comment below with your stories and your thoughts. There are many more guest prompts to come.