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Relationships between characters are important, because they show what kind of people they are and help them to feel like real people.
When meeting someone new you slowly get to know them, so I do the same thing when my characters meet. Whether it turns into a friendship or a romance, I allow them time to get to know each other. I like romance where it starts out as a friendship and then gradually becomes something more. I have nothing against love at first site, but I like my characters to have a connection beyond their initial attraction. Their feelings for each other slowly build over time.
A character’s friendship should also grow as they get to know each other. I wouldn’t tell someone I just met everything about myself. The same is true when characters first meet, they should hold things back. Even after they’ve known each other for years, there are going to be things they still don’t know about each other. Everyone has secrets, and characters should too.
Secrets are a good way to add tension and conflict to the story, and can cause problems for a relationship. When one friend has been keeping something important from the other, it hurts and can change things between them, even more so if they were romantic. If they make up, this experience can bring them closer together, but for some things there is no forgiveness.
Characters are like people in the way that they betray one another, for various reasons. Even if a betrayal doesn’t end a relationship, chances are it won’t be the same, trust will undoubtedly have been lost.
Just because characters are fictional doesn’t mean they should always get along. If a relationship is too perfect it seems unrealistic and can become dull. No matter how much we like someone, we fight with them sometimes. I find the opposite equally annoying, when characters constantly bicker even though they are supposed to like one another. All relationships have their ups and downs. It’s how friends handle the downs that’s important.
A true friend is there not only during good times, but stays during the bad times as well. When everything goes wrong for my character do their friends stand by them? These are the kinds of things that make characters who they are. As their friendships grows and they get to know one another, it makes it feel as though they are real friends.
What is your favorite fictional friendship?
I’m a fan of the way JK Rowling handled Harry, Ron, and Hermione.