Character Relationships and their importance in your story

I love getting feedback on my blog and answering people’s writing questions.

Riaha wants to know …

Why is it important for a character in a book to have more than one relationship?

Riaha, this post is for you.

FIVE REASONS FOR HAVING MULTIPLE RELATIONSHIPS IN YOUR STORY

Here are FIVE reasons why I think a character in a book needs more than one relationship.

  1. Multiple relationships give us an opportunity to show different aspects of a character

In real life we often have very different views of people. Take some of our politicians for example. The people who vote for them have a very different perspective from those who vote against them.

For example, a politician who is seen as arrogant and cruel by some might be seen as caring by his/her family or a voter they have helped in the past.

Having relationships with various characters allows us to see different sides to our main character … the good and the bad.

As in real life, we reveal different parts of ourselves to different people.

2. It allows us to create a character that readers are more likely to engage with.

If we see a character relating to other characters and they like him or her, this creates an opportunity for us to show what makes this character likeable, and this makes a reader more inclined to like them.

A reader is more likely to connect with someone if they see that others think they are a good person.

  1. Gives a more balanced perspective

By seeing things from different points of view, not just what the main character thinks about a relationship, this allows the reader to assess things in their own mind and come to their own conclusions about whether the main character is credible.

For example, if our main character believes that they are well liked because they are always kind, but other people don’t see them that way because they have been unkind in the past, this allows us to assess whether the main character should be believed in other judgments they make as well.

Or another example, what if a character thinks another character loves them, but the opposite is true? In this instance, our main character’s relationship with someone else could be used to reveal this truth.

  1. Relationships can reveal things about setting and plot

For example, if our main character’s partner works in a night club, this allows the writer to reveal certain thing about that partner and the place they work.

But if the main character’s brother is a priest then this gives the writer a chance to show a different setting, and also a possible source of conflict in the story.

  1. Relationships add layers and conflict.

As in the example above, if our main character has two people they love who have potentially opposing views then this will create a dilemma/possible conflict for our character, allowing them to reveal more of who they are to the reader. How they handle this dilemma will give us information about the sort of person they are.

If the story only showed the relationship between the main character and their partner, this would be a lost opportunity for conflict and would only show us how our main character reacts to one person, their loved one.

Showing a character’s relationship with someone they hated would reveal completely different things about them.

Relationships are often the basis of sub plots. They enrich and add depth to a story.

Thanks Riaha for your great question. I hope you found my response helpful.

If any other writers have experiences that demonstrate why it’s important for a character to have more than one relationship, feel free to share them in the comments section of this post.

Also, feel free to ask your own writing question and I’ll answer it hear on this blog in May (after I get back from Paris).

Happy writing 🙂

Dee

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