Top 10 Tips to Create Strong Emotions Between Characters
Emotions between characters stems from their character, ambitions, worldview, and morals. These all add into how they react, and how they clash, with other characters. The best way to keep emotions running strong among your cast is to make them chafe. Let them scrape against each other and use that friction to set off the storyline and keep it moving.
Romeo and Juliet would be just another sweet love story between young lovers if it weren't for the long-standing feud between their families. Adding in that issue meant for angst, worry, desperate measures, and eventually, misunderstanding leading to death.
Want to move your readers? Keep the emotions strong between your characters and watch the reactions. You can do this by using the 10 tips below as you write.
1. Love and Desire
Love is one of the strongest driving forces in human nature. Romantic love can drive a character through wars and distance. Unrequited love can drive a character to rage and revenge. What happens between the parties involved here has impact on how each responds or is spurned. What may seem like a sweet gesture giving a Valentine may lead to a first kiss in a YA romance, or a stalker if the gesture is rejected by an adult coworker. Either way, a strong emotion has been created.
2. Yearning and Distance
It's natural for people attracted to each other or who share a bond to want to be near each other. Distance can infuriate and intensify this loss of contact. In romances, two characters that are together page after page may never have the chance to miss the other. Break them up, space them out, but let them miss each other.
Make a strong bond between your characters, whether familial, romantic, dedicated servant to master, allegiance but make it unbreakable for a reason. And then test that bond through trials.
A character being aloof to another has repercussions, but only if the character getting the cold-shoulder cares. Without that caring attitude, aloofness doesn't work. Characters will go to long lengths to remedy this detached attitude from someone whom they care about.
Just as love makes people go to extremes, so does hate. Hate can stem from envy, jealousy, unrequited love, a sense of vengeance, or any many other strong emotions. Hate can drive people and agendas for years. Use it.
The driving force behind jealousy is resentment. Jealousy can fester, build, explode, or even implode. This is a powerful motivation from a spelling bee to romantic rivals to murder to the contesting of a will.
7. Push Buttons
Characters knowing what makes another character react the button to push will give that character a powerful tool against the other. This usually means the characters must know each other well. This one works well with revenge and resentment.
Even the closest of characters can fall into the rivalry trap. Pitting characters against each other over a common goal on level playing fields makes for good conflict in a story. One look at history will show how it has moved country borders and tossed crowns from head to head.
9. Strange Bedfellows
The saying goes that the enemy of your enemy is your friend. If that holds true in your story, then you have characters allying with perhaps a sudden, not quite chosen partner. This can create conflict as well as a common goal.
10. Same Goals, One Prize
Just as in the marketplace, the less there is of something, the more valuable it becomes. Pitting characters against each other to obtain the one and only of a prize is a stomp-on-the-competition survival motive. This works in many mediums, from the Battle Royale and The Hunger Games novels to The Running Man movie.
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