Here are some tips for writing strong, compelling characters and relationships in your writing:
- Give each character clear motivations, backstory, interests, and quirks that make them unique and complex. Well-rounded characters feel more real.
- Character flaws, weaknesses, and internal conflicts make characters relatable and interesting. Avoid overly perfect characters.
- Dialogue and actions should align with and reveal each character's personality. Distinct speech patterns and behaviors show who they truly are.
- Characters should grow, develop, and change over time, especially in response to events in the story and interactions with other characters. Dynamic characters engage readers.
- Relationships should have history, tension, chemistry, power-dynamics, banter, etc. to add depth. Build connections through shared experiences and interactions.
- Complex relationships experience ups and downs, not just constant happiness. Add conflict, miscommunication, jealousy, arguments, etc. for compelling relationship arcs.
- Build relationships gradually through small moments vs. all at once. Let characters interact repeatedly to reveal different sides of themselves and bond.
- Characters' different perspectives, personalities, goals, backgrounds, etc. can create obstacles and enrich relationships when explored.
- Flaws between characters can cause friction but also be complementary if balanced (e.g. one aggressive, one passive).
- The stakes feel higher if relationships tie into core needs (love, acceptance, self-worth). Raising the emotional intensity engages readers.
To progress from these ideas:
- Have two of them know each other from years before
- They haven't met since then
- One of them discourages the other from recognition when others are around.
- later she tells him --- what? Why didn't she want the others to know about their previous relationship?
- Have two of them instantly at odds with each other. There are no cultural problems that the crew is aware of, and the two characters don't understand it either. They are just at odds on most topics.
- Kill one of the characters off at an early point in the story.