The other day I heard Here’s to Us by Halestorm on the radio and it got me thinking about relationships and sticking together, etc. as fitting with the theme of the song.
If you haven’t heard it check it out (explicit language warning):
By the end of the song is brought one very important thing to light. Romantic or not, there’s one thing you can’t deny in writing:
Relationships are the heart and soul of a book.
How the characters relate, and bounce off of each other in this unique little world you’ve creative provides the main emotional through line for everything.
It’s not just romantic relationships, but friendships, enemies, random passersby, whatever.
Think about it, we are the sum of every experience we’ve ever had up until this second correct? And your supposed to be imagining your characters as real people aren’t you?
So if your characters are supposed to be real people why aren’t you giving them experiences and opportunities for growth as if they were real?
The main reason loyal relationships are my favorite way to do things like this is very simple:
When people stay loyal to each other, they support and have each other’s back. Often times, staying loyal leads to a large change in a person because of the things they will be forced, for the lack of a better word, to do for that loyalty.
Think about it: In an action/adventure type story the protagonist’s loyalty to a character is usually what spurs on the story to even begin in the first place. In romances, people pursue one another, and change as they learn about themselves in the process. Even the relationship between protagonist and villain has this dynamic. It’s common that the protagonist and villain were once friends until their goals differed. In that case it would be betrayed loyalty, but loyalty none the less.
Your characters need attachment to the world you created and the people in it, because without this connection, no one will be ale to relate to them. Readers want to see someone fall in love with the right person, because that’s what most people want in their own lives. They’ll even want to see your characters fall in love with the wrong people, because that’s what they’ve more than likely done themselves.
They want to see friendships form and fall apart, or totally change because all of these things have happened to us at some point in our lives. Loyalty in relationships is huge, because it’s something that is, not only common in our everyday lives, but something that evokes a visceral reaction.
People have opinions about loyalty. The different ways people conceive of and practice loyalty is a great way to characterize your characters.
For example, I have a tendency to put people into two groups.
- My people
- Everyone else
People in those two groups gets vastly different parts of my personality. With everyone else I have a tendency to be suspicious and analyzing of people. Trying to see what they’re all about. If they do something I don’t agree with or could be a possible liability to me I am quick to step back.
But once people become one of “my people” there’s really nothing I wouldn’t do or forgive. The only deal breaker is that they don’t do anything intentional to hurt me or the rest of “my people”. Anything outside of that can and will be forgiven. Because to me, that’s where my loyalty lies. That’s how loyalty works in my head.
I am loyal to people above concepts of right and wrong, or legal or illegal. Granted, I’m no Tony Montana, and I do define criminality is a something that could do harm, but at the same time I certainly wouldn’t judge you for it.
Because they’re my people, and usually the person casting judgement is just a part of everyone else.
I know it’s silly, and will probably get me into trouble one day but that’s the way my mind works.
The craziest part, is that other loyal people would read that and think I’m insane because they define loyalty a completely different way.
These are the reactions you want from readers! Loyalty is something everyone can understand, and whether or not they subscribe to that specific method of loyalty you’ve given that character or not, it will always make them feel something.
So what do you think? Agree? Disagree? Thinks I’m nuts? Whatever your thoughts are, please leave them below in the comments, and remember: Creativity is King.
Featured Image courtesy of: Together Forever. No changes were made.