As writers, we want to show our characters to best effect and one of the ways to do this is through their supporting cast of characters. Similarities and differences will be obvious as the story rolls on. I use juxtaposition in the following ways.
To emphasise themes. If I’m trying to show how someone grows and changes, taking on more responsibility, then most likely, I’ll also have a grossly irresponsible individual in their life. Someone they have to look out for and keep in line. Through their interaction with each other and the problems they need to solve, my responsible character will shine.
To show diverse approaches to problem solving. You and I might have the same challenges, however, I may deal with my situation a lot differently than you do yours. In this way, I show the personality differences. One may look at problem solving as an opportunity to exercise some initiative. The other may quail at the issue set before them. See how the diversity will come out?
To define each character’s role. Different people provide different things in our lives. I wrote two sisters in the novel Hardware. During the upheaval in the family, Meghan provided her mother with companionship and physical assistance. Camille played the role of problem solver and tackled demands made by a blackmailer, which included doing the requisite financial transactions. And of course, the antagonist created all the problems. An aside here - I never noticed before that agony is part of the word antagonist. Is it any wonder they create such problems for our MC’s?
To suit the storyline. The main characters in the novel Hardware are Camille and Quinn. Camille is a conservative, self-contained individual who first comes across as snooty. In her view, Quinn has all the markings of a playboy and she does not know what to do with the attraction she feels for him. Quinn is attracted to her, but is put off by her superior attitude and though he decides not to pursue her, he cannot deny the fact that she stirs his blood. This is a classic case of opposites attracting and is a good recipe for romance.
So, do you have any tips you want to add to this list?
Another aside – the star fruit is also called Chinese Jimbilin here in Jamaica.
|Chinese Jimbilin/Star Fruit|