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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Workshop Wednesday - Complementary Characters

This is my favorite sequence of definitions for "complement." I love the phrase "make perfect," even if perfect is subjective in the most beautiful of imperfect ways. A complement makes something perfect in the light of that complement. These things are only perfect together, to each other.

And of course, since this is Workshop Wednesday, I'm talking about bringing characters to perfection through their complementary characters. Both romantically, and platonically. Stories full of clones do not represent real life. Characters with competing, overlapping strengths are less dynamic together. It is a blend of strengths that brings characters to shining light amongst one another. As they complement others, they become more unique and special themselves.

I like to write complementary pairs or sets of characters. This is a technique that I feel grounds the fiction in a practical sort of realism. This isn't for everyone, but it's my favorite way of writing romances - or great friendships.

My favorite fictional complements are Jane and Rochester from Jane Eyre. I'd be lying if I didn't admit that their dynamic has been a driving creative influence in my writing. I strive to write couples, and friends, who do not seek to change or redeem one another ("Ugh" to redemptive story arcs), but understand one another deeply and find a love that bridges their differences, rather than destroys them. Complementary characters do not break each other so that they may reform a new conglomerate person. They are their original selves, enhanced by the love and acceptance of their complements.

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