Creating Characters
Characters: Creating Characters
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Defining characters by their friends

Friendship itself forms a sort of classification. In general, friends are people of equal means, intelligence, and interests. That is, most of us form friends within our own social group with people of common interests, but there are several exceptions.

Inherited friends: Typically these will where you grow up within a group so know people by common acquaintance. In the normal course of events you would know a lot about these people. They would include family, friends of the family, neighbours, and local people. They are people who you might share experiences with in the locality.

Convenience friends: These are often met when the need arises. They might include friends formed on holidays or short-term situations. You will not know much about them, and would not expect the friendship to be ongoing.

Work friends: These include people you have to rely on to get your work done. These are your colleagues or people associated in aspects of living but have little involvement with your social life.

Fair-weather friends: These will include those who are available for parties and such events. Their involvement with you is directly related to what you can provide for their interests. Quite often they can provide atmosphere to an event. They may typically be people who have little to offer other than their presence.

Friends in need: These are people who are around when you need them but may not otherwise play a big part in your life. They might be people you have known for a long time and trust, or people who have close contacts with you and your family yet not much direct involvement. It can also be a complete stranger or someone who unexpectedly helps you out in a crisis.

Close friends: Usually people you have shared experiences with or know well enough to feel at ease with in most situations.

False friends: People we think are our friends but who let us down when in need, or do things that are inconsistent with friendship.

Dumb friends: Animals can be good friends in the sense of company. This type of relationship comes up endlessly in children's stories, particularly if the animal has human characteristics.

When creating characters, think of the sort of friends they would really have, rather than just bringing in 'character friends' to suit the plot. One would not imagine Winnie-the-Pooh's friends letting him down, on the other hand Pinocchio seemed to find enough false friends.


List five characters that depend on friends to get them out of trouble.



Apart from friends, we also have enemies. Tom and Jerry are enemies, as are Tweety Pie and Sylvester, the cartoons are based entirely on this. Sherlock Holmes' archenemy Moriarty, does not feature in every story. James Bond has a different enemy in every story. Captain Ahab is an enemy of Moby Dick, though the attitude is not reciprocated. Snow White's stepmother is her enemy. Aladdin's wicked uncle is his enemy. The Sleeping Beauty has an enemy in the Wicked Witch who tries to kill her. Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz also has a wicked witch enemy.

It is a useful idea to think of enemies as alter egos. Sherlock Holmes' enemy Moriarty was similar to Holmes himself. The two are rather like opponents in a game. On the other hand Snow White had no idea that her stepmother was her enemy, and made no attempt to protect herself or fight back, yet Snow White's beauty could, and did destroy the stepmother.

In all, an enemy has something to gain by the demise of the opponent, or something to lose if the opponent survives. The opponents do not have to know each other or even have anything against each other directly. Soldiers of opposite armies attack each other because they have been ordered to, they have nothing personal to gain from killing each other. In a lesser way the supporters of one football team may feel aggressive towards the supporters of another team, yet the teams themselves do not feel aggressive towards each other.

Enemies in the world of business may try to destroy competitors yet the people in one business do not actually dislike the people in the other business.

People can hate or dislike others because of colour, race, and creed. Irrational hates between people of different beliefs. It would be difficult to find anyone who did not have some irrational belief about someone or something.

We can even regard inanimate objects as enemies. Cars pollute the air, planes make lots of noise. Machines let us down when we need them. There are certain groups of people who want to get rid of noisy and unfriendly machines. We often feel like smashing them up. On the other hand some people love their machines to such an extent that is obvious they relate to them in a very personal way.

We can, of course, be our own enemies. We do this when we set out to achieve something, and then do something else that prevents us achieving it. It is a fundamental idea in both comedy and tragedy. We might even regard fear as an enemy. Someone who fears heights may set out to 'conquer the fear of heights' and regard the fear as having been beaten like an enemy when they are no longer afraid.


List ten stories that use enemies as an essential part of the story.

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