“What kind of friends do they have?” Most of my brainstorming efforts have been developing the personalities and relationship between Trishna and John, the main characters of the story tentatively titled The Story shown below, so let’s talk more about hypothetical background characters or potential situations that may appear during the currently unwritten story. Narratives, after all, combine characters, story, and premise, and some narratives like Final Fantasy VI feature an ensemble cast of friends.
From right to left:
Both characters are interested in reading and writing, so they’ll probably meet readers and writers in book clubs, classes, libraries, online, or through general interactions with others. Part of the one dimensionality that can happen occurs the characters are just “the friend that reads” or “your friend you talk to about videogames.” People are multi-faceted.
Let’s talk premise and conflicts. (Highlight to reveal like this spoilers.) I’ve kicked around a war story plot where John goes off to battle and gets stranded, which was the background premise for References. It’s somewhat unrealistic. Maybe they’ll just experience conflict within ordinary living, rather than fight a force or enemy like Dr. Mindbender?
They’ll play videogames and meet others online through the more social role playing games. John would be more of a fighter and Trishna a healer. Both would probably dual-helm a guild at one point, because that just seems like something they would do. They may meet friends in person through gaming, though that’s also ambiguous.
Part of what that compels me to write this involves both characters working toward overcoming their limitations, fighting against a cruel world, and dealing with situations. They’re characters I want to root for winning since because they’ll work hard to overcome obstacles, treat people well, or act with a sense of obligation toward the future.
It’d be easy to include concerts as a major part of the narrative. During slow parts at shows, I’ve brainstormed specific situations such as Trishna baking cookies for a venue’s staff after an event occurs during a show or just be nice, though that might be shoehorning story elements and random characters into their story.
John will probably take odd jobs after Trishna’s second year of college, including construction, in spite of his hand impairment. Maybe he’ll answer an ad or get in through a friend, and despite being hard work, there’s a certain camaraderie in construction after you’ve earned your place that might help John further develop self confidence.
Trishna might grow up feeling inadequate about herself, due to her foot impairment, even with constant reassurance from nurturing parents. She may get into Lolita fashion, as outlined in this VICE documentary, or some similar club focusing on encouraging each member of the group to feel self confident in who they are as a person.
While it’s easier to write causal topics about character development like this, writing about fewer topics in depth is more rewarding. Still, any development is good!