Character Relationship Webs

I tried this exercise the other day, and I thought I’d share it with you all. I took all my characters and put them in a web like you see in the image. Then I drew arrows from my main characters to every other character and wrote a word or phrase to describe how they felt towards that person. I don’t mean a simple title like “sister” but rather something that will govern how they interact.

This exercise is so quick to do, but it really helped me understand how my main character will respond to another. Like if he’s asked a favor, or insulted. How will he react?

I’m curious what other exercises there are though! What do you do to help you develop a deeper understanding of your characters’ relationships?

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2 thoughts on “Character Relationship Webs

  1. That’s a great idea! I think I’ll give the relationships web a try.

    I come out of a political science background, so I tend to view my character’s interactions as small-scale political transactions. For me, I see my characters’ relationships in terms of power inequalities. So before I write a scene, I ask myself: 1) Who has the power at the beginning of this scene, 2) Who ends up with the power at the end of this scene, and 3) At point (or points) does the power shift? This helps me think about conflict, which, in my mind, is the essence of character development.

    Take it easy!

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