Two main impact characters?

by Uchiha Sasuke

Question: So, my character is really damaged/depressed for the first part of the novel. From the start, he has this best friend that is the obvious impact character that is trying to help him through and heal him and stuff. Later in the story, the main character's brother comes into the story. His brother is also trying to help him through and stuff. Is it OK that the brother and friend are both impact characters?

Also, another thing that helps the main character heal is this girl he starts to like throughout the story

Answer: What you want to do is create a strong tension between two opposing approaches. The main character will have his approach and the impact character will have the opposite.

There are two ways you can do this in your situation.

1. Consider that story world, including all the minor characters, may have its own approach and values. But these may not touch on the main character's real conflict.

For instance, let's say you have a character who's depressed and wants to die. The world around him may be full of people who don't understand him and simply think he should buck up and stop feeling the way he does. But these people don't have any real impact on him.

Added to this, you might have one character who demonstrates a reason to live that no one else does -- someone who
really does get under the main character's skin and makes him question his approach in a way no one else manages to do. That is the impact character.

2. It is possible for the impact character's function to be handed off from one character to another. This is usually done in cases where the original impact character dies or exits the story. For instance, let's say the main character had a grandmother he loved who demonstrated a reason to live when he was younger, but has now passed on. But then he meets a girl who has the same joie de vivre his grandmother did and causes him to reconnect with those old feelings and re-examine his current attitude.

Bear in mind that it is usually more effective to have one character at a time impact the main character in a personal way. To have several characters at once performing the impact character function at once is redundant and can feel artificial -- more like an intervention than a relationship.

A final tip... Often -- though not always -- the impact character is the main character's love interest, because few relationships touch us as deeply as a romantic relationship. Also, men tend to be linear thinkers and women tend to be holistic thinkers. Therefore, a love interest is often well suited to offer a different perspective on a problem -- and be listened to.

Best of luck.

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