Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Opposites Attract

Have you ever thought about what it takes to make two characters destined for each other? I've often had people say how did you and your husband wind up together? On the surface, we're opposites.
  • He's quiet. I'm...not so quiet.

  • He's a planner. I'm impulsive.

  • He's reserved. I'm out there.

  • He's serious. I'm silly.
And so on.
But what a lot of people don't know is that inside, where it counts, my husband and I are the same.
  • We both have the same faith and it has the same importance in our lives.

  • We both love our children and have similar parenting styles.

  • Our values are the same.

  • We agree about money, giving, saving, spending.

  • We both agree that it is okay to be ourselves and to let the other person be the way God made them.

  • We have the same strategies for dealing with conflict. Talk things out! (a challenge for my taciturn husband, but he manages)
All these things make our marriage work, though on the surface it might seem that we're too different to live in harmony.
And in writing fiction, matches made from these kinds of characters are loaded with conflict, but not so great that it is insurmountable. What works is making characters outwardly opposite, but giving them a base, a framework, an underlying belief system that is compatible.
In my current WIP, the hero is taciturn, but the heroine is chatty. The hero is a planner, the heroine a 'leap first-oops later' kinda gal. (hmm...they're starting to sound kinda like me and my DH...coincidence?)
But where it counts, inside, they are the same. They both care about justice, about doing the right thing, about children, and about following their dreams.
So, are your characters opposites? Just like magnets, those opposites attract.
Also, I'm guest blogging at http://valeriecomer.com/?p=248 today and tomorrow. Please stop by Valerie's blog.


  1. GREAT insight! I love it. Opposite on the surface, but alike on the deeper issues. I'm going to have to write this down.

  2. How fun! We are the opposite of you and your real life hubby. I'm the detaield, organized, planner, quiet-background, observer type.

    Of course I have my crazy moments, more of them now that I have my daughter - I will do ANYTHING to make her smile, even if I look like an idiot.

    Hubby is the life of the party, outgoing, dare devil.

    I hope Audrey gets a good balance of both of us and not ALL Hubby. haha. Not sure I could handle her wanting to Superman fly off the barn roof.

  3. My husbands are different on the outside too! I usually make my hero/heroine opposites. I never do it intentionally. It just sort of comes out that way. :)

  4. I'm giggling, Katie. I had to read it a few times. Writers will understand (eventually) that you only have one real life husband.

  5. Right-o, Erica. I had to read Katie's initial statement a few times to realize she was speaking of her characters in books... not her plethora of partners!

    One of the joyfully fascinating things about a Christian marriage is that, even though two people may be opposites, the longer they're married the more similarities they'll form. I don't think we ever lose our uniqueness completely. However, Ann & I are more alike now that we were 30 years ago.