6 Steps to Create a Key Relationship for Your Protagonist


Every protagonist needs a meaningful relationship the audience can relate to, one in which he or she affects another and is affected. Movie-goers live vicariously through the characters on screen - finding elements in the character’s life that resonate with them.

The hero’s pursuit of his goal must have an affect on another character, or it has no purpose and won’t affect the audience. Relationships add depth to the story, create stakes, conflict and consequences, and help us care about the hero. The power of a story is felt through the emotional reactions and connections of the characters.

An essential element to keep the reader engaged and rooting for the characters is to demonstrate that the relationship is meaningful to the hero. To achieve this, the central conflict should affect the relationship. The obstacles the protagonist faces must challenge and test the relationship.

If you are struggling with creating and developing a key relationship for the main character, follow these 6 steps:

Step 1: Review your script and make a list of the characters your protagonist interacts with.

Step 2: Determine how much each character affects the plot.

Step 3: Outline what each character has to offer the protagonist that adds value to the story.

Step 4: Based on the information you have gathered, select one character who has the possibility of creating the highest stakes through his or her connection with the protagonist.

Step 5: Define the relationship between that character and the hero.

Step 6: Expand that character’s story, intertwining it with the main character’s, and ensure the conflict from the dramatic premise eventually tests or threatens the relationship.