1. Wren Travis

    Wren Travis New Member

    Oct 20, 2019
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    how can i write a good bromance dynamic

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Wren Travis, Apr 2, 2020.

    Hey, guys
    i'm writing a story with two characters that are roomates and close friends, but i don't know how to make their relationship seem convincing.
    They share some things in common, they're both underdogs and their personalities complement each other (one is a shy and calm extroverted and the other is introverted and "chaotic"). They're also kinda jerks and do stupid stuff together.
    I still can't make their interactions feel natural. Their scenes together just don't flow. What should I do to fix it?
    Justin Attas likes this.
  2. J.T. Woody

    J.T. Woody Creature of Quarantine Contributor

    Feb 5, 2018
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    ... which of those characters do you identify with? the "shy and calm extroverted" or the "introverted and "chaotic"" one?

    I have a bromance going on in my WIP. The is Royce, who is an extrovert, super outgoing and wants to be friends with everyone. Talks more than he thinks. But he's very caring and is a deep thinker when he wants to be. He likes to joke around and it comes off as immature.
    then there is Joel. He is very serious. He is sarcastic. He doesnt like a lot of people, but the people he DOES like, he will fight tooth and nail for them. He is stand-offish. he tolerates Royce, and constantly scolds him for being immature. He is very smart and analytical. He is quiet because he is always thinking. He likes to tell Royce that if Royce didnt have Joel, he'd end up dead in a ditch somewhere, but really, Joel is the one that needs Royce.

    Out of the pair, I identify with both characters, but I'd say I am the most like Royce. I can be immature at times, and sometimes dont think before I talk and end up saying some stupid crap. I als have people in my life who have similar traits to Joel. It becomes easy to write Royce and Joel's characters and their dynamic because i can think: "If i said X.... how would Joel respond?" or "If Joel said this to me, how would I act?"
    It kind of helps to have conversations in your head or out loud, like a weirdo, lol.

    I dont know how other writers do it... but personally, pick the one you identify most with and just start thinking about how you would respond if you were with someone like your character's bro
    Iain Aschendale likes this.
  3. GrJs

    GrJs Active Member

    Apr 26, 2018
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    I think your issue is a dialogue thing. When you first write a scene between two characters you're establishing their relationship right, so go take a look at their first scene. Read the dialogue out loud as you imagine them saying it to each other and really have it in mind what relationship dynamic you want to show when you bring them together. Then work your way through the rest of their dialogue the same way, maybe not reading out all of it but always keep in mind what your goal representation is. Choose every word with care and consideration.
    jannert likes this.
  4. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

    Mar 7, 2013
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    This, but also keep in mind you need more than dialogue to move a story along. How are the two individuals reacting to one another? Set the whole scene as if it were actually happening in front of you—including actions, tone of voice, pacing, etc. Is one of them eager and quick to speak, while the other one takes his time?

    Let them surprise each other by saying or doing things the other one didn't quite expect. One effective way to portray this, is for one character to assume the other one doesn't understand him—then the other character says something that proves he does. In a relationship which I'm writing, one of my characters says, "He always knew what I was going to do, before I did it—but he never knew why. You always know why." (Characters don't have to actually say this kind of thing to each other, but that's the dynamic I'd be going for.)

    And absolutely don't fight it, if your characters suddenly start saying or doing something you didn't plan. That usually means you've hit the point where they are being honest ...and that means they've become convincing as real people. Let their relationship develop.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2020
  5. Partridge

    Partridge Active Member

    May 30, 2017
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    Cambridgeshire, UK
    I would say there are some key ingredients to a good bromance which you could look to include, and they won't always need to be done in dialogue.

    Taking the Mick out of each other. A near constant jet stream if piss taking is often a mark of the bromance.


    Not making choices as an individual - at least when together.

    And while they may be different and complement each other, I've found there's often a common liking or activity which both sides can both share. For example, my best friend and I through adolescence were very different people: he was a kind of wannabe Action Man, BMXing, rock climbing, going out "out" and always in the gym.
    I was quite happy with a pint of beer and a packet of crisps in a pub garden.

    But the glue which bound our friendship together was a shared love of takeaway pizza, quoting Borat to each other 24/7 (childish, I know) and watching Clarkson era Top Gear.

    If you can give your characters shared loves which immediately diminish their differences, I think that will help to make them more believable, and probably more relatable.

    To actually answer your question about dialogue, how much have you written between them? It may be a case of you need to find your flow and "let" what feels natural come to you.

    I had a similar issue when writing my last book, and my two bromance dudes didn't "click" until the 3rd draft!
  6. TheOtherPromise

    TheOtherPromise Active Member

    Jan 10, 2020
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    To me a bromance signifies a level of intimacy above and beyond a normal friendship. It's more than just enjoying each other's company, it's deeper than that.

    So in what ways do they confide in each other that they don't with anyone else? And why do they trust each other enough to reach that point?

    What do they need in life and how do they find it in each other?

    If you can figure out why they grew to be such close friends to begin with it should help guide you in writing their interactions.

    Those are the kinds of questions I'd ask myself when trying to write a bromance.
    Lifeline likes this.
  7. Justin Attas

    Justin Attas Active Member

    Jun 14, 2019
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    So glad to see this post. People underestimate the power of a strong friendship. Dialogue is key to set the baseline. When we first meet these characters, it will mostly be how they speak to one another that shows their relationship. It's always a solid bet to start off with some playful banter. Maybe some things that would seem offensive coming from a stranger. This will show, through the very different reactions your characters have, that they know one another very well.

    It's crucial, though, that you show them acting to help one another eventually. Have one do something to assist the other without being asked. Have one save the other's skin, though they might not ever know it. Selflessness. It often catches readers off guard, especially if these characters have been very jokey with one another up to the point of sacrifice/bonding.

    On the topic of bonding: if you don't want to go the sacrifice route, have them discuss something deeply personal. Show how uncomfortable it makes them, but have them do it anyway. This is a very real experience that most people have with their close friends. There's a point at which you become more than just comedy partners. Life gets heavy, and you may not want to share until the other person shows you just how much easier it is with two people to carry it.

    Hope that helps! Feel free to reach out if you need more. Bromances are some of my favorite parts of a story lol

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