“No man is an island, whole unto itself.” People are always part of a network of relationships, a community. For most it’s a web of familiar faces, with individual relationships growing or fading, much like the tides of the ocean. Characters can even engage relationships without interacting with the other person, through memory and imagination. Similarly, some characters may personify an animal, object, or force of nature. A character struggling to endure a storm may come to regard that storm as a rival, with a will and personality of its own.
While many relationships have a social aspect, a true social relationship is one where two people actively go somewhere for the sake of company. Social relationships are based on a common interest or shared experience. A social relationship can be casual, two strangers meeting at an event, or they can be intentional, two friends who specifically meet each other.
A relationship is any recurring connection between two characters. In any relationship at least one character is receiving a message. A message can be new information, an opinion, or reaction.
Part of good storytelling is making the audience believe in the story, believe that the characters really existed, acting out events exactly as the author outlines them. This means everything the character says and does needs to be rooted in who the character is. An author must always be aware of why a character acts and reacts as they do, so that audiences never stop to consider the invisible hand behind the curtain.
The plot of a story is the various events that occur over the course of the story. A character’s journey is how those events affect a character. A plot is a combination of 1 or more character journeys, often using a character hierarchy, focusing on specific characters. Many stories contain pieces of a character’s journey, with other portions happening before, after, or “off camera”.