Last week I wrote about my new foray into the future world created by Frank Herbert in his first novel Dune. It is a marvelous novel and I believe anyone who is worth their salt as a science fiction writer should consume the book right now.
This week I was reading the events unfold in the novel and found another neat little bit of technique buried within the pages of the tome.
Characters at Odds –
As the novel progresses, the characters of Paul Atreides (Moua Dib) and his mother Jessica the Bene Gesserit become more and more at odds with one another. The problem here is that both of them are considered to be on the same side. Both are exiled from their home, both are on the run from the Harkonnens and both have the same goals. The sand in the gears, however, is that as Paul grows as a stronger character in the novel, become the Fremen messiah, his mother’s role will diminish even though she bore him, a male child, which goes against the edicts of the Bene Gesserit order.
The Bottom Line –
The point here is that all of your main characters or protagonists don’t have to get along and can become enemies trying to achieve the same goal. If you can pit two or three protagonists against one another it will make for a much more compelling story and also create even more conflict that is not driven by the antagonist or the environment that surrounds those characters.