How do I bury a hatchet?

So, I’m currently in the process of rewriting a book, and I changed one of my supporting characters (to make her more dynamic and give her more agency), but now she and the MC have gotten off on the wrong foot. (Gotta hate it when your characters go and get minds of their own…)

The supporting character—Reese—grew up idolizing the MC—Gwyn—and their first two interactions make Reese think that Gwyn is brattish/doesn’t appreciate her station (which is the kind of life Reese dreams about). Problem is, Gwyn was kidnapped away from everything she’s ever known, so she isn’t exactly very appreciative of this new life and feels like Reese is foolish and shallow. But I need them to be friends so



As a guy, fight it out or cry it out. Depends on the situation and your surroundings.

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Thanks! I’ve tried the scene with Gwyn crying because it’s an overwhelming situation thing, but she’s the type of person that doesn’t like to show others that she’s upset, so she ends up feeling resentful for being weak in front of Reece.

One possibility is to put them in a stressful situation with high tension then spark an argument. In the course of the argument, their grievences come out. Reese yells at Gwen for not appreciating what she has, Gwen yells back about how he doesn’t know anything, eventually it comes out that she was taken away from everything she cares about. Reese is surprised because he never imagined that she might have been forced into her role against her will, and they manage to calm down while Reese admits to some of his less selfish reasons for wanting to have her station. Once they understand each other better, they actually have a chance to talk and work things out.

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I suggest you put them in a situation against a common enemy where they have no choice but to combine forces and in the process get to know each other better and spark a friendship :smiley:

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Gwyn isn’t who she wants her to be, and that’s not okay. Reese needs a rude wake-up call, and to realize that people are people with their own agencies. It’s okay if the person you idolized has flaws. But coming to terms with this can be hard. Maybe she can blow up at Gwyn for not being the person she wanted.

In turn, Gwyn needs to realize that Reese used to idolize her, so that she can better understand her shallow behaviors. Her own past isn’t an excuse to judge other people right off the bat. So, when Reese fights her on this, Gwyn needs to give Reese her wake up call, and Reese needs to give her a wake up call on that front.

Using this, they both have something to offer one another emotionally, which is really what creates the foundation for a friendship. But… I would say that maybe I would try to find things about both of them that they notice and can respect about one another. Otherwise, their relationship isn’t going to go far. Maybe show Reese having a deeper moment, or a deeper more empathetic view of something than Gwyn so Gwyn can appreciate that from her. In turn, something that Gwyn does could show Reese that, why she may not appreciate her current situation, she’s not incapable of appreciating past experiences and kindness offered by others.

Highlighting the good qualities in one another before the big blow out may lead them to become friends later on. But I feel you should establish at least a shred of respect for one another before having them become friends. Otherwise, the friendship will feel forced.

Maybe put them in a forced situation together where they have to sort some things out on a civil front. This exercise, why physical, could metaphorically highlight some of the misinterpretations and behaviors they have for one another. While at the same time, it highlights their good qualities and things they can find in one another to eventually grow to respect.

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  1. Why do they need to be friends?
  2. Why do people typically become friends? What do they bond over?

Both of those are excellent questions.

First off, they need to become friends because large portions of my plot are predicated on their mutual favors, and I also require their friendship to fully expound upon Gwyn’s (and, for that matter, Reese’s) character. The foil works much better when the two are on speaking terms. Also, both of them need friends—they are currently lonely (and neither of them are very good alone). They latch onto other people to receive support.

And, in regards to your second question, I think it depends obviously. Most of my friendships have been created through mutual interests or goals and repeated exposure to those people. Gwyn and Reese definitely are around each other a lot, and they have mutual interests and goals. They are just currently at an impasse in regards to their opinions regarding one another.

I’m going to try my hand at another scene rewrite to see if I can bury the hatchet and set them towards a more amicable relationship (that can eventually blossom into friendship). This time, however, I’m going to generate upset through Reese’s life to see if I can’t spark some reason in Gwyn. I think if I can set that scene, I can make it plausible that Gwyn recognizes some depth in Reese, and Reese, in turn, recognizes some genuineness in Gwyn. I’m reticent to set Gwyn at this position of power (considering the previously established power imbalance), but I think it’s the most effective way to absolve the conflict. Gwyn’s personality isn’t conducive to being comforted by strangers—the issue which created their conflict in the first place—but Reese has less issue with this. The more I look at this, the more I think this is going to take more than one scene to make them friends.

Thanks for the help! We’ll see if my characters cooperate this time around. :joy:

You don’t need to bury a hatchet to be friends or to at least be willing to hang around each other.

If you don’t like each other but are mostly hanging out, you’re still in a good place. If, for example, they had poor opinions of each other, but started to learn, through each other and from others, that they shared similar values or experiences, they would likely still be okay with hanging out, though also not fully sold on each other. If you have people who don’t like each other, having them suddenly make up can feel a bit cheap.

If you’re conceding that your characters are growing in ways you didn’t originally imagine, then your story will have to change to match. Maybe, over time, they’ll become friends, but it will take longer, and it will change how certain events unfold throughout. If you’re giving your characters space to do what they want, then you can’t force a sudden change to then get it back on track. Either you go back and edit so your characters aren’t like this, or you follow where they go. Can’t have it both ways.

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