In my novel, My Only, the two main characters, Adam and Olivia, are complete opposites at first glance. Adam is a tidy, serious bookworm, and Olivia is a messy, fun-loving young woman who has little concern for school.
They say opposites attract, but in reality, they aren’t all that different. Depending on your perspective, Olivia may seem like the most troubled of the pair, but with a slight flip of how you look at it, the troubled one is Adam. While Adam doesn’t know which college he wishes to attend, Olivia plans on not attending. Adam dwells on the passing of his mother and what that means to his family, but Olivia has accepted that her mother was taken from her. Olivia has a solid philosophy on life, but Adam seems to be struggling when it comes to even the most basic questions of life – questions of self and his place in the world.
Olivia may have more “problems,” but it is Adam who has more “issues.”
This is what makes them perfect for each other. While she’s troubled, she’s had the experiences necessary to help Adam find his way. Likewise, Adam is stable enough to show Olivia another perspective. They have a symbiotic relationship of give and take.
This is the making of the best friendships. Both characters are strong in their own way, and they’re both in need of help in others. They are a perfect circle, filling in the holes for each other until they are solid. Olivia shares philosophy she’s gained along the way, and Adam lends her his balanced outlook on responsibility and duty.
At first glance, Adam is the shy hero and Olivia is the troubled heroine. It is a classic set-up. Intellectual “nerd” meets partying socialite. But Adam is only an unpopular geek in his mind. He has many friends within his own social circle, and while his brother Aaron may be more popular in another circle, Adam is popular within his. He has plenty of social activities, but Adam thinks they are less worthy than that of his brother.
Similarly, Olivia is a vibrant popular young woman in Adam’s mind, but in reality, we don’t see her connect with many people. While we see her go to a dance with Aaron and to concerts with Adam, we know social situations like those take a lot of energy out of Olivia.
Adam’s perspective is almost a third character. It is through his point of view that we see everything. He tints his world with his own prejudices and pre-existing thoughts. It would be easy to peg Adam and Olivia as shy and outgoing based on his account of life, it’s best to draw our own conclusions. Mine define both Adam and Olivia as strong individuals, with Adam being more popular than Olivia. Olivia possesses the strength of her personal philosophy, making her more confident than Adam.
The most powerful relationships are like that of Adam and Olivia, in which all voids are filled by the strengths of the pair to form a perfect circle.