How do you come up with the characters and their counterparts

Hmm…It varies a lot from story to story, actually, and really depends on how the story idea gets generated. Sometimes the story is less about the characters involved, and more about a particular plot device or fetish, in which case the characters are rather secondary to the rest of the story. Other times, the stories are all about the relationships formed by the characters. In that case, it’s always about conflict. The characters have to be in some kind of opposition, and to make these kinds of stories work, it usually requires an opposition rooted in power dynamics. These power dynamics can be personal (two friends, where one is the leader and the other a follower) social (the relationship between boss and worker, or father and son) or broadly cultural (the power disparity between a wealthy urban tech worker and an unemployed redneck, say). Then, you start playing with those power structures–inverting them, twisting them, manipulating them in various ways, and that generates a story. 

This is just one example, really. Some characters are inspired by real people (usually people I dislike/hate/etc.). Some characters have an entire mythology within my stories, and because of that, they serve more allegorical roles than anything else (Rod from Pigtown, for example). In the end, it all depends on the story itself, and what it needs to succeed.

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