#2 Odd Coupling: Put Dissimilar Characters Into Unlikely Relationships
This is a technique that has made for great stories in the past. Think The Odd Couple, (of course), but also: Analyze This, The Breakfast Club, Will and Grace, etc. These stories often have themes of friendship, loyalty, trust, respect for diversity, etc. In addition, the differences in characters often produce humorous results.
This technique has been used to great effect in YA, MG, and Picture Books. Here are some wonderful examples to check out:
Jasper & Joop by Olivier Dunrea:
In this Odd Couple with goslings, Jasper is a neat freak, while Joop likes a messy nest and rumpled feathers. They find common ground when Joop sticks his beak in a beehive and needs help.
Nugget & Fang by Tammi Sauer
Nugget, a minnow, and Fang, a shark, are buddies until Nugget goes to school and learns he’s supposed to be afraid of Fang.
Penguin and Pinecone by Salina Yoon
The title says it all. The touching and popular picture book is about an unlikely friendship between a Penguin and a Pinecone.
Every Soul a Star by Wendy Mass
Three very different characters—homeschooled Ally, aspiring model Bree, and introverted Jack—forge a friendship when they meet at a campground to watch an eclipse.
Charlotte’s Web by E. B. White
Who can forget the unique friendship between Wilbur, the pig, and Charlotte, the spider?
Freak the Mighty by Rodman Philbrick
A teenage giant, who’s a slow learner, has a unique friendship with a tiny genius in leg braces. This was made into the film, The Mighty.
Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
Two very different boys with the same name meet and change each other’s lives.
Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
Eleanor is the overweight, bullied new girl and Park is the half-Korean outsider, who has lived in Nebraska his whole life but still feels like he doesn’t belong.
The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
Soccer-playing preppy, Lainey, has just been dumped. So has Micah, her tattooed, punk rocker co-worker. Using tips from Sun Tzu’s The Art of War, they pair up to make their exes jealous.
If you have any favorite examples of Odd Coupling, please don’t hesitate to share in the comments section.