There are many types of literary patterns: parallel plots, echoing scenes, repetition for emphasis, mirroring plots, and mirroring characters.
Have you ever thought about using mirroring characters in your WIP? Mirrored characters are two characters who in some meaningful sense are reflections of one another. They can mirror similarities or differences. (I sound like a text book. Sorry :)
I think the easiest way to get this concept is an example:
Ebenezer Scrooge and Jacob Marley—Complementary Mirror. As we read The Christmas Carol we can see the similarities between Scrooge and Marley: materialistic, selfish, uncharitable, unforgiving. And as readers we see the inevitable—Scrooge will share Marley’s fate. The mirror then becomes a warning.
Ebenezer Scrooge and Tiny Tim—Contrasting Mirror. While Scrooge is rich, emotionally crippled, and hard hearted. Tiny Tim is poor, emotionally whole (but physically crippled) and soft hearted. As the story continues we see that whatever positive changes Scrooge makes effect Tiny Tim in a positive way, thus tying their lives together. In a way they are two halves of a whole.
- Harry and Voldemort—They prove the point, no matter the similarities it is our choices that differentiate us.
- Elizabeth Bennett and Lydia Bennett—Lydia’s bad choices are a warning to Lizzy.
- Dr Jeckell and Mr. Hyde—the whole story is about mirroring these characters
I love this idea, and think it is a great way to add tension to a story: “What you can’t afford to do to your protagonist, you can do to the mirror character, showing that it is possible, it’s a real threat or hope. Drastic things, irrevocable things, often happen to mirror characters in fiction for just that reason[i].”
Not every reader will want to analyze your work so thoroughly that they can spot every pattern, but patterns bring unity—and readers can feel that unity.
[i] Ansen Dibell, PLOT, (Writers Digest Books 1988) pg 107