I have a problem. I have 2 main characters, A and B, who have pretty much the exact same personality traits. The trouble is, this is historical fiction and I can't change who they are. The 2 characters are real-world people who lived and died and have biographies, and I don't want to take "artistic liberties" with their character traits.
How can I distinguish these 2 characters in my writing, so they don't come off as clones?
Here's more info that may help you help me:
This is science fiction, involving an alternate history of Earth from the early 1960's onwards.
Person A is the leader of his nation. Person B, also a man, is the leader of a major design/engineering firm working on critical new technology. They regularly meet and deliberate on all sorts of things from logistical planning to funding to what to do about the enemy nations (they have a lot of scenes together; they are the main characters after all).
A and B share the following traits: Sharp, Charismatic/Passionate, Strong-Willed, Busy, Crafty, Paranoid, Persistent, Patriotic.
I selected those traits from this list based on their biographies. And judging from those bios, I honestly could not find any trait that is unique to one and not the other.
There are other characters. There may be 7 to 10 main characters (who recur regularly throughout the whole story). A trivial "solution" I thought of was to increase the share time of the other characters, but I don't think this will really work because A and B would still appear to be clones.
So what can I do? Will I be forced to just apply them to different roles? Give them different friends or different kinds of jokes they like?
Ask for more details if you need them. I'm really in a pickle about this.
EDIT: I forgot about their physical characteristics. Both are somewhat fat, but A is significantly shorter than B. And one of them is bald.
EDIT 2: This is actually partly alternate history, and maybe historical fiction too. Their definitions confuse me.