1. Jack Lias
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    Jack Lias New Member

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    Beginning a romantic story with love?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Jack Lias, Apr 4, 2010.

    If a story intended as a romance started out with the lead male and female already in a relationship (as boyfriend/girlfriend), would that be cheating the readers? Or would it still be possible to expand on their relationship throughout the story?
     
  2. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You mean like Romeo and Juliet? Nah, it will never work.

    Just remember that any good plot requires difficulties and obstacles. Apart from that, you have nearly infinite latitude. On the other hand, much of the romance genre is tightly bound in formula, so you will have a difficult time targeting those publishers with that opening,
     
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  3. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    of course it works... and, as cog notes, been done to death [sorry about the pun]...
     
  4. rainy
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    rainy Senior Member

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    :D

    I really just wanted to :D at Cogito, but in attempt to be helpful:

    If they're already in love, try giving them something that does, or potentially can, divide them. External obstacles only go so far in a good story if both characters agree.

    *conflict* - we want it.

    Best luck,

    //R
     
  5. Loup
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    Loup Member

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    In that case, I think you can't call it a romance, and you have to find a main plot that may interest the reader. Yet, I'm glad that you've chosen to leave the beaten tracks and to try something else than the "usual" love story.
    Good luck,
    Loup
     
  6. thewordsmith
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    thewordsmith Contributing Member Contributor

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    As in "Love Story"? Yeah, that was a sickenly saccharin story (and alliterative, too!) but it is a romance that focused on what came after the fall, so to speak. And there are more of them than you might think. "Barefoot In The Park" anyone? Romance does not begin and end with the courtship so your horizons of possibility are not limited. Just remember, as Cogito pointed out, there has to be a conflict of some sort to move the story along or it will go nowhere fast.
     
  7. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ Loup: I have to disagree with you.

    Many, many romance novels begin with a couple reuniting after a time, e.g. *cliche alert* a man turning up and realising that 'Oh no, she was pregnant...and...and...is or is that not my son?'.

    A few start with a couple suddenly being faced by a challenge that changes their relationship drastically, e.g. winning the pools, relocating to a new place, or having a mysterious stranger appear, etc. etc. etc.

    There are lots of romance novels aimed at mature readers, also, and if you are interested in short story pot boilers, check out the readership profiles of the several women's mags around that carry short stories (speaking about the UK here, I've never looked further afield).
     
  8. Anonym
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    Anonym Contributing Member

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    i think most premises are workable w/ a fair amount of poignant interpersonal struggle. so yea, why not
     
  9. EileenG
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    EileenG Member

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    Take a look at the Harlequin Mills & Boon romances on the shelves right now. I'd say close to a quarter of them involve characters who are already in love, and dealing with conflicts or obstacles. And HMB wouldn't do it if it wasn't a romance that would sell.

    One thing to remember in a romance is that while the reader may be rooting for them to fall in love, for the story to work, being in love has to be a conflict or problem for the main characters. There has to be a great reason why they don't just fall into each other's arms, the end.
     
  10. Flyingfishphilosopy
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    Flyingfishphilosopy New Member

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    It will in my opinion reduce the amount of things to write about in your story, since you will skip a few steps in the most common romance pattern. Wich is mostly along the lines of this:
    meet - fall in love - first kiss - form a couple - conflict!(break up or perhaps even death?)

    Furthermore I believe readers wouldn't find it half as heartbreaking if something were to happen with the couple which was already there, compared to one they have witnessed take shape.

    This ofcourse doesn't mean it has no chance of success, especially when it's a short story. The conflict is often the most thrilling bit of the story
     
  11. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    You mentioned that your characters were a girlfriend/boyfriend relationship. I'd be kinda... I don't know, with everyone here.

    To clarify, all stories, even romance, have characters that have some sort of care. Some people prefer the term "conflict" sometimes "passion", but I don't think they always fit. That care is something the character is willing to die for (or at least give up a lot of things for). It could be an inanimate object (like Scrat and his nut from Ice Age), a weakness or a super power (see Spiderman films), a cause/belief, etc. Doesn't matter what it is, as long as character has an obsession with it in some way.

    For romance and other types of relationships, it's going to a care for another character. Generally speaking, we're looking at the conflict of the main character wanting the other character, but something something such and such creates obstacles that force the character to obtain the focus of their passion.


    So... if the couple is already in love, you don't have that. So you need to pick up on something else in the characters. You see it in war stories all the time: distance and a draft do it. It becomes that big obstacle and sees which character is willing to hold on and stick through the good, bad, and ugly.



    Personally, I find it a tinsy-winsy bit more interesting if it were a married couple. I'd like to see a divorce in session when a character was wronged and the main character is trying to put it all back together. In this case, the marriage, and any children, and a serious heartbreak, are all going to be at stake. Something to fight for.


    But I don't know what you're getting at or where you plan on going.
     
  12. Personal Giggle
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    Personal Giggle Member

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    There are valuable insights here, there's not much else to say without being redundant...
    AND: My opinion has not yet gained any value because of the exchange rate... Whatever...

    Random trickles of thought -> The film: Lost in Translation is supposed to be a romcom. It's not the kind of movie that robs you of your money. In fact, there's much to be said for the way that Sofia Coppola approached the somewhat tepid topic known as romance... Or maybe the garrulous genre [of romance] ?

    From a literary standpoint, I suppose a story is a story is a story regardless of which medium you choose. What's that old saying about postmodern(uuuh...) novels, etc?

    "It's not about the story of an adventure. It's about the adventure of the story!"

    I hope somebody knows where that quote comes from.
    BUT: I do know that Voltaire always said: "A witty saying proves nothing!"
    And so....

    *PG moment*

    In any case, space, time or place:

    It's great to explore romance and love... Yet remember that there can't be LOVE without HATE ( the dichotomy of good and evil = propaganda in practise) ...
    Perhaps a darker romance where hate might prevail?... yes, hate hasn't been on top in such a long time...

    HATE is, after all, just a disgruntled form of LOVE.

    I hope I made sense.

    -prsnlgggl

    "There's more to bread than most people think..."
     
  13. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    Except the opposite of love isn't hate...
     
  14. Personal Giggle
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    Personal Giggle Member

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    It's okay to say something... Although for my own sake I'd prefer it if you substantiated... We could debate this and perhaps you'd be right...

    But wait... My trusty thesaurus bellows from the bookshelf, "Antonym, dude."

    And so my dictionary, always full of itself, mentions that an antonym is a word opposite in meaning to another (i.e. good and bad). To which my thesaurus replies, "Love is the antonym to hate... Unless I'm out of date... uh... guy."

    Damnit, I hate it when those two are right!

    Is my brain not working?

    Peace and harmony :)

    -PG

    "I like my tea with an ice-cream cone... hold the ice-cream..."
     
  15. Colonel Marksman
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    Colonel Marksman Member

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    Hate is an emotion felt towards someone or something. Love is an action (not an emotion), something you perform and do.

    A verb can't be the opposite of a noun.
     
  16. Personal Giggle
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    Personal Giggle Member

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    Uhmmm...
    Forgive my lack of intelligence. Perhaps you can clarify or correct:

    Love is as much of an emotion as hate... Just as they are both actions.

    Emotions can be expressed, right?

    They can be nouns and verbs and more!... At the same time even (uh, I think)
    At least, that's what my dictionary tells me. And I've never known her to lie to me before! :p

    I can hate something. I can have hate for something. I can feel hate towards something. I can have (or be) something that is hated. (and this applies to someone as well.)
    And:
    I can love something. I can have love for something. I can feel love for something. I can have something that is loved, blah blah blah...

    If I can "feel" something, doesn't that mean it resembles an emotion?...
    Can you not feel love? If so, I have tears for you...

    Isn't "emoting" a kind of action?

    So then, to try and make sense of my mess above: A verb can be the opposite of a noun. This only occurs when a verb can be/come a noun. Of which LOVE and HATE are both guilty, uh... of :p

    This is fun :)

    Please tell me I'm wrong.
    Even though I feel like I'm right, alright? ;)

    *moment*

    -PG

    "...For the love of hate! Or the hate of love?"
     
  17. tcol4417
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    tcol4417 Member

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    I just realised something:

    Not all romantic stories are about the romance.

    Like, the relationship develops, but it's not the main focus of the story; it's taken as a given.

    I don't even like it myself, but take Marle and Me (John Grogan) for example: They start out in love and as far as I can tell the story is built on their life experiences trying to achieve a goal.

    So yeah, there's an example of a successful story where the two main characters start off already in their relationship. Go get'em.
     

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