1. A J Phillips
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    A J Phillips Active Member

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    Can two protagonists (MC's) become lovers?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by A J Phillips, Jul 10, 2015.

    So, in my book, a sweeping sci-fi epic spanning multiple planets with multiple wars stacking on one another and growing in magnitude, I have two MC's, male and female. Both are extremely key to events throughout the story (the male being more of the main MAIN character), and eventually through some form of fate, they meet and are forced to work together, the male serving as a bodyguard of sorts. Initially, the female cannot stand even being in the male's presence, as he used to fight for a cause that she thought was corrupt. She makes snap judgements about him and makes up her mind that she does not like him. But after they are essentially forced by ensuing events to spend some time together, and get through a few near death close calls, their love begins to unfurl and they eventually fall. The story itself jumps back and forth from their points of view, told in a 3rd person perspective, as well as the POV of a few characters of lesser relevance. Does it break any rules that I may not know about, to write from the POV of two protagonists who are also lovers?
     
  2. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I don't think it breaks any rules. Quite the contrary, I think what you've described has actually been done quite a few times. Perhaps even to the point where the audience appreciates the opposite where the two main characters don't become lovers. I remember one beta reader's reaction was actually positive when she realized the main characters of my and @T.Trian's WIP (we write together) weren't gonna become lovers. Granted, another one looked forward to it and seemed to be a tad disappointed it wasn't gonna happen... So, different strokes, I suppose. :p

    I think one romance plot I've struggled to connect with is the love-hate relationship. You first hate someone's guts, then they win you over. I can understand some people make strict judgments beforehand and this way can brand an actually good person a total asshole, but that's quite a character flaw. Of course, it's an interesting flaw, so nothing wrong with that.

    But then again, I'm no expert. I'm not a romance novel reader, although when there's a well written romance in an action novel, I'm all for it. Just stay true to your characters (they feel psychologically plausible and sufficiently consistent) and make sure they develop plausibly and their feelings are "justified" (saving each others' lives can definitely help for a bond, be it platonic or romantic).
     
  3. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say this is a pretty standard plot development. No worries.
     
  4. TWErvin2
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    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Happens in romance novels all the time. Can happen in SF too. No reason not to. I am reading (actually listening to an audiobook) a SF novel now where two of the main cast of characters have fallen in love.

    It's just one plot thread, to the backdrop of a major war/conflict. (See John Ringo's --and co-authored--Posleen War series).
     
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  5. Remi Lee
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    Remi Lee New Member

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    Some readers are going to expect it and want it, others will feel it's too cliche. So do what you think is best for you and your story. Personally I like a little added romance as long as it's given the proper time to develop.
    Like TWErvin2 said:
    "It's just one plot thread, to the backdrop of a major war/conflict."
    As long as you keep your main plot in mind the romance will be an added feature. Just try not to drift off too much into the romance aspect of it or it'll seem like you suddenly shifted genres and your readers may feel duped or disappointed. Sometimes I see writers start off with one cool idea, get about 3/4's of the way through it and suddenly the story shifts to an out of the blue dramatic romance and the main plot gets neglected.

    On the contrary, if love and romance is a big focus for this story go for it! As long as it feels right to you and if it enhances the plot instead of distracts from it. c;
     
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  6. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Yep. No worries. I was immediately minded of David Gerrold's War Against the Chtorr series. Jim McCarthy and Elizabeth "Lizard" Tirelli. ;)

    [​IMG]
     
  7. A.M.P.
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    A.M.P. People Buy My Books for the Bio Photo Supporter Contributor

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    Lynn Flewling did it well in her Nightrunner series.
    Both MCs had chapters of their PoVs and dealt with how their relationship was evolving.
     
  8. Djin
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    Djin New Member

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    I don't see any issue with two main characters falling in love. It's a fairly common occurrence- even in SFF. David Gemmell (whilst not Sci-Fi) did it particularly well in one of his 'Waylander' Drenai novels.

    I do tend to have an issue (in my strictly amateur capacity as a simple reader of books) when writers unfold romances with the old clichéd:
    • 'I don't like you'
    • 'oh wait, this terrible thing happened and made me see you soso differently'
    • 'yep, it's definitely love'

    I have trouble buying into the idea that inherent dislike of a person's personality could blossom into romantic love...ever. Even if that person does steer my spaceship out of the proverbial vortex of doom.

    But, that's all just strictly my opinion (and I'm frequently wrong!) so feel free to disregard! =)
     
  9. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah this is basically the plot of every romance ever written. Note that I use a small-r not capital-R for the Romance genre. There are lots of romances that aren't Romances, and it sounds like you're writing one of them.
     
  10. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    That plot can be very cliche if that's all that happens - and especially if one of the characters is a helpless "damsel in distress". That said it can work really well if you have two people who hate each other but are forced to work closely and cooperatively under high stress to solve a big problem - which usually results in them finding the ways they compliment each other, not to mention that the insane amount of adrenaline and hormones involved in high-stress situations tends to mess with people's brains in ways that have little to do with the problem they are solving (especially whereas sexual interactions are concerned). I have a cameraman character who hates the female journalist he's assigned to work with, but then finds himself getting turned on by her when they're under high stress (which is actually deeply uncomfortable for him, but it becomes a recurring distraction that he can't get rid of - which actually really funny to watch from inside his head).
     
  11. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    While I'm not a fan of the Romance genre, I do enjoy a good love story when it's believable and part of a bigger story.

    If the two characters seem fated to be together—and it's the way they ARE together that makes it feel right—then by all means go for it. Give them the 'happy' ending. I've read books where the opposite happens, and I feel quite ...I don't know ...unsettled? When both people who are obviously in love go their separate ways at the end, I end up unhappy. I feel sometimes the author ends things this way simply to avoid a cliche, but it can certainly create disgruntlement in the reader. Some people feel this is more realistic, but I just find it's depressingly negative. Lots of people in real life fall in love, get married, stay together for life, and never regret a moment of it. Good stories don't always need to end by 'moving on.'

    However, if you create two characters who like each other and work together well but aren't actually in love, it makes sense to split them up at the end—even if they've been sleeping together during the course of the story, or have become formally a couple or something like that. If they're not in love, it makes sense to let them go their separate ways. Better than artificially creating a last-minute 'true romance' between them.

    If your two people find their attention is absorbed by the other when they are close together, and find they occupy each other's thoughts when they are apart, that's a good sign. Don't make a bleak ending for them, just for the sake of it. If you do split them at the end, it should be pretty heartrending for them AND the reader.
     
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  12. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    Trying to not sounds like a jerk...but this is the most common plot development in story telling.

    i mean you pretty much straight up described Han Solo and Princes Leia...the only thing you left out is her feelings that he was a scruffy looking nerf herder.
     
  13. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes - but it's a common plot because it is an EFFECTIVE plot with endless opportunity for variation. The stereotypical "Hero's Journey" is the same way, as is the classic heist plot. With a few exceptions, the basic plot formula is not what makes a story interesting - it's the insertion of inventive characters, settings, and situations that make it feel fresh.
     
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  14. Pixiebells
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    Pixiebells Member

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    Even if that is a rule (and I don't think it is,) BREAK IT! Do it your way, and maybe you'll develop a totally unique way of writing that readers will find refreshing!

    The idea of "I hate you, I hate you too" and then however many chapters later they fall for each other because they're forced to be together and they almost die a few times might be a touch overdone, but there are defiantly ways to make that more interesting. Can't think of any off the top of my head, but they're there! Google it. :)

    My personal belief is that in the arts, whether it be literary, visual performing, etc, one should always always ALWAYS take the bigger risk, do something unexpected and different than everyone else. Because even if they fail spectacularly, they'll be REMEMBERED.
     
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  15. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    No rules that I've ever read or heard about.
     
  16. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    There is a certain viewpoint that says it's the strength of feeling rather than the nature of the feeling that can indicate potential love partners.

    If you 'hate' somebody (especially if there isn't a verifiable reason for this feeling ...you don't know, you just hate them on sight) this can be a marker that in some way they have absorbed your attention. They stand out for you, and you find yourself over-reacting to them, and maybe thinking about them more than you do other people. When they are in the room, you watch them—probably covertly—and are aware of everything they say and do. You might not know why, and you might actually want to hate this person a lot—especially if they stand for something you don't agree with, or come from the wrong side of the tracks or perhaps come across as arrogant or stuck-up (which may be mistaken for other more attractive personality traits entirely, such as openness or shyness.) Maybe you are startled by the way they dress, or are shaken up by their 'otherness,' and you think this means you hate them. Can't stand them.

    Aha ...you can be so wrong.

    I think if you play on this strength of feeling as a writer, the results will be more believable, than if you just portray a vague attraction at the start. Vague usually means ...vague. A character might end up totting up another character's good points, finding lots of good points, deciding they would make a good match, etc. Some good relationships get their start this way. However, a Big Bang first impression is a marker that this person may well be 'The One,' not 'just a good choice of mate.'

    It's not a cliche. It actually works like this in real life. It has certainly happened to me. Not only with 'the one,' but several of my best friends of all time initially made a 'bad' impression on me. The thing is ...they made an impression. It's the impression itself that's the marker, not the nature of it. It's natural to initially resent somebody who gets under your skin in some way. It's not comfortable to feel you're in the grip of something you don't understand.
     
    Last edited: Jul 14, 2015
  17. ddavidv
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    ddavidv Contributing Member

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    Cliche's, stereotypes, etc.

    I worked with a girl I despised. Hated. Cursed her very existence. No matter how long I may be trapped on a desert island with her I would not fall for her or do the nasty with her. Just the thought...ugh.

    Conversely, as an annoying pubescent I annoyed the ever-loving crap out of the girl I was interested in. She did eventually succumb to my charms misguided approach and we were quite an item for awhile. I relay this to illustrate that you never can tell.

    I wrote my second novel alternating the point of view of the two MC's. They start out separate in the story, then meet, then share physical pleasure...but the goal for each is different. One is looking for love and reassurance (the guy, if you can believe it) while the other struggles internally trying to decide if she is really into the guy or is just using him. I found telling the story this way very freeing. He saves her, she saves him...its a story told millions of times but the challenge is making it your own and making it believable. Anything is possible, but you have to be able to write convincingly to carry the reader along with you.
     
  18. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Happened in Pride & Prejudice! Elizabeth Bennett was initially physically attracted to Mr. Darcy. But after getting to know him, she found him arrogant and prideful. He was in love with her, but she wasn't having it, so she told him off, which pissed him off. But then as the story progressed, they had more interaction, and she discovered that she misjudged his actions. And of course, he did all sorts of great things for her and made her fall in love with him. The movie makes me cry every time. :cry:
     
  19. Pixiebells
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    Pixiebells Member

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    That is very psychologically possible; if you have a strong feeling about someone, it can change from a negative view to a positive one. In real life, of course it happens a lot.

    I was merely replying to the original post; about the idea of this being in a story and whether or not it breaks any 'rules'. All I meant is that people have seen it before. so it's important to find ways to switch it up. I was actually think about it earlier, and thought instead of what was described--wbat if one of them was a member of an alien race (maybe that were supposed to all be killed?) and they understood each other and had to overcome a new kind of racism? Just thought I'd share that super-random thought, ha.
     
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