1. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Characterization and introduction of the love interest

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Holo, Jan 21, 2012.

    In my story, my main protagonist is an African-American, 19-year-old werewolf girl. She works for an organization that the government developed that deals with capturing renegade Cryptids (another name for vampires, werewolves, witches, faeries, etc.). She is one of the younger members since her werewolf foster father works for them. She has a love interest, but I am not sure how to introduce him. This is not a love story and the love side story does not monopolize her character or the story by any means. Originally, I was going to have him be her partner and work alongside her and be introduced right off the bat. However, someone pointed out to me that it wouldn't make sense because they would have fallen in love beforehand and that I would need a reason for them to not be together already. But I don't know how else to introduce him.
    Originally, my main character finds a newly changed werewolf girl her age who has no memory of her change, and her investigation to find out who turned her gets her involved in the main plot. Should I change the roles of the girl and love interest so that my protagonist meets him that way instead?
    Basically, I need some advice on how to properly characterize and introduce a love interest in a story where the relationship is not the focus, but a side story.
     
  2. LemonDrop
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    LemonDrop New Member

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    Well you could use either idea. In the Harry Potter series, Hermione and Ron took seven years to finally get together and only realized they may have romantic feelings after four years. However, in their defense, they were children when they met and only began to see each other in a different light as they grew and matured. Your characters, at the age of 19, would already be mature and aware of their feelings for people. What you could do is make them kind of like best friends and the circumstances, situations, and tragedies of the story would make them grow closer as lovers.
    You could also make her find the love interest as the amnesiac werewolf and make her partner in crime another girl. The three could then form a trio. I see a lot of two boys one girl trios so it would be interesting to see the two girls one guy dynamic. But what it comes down to is how you want the love interest to be portrayed. Is he the best friend turned lover who she already has established a bond of trust? Or should the reader get to know him as your protagonist gets to know him? Figure out who he is and then decide whether he would have more of an impact being introduced immediately or if he would be more effective as someone that the reader gets to know throughout the book.
     
  3. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Another thing I have trouble with is defining the characteristics and personality of the love interest. Since my heroine is blunt, charismatic, energetic, curious about everything, and quirky, I need a love interest that has a personality that suits hers. I don't like the opposites attract because I don't want to make him a doormat or boring when not with her. I'm afraid of having the Ginny Weasley problem (in which J.K. Rowling wrote Ginny's personality in a way to make her perfect for Harry rather than making Ginny a character on her own). So how do you determine your love interest's personality?
     
  4. Kesteven
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    Kesteven Member

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    Honestly I think what I'd say to that is 'don't think of them as a "love interest"'; if you do that then obviously that's going to be the primary defining feature of their character so it's something I try and avoid. Try giving him a role that's distinct from the romance arc and maybe even try and construct a personality with a view to being interesting rather than 'matching'. A couple that's 'perfect' for each other is usually very boring, and often has no chemistry because of that, and in my opinion that often applies in real life too. What really matters is developing the bond of loyalty and caring.

    If you want to be traditional though, there are plenty of ways to make a character that contrasts without being a complete opposite. Generally 'hot', impulsive characters are balanced by 'cool', measured ones. That can mean being usually passive, but taking control at just the right moment, or steering the situation with subtlety and guile. Or you could balance a character with an interest in everything with one who has a single, powerful interest in one thing. These are all contrasting, but they can also all be interesting and assertive.

    Of course, most people put a lot of themselves into their protagonist even if they don't mean to, so one way to do it is to just think what you'd personally find attractive and go with that. It seems a bit cheap to me, but there's no denying its effectiveness.
     
  5. Holo
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    Holo Senior Member

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    Well should I switch the male lead/love interest's role with the girl that the protagonist found or should I have him working alongside her from the get go. In some stories the love interest is introduced to the reader by being introduced to the protagonist so you get to know him/her as the protagonist gets to know them and you see the relationship develop from friendship to something more. In other stories, the protagonist already knows the love interest but simply sees them in a new light after some time. Which one do you think works better for the story?
     
  6. Kesteven
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    Kesteven Member

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    That depends on the story's details but I doubt it makes much difference overall.

    I think having the characters meet later on would probably be easier. But for related reasons I think giving them a past history might be more interesting, so I suppose to some extent it depends on how much faith you have in your writing abilities. Also relationships that develop out of friendships or working relationships tend to be more complicated but potentially deeper. Since the romance isn't the main focus of the story it might be better to have them meet later and keep things fairly simple. Up to you though really, just try one way and if it doesn't seem to be working, try the other.
     
  7. AmyHolt
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    AmyHolt Contributing Member

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    Good idea. It could be an even more interesting relationship if their personalities don't completely suit each other (like real life).

    Also I don't have a problem with them already knowing each other. Maybe they weren't partners and then get paired together

    Or maybe He has only seen her in work garb and then happen to see her dressed up and he suddenly thinks of her in a different light.

    Perhaps they never had a reason to chat and be friends but they happen to be stand next to each other when a couple across the room starts kissing (or something stupid happens) and they have this moment where they look at each other and laugh.

    Or maybe the guy is a bit of a bad boy and others are trash talking about him and she defends him and one of her girlfriends accuses her of liking him. She's like, no I don't, but that gets her thinking and she realizes there's some truth to it.
     
  8. Dragon Boy
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    Dragon Boy Member

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    It might be a bit more respectful to warn people before posting spoilers.
     

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