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  1. Mottahko
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    Mottahko Active Member

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    Curious how people view different types "love interests"

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Mottahko, Oct 8, 2013.

    I'm curious how people view different love interests. There's the "man and his beloved" with the more romantic style. However since becoming a parent myself, I I find the "parent/guardian - child" stories more powerful emtionally now.

    What I'm wondering is how those of you without children view those kind of stories? Its been a few years and I honestly dont remember how strongly I felt about them before my daughter was born.
     
  2. Darrell Standing
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    Darrell Standing Member

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    I don't have kids and I don't find these types of stories boring...I read a few short stories with the parent/kid dynamic and they were generally intersting...it's always interesting to read about this dynamic as we are curious as to how other families tick/ how they're relationships are compared to our own
     
  3. nightbane44
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    nightbane44 New Member

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    I don't mind them as kids their innocence and the parent/guardians desire to protect or shelter them from things like the world's depravity creates a refreshing story in my opinion compared to the typical man and women romance stories.
     
  4. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    My primary concern would be that you make sure that the child is a full-fledged character, rather than an adorable lisping doll. Books about adults fairly often have shallow child characters.
     
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  5. Mottahko
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    Mottahko Active Member

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    @ChickenFreak

    The child character starts off somewhat minor and becomes a bit of a plot device. As the story progresses she ends up becoming a more pivotal character. In the particular story I'm working on.
     
  6. Luke Andrew
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    Luke Andrew Member

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    As a young adult I still tend to prefer a more romantic adult - adult love interest over most other forms of love in works of literature, but I find parent/guardian - child relationships to be really powerful and fun to read about as well. I think it is the conflicts that the parent/guardian and child go through that make those relationships interesting, conflicts between the two of them and conflicts that the pair goes through together. If the child and the adult are never in conflict with one another then the relationship won't feel real because, let's face it, everyone has had a disagreement with their parents before.
     
  7. Mottahko
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    Mottahko Active Member

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    There's gonna be both in my story. But for me the child/parent relationship seems like its going to end up being more emtionally powerfull
     
  8. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I don't see either being over the other, In my opinion, of course this is because I am not a parent. But I found the relationships of both equally engaging because I have two younger siblings and a niece whom I care for dearly. As well as being a wayward soul looking for love.
     
  9. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Seriously? You obviously haven't read The Road by Cormac McCarthy. I won't ruin it for you but is well worth a few of your hours, they will be well-invested :)
     
  10. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Any story that explores only one aspect, or a relationship, is usually boring to me. Regardless of the genre. I like my stories complex and multifaceted. And since I was a child once, I can relate to parent-child relationships as much as any other I've experienced so far.
     
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  11. Motley
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    Motley Active Member

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    I'm with jazzabel on this one. I like stories that explore multiple people's intertwining relationships with each other.

    I have children, so I could relate to the protective parent thing, but I've also been in love, so I can relate to that too. And a million other types of relationships.
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    You don't have to have been through the particular kind of relationship in order to relate. It's true you might not relate as strongly, but you can still relate strongly enough. I have no children and I can fully relate and engage with parent-child-protector kind of stories. And it's nice to see a story explore relationships beyond the romantic. So often the romance is the only relationship that's fleshed out. And besides, you never know what sorts of relationships your readers may have had - the more you explore in depth, probably the more people could relate to your book :)
     
  13. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see them as at all interchangeable. With a romance, there's always the development of the romance, which one can follow through a story. But with a child, you don't usually see the emergence of that relationship -- most often the child is with the parents as a newborn or as a baby, and the relationship is kind of a given. I don't usually find the relationship specifically between a parent and a young child all that interesting as the main focus of a story, but I do like it as an aspect of the character. Actually, a point I have brought up before with others in some critique groups, is that I almost always want to know whether a character has children (particularly if the story is of an older character who has been married).

    A while back, in a writing class, a person had written a detective story where the MC was an older man who was widowed. He solves some mystery involving organized crime. But one thing I wanted to know was whether this guy had any children. The story indicated he lived alone and was kind of lonely -- so, I was curious about whether he had children. If he had children, why did he not see them? Was it simply that they lived far away? Or were they estranged? If he didn't have children, why not? Did he and his wife simply not want any (which is fine), or did they want some but could not have any, or did they have a child die at some point? The answers to these questions all tell us something about the character. But I don't necessarily want to read a story about this man and his child. I just want to be able to place him in a general category, which is further shaped by other developments in the story.

    One interesting thing I've noticed, is that since we've had kids, my husband very adamantly does NOT want to watch any story (whether real or fictional) about young children who get very sick or die. I have always found this type of story very sad, but don't have any heightened aversion to it since becoming a parent, whereas my husband does.
     
  14. Luke Andrew
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    Luke Andrew Member

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    Conflicts don't have to be large, and in fact I think that simple conflicts like disagreements can tell a lot about both the parent and the child. Even in The Road there are a few small conflicts in the father - son relationship like when the boy doesn't want to go into the house his dad grew up in. The reader learns that the boy doesn't like his dad doing anything he feels is risky and can infer from the conversation that the father does risky things anyway. I just started reading The Road by the way and its great. :)
     
  15. Mottahko
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    Mottahko Active Member

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    I'm not sure if I'm just a jaded misanthrope but man/woman love in fiction, especially those bordering or outright in the romance category is far to unrealistic for me to take seriously.

    Over the past 7 years because of my own experiences with relationships. Books with really romantic happy ending crap have become unreadable for me.

    Personally I feel like the love for a child is the only true selfless and unconditional love out there. However I still understand romance and relationships. It's just going to be much darker and probably won't end well for them.

    However I am very thankful for everyone's feedback and input. It has given me some insight on the subject
     
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  16. Malo Beto
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    Malo Beto Member

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    Personally I've never really experienced either, but I tend to find the parent child relationships much more compelling than the romantic sort. Perhaps I'm just exceptionally cynical when it comes to romance but I feel a lot of times authors just show that the two characters are attracted to each other, and call that a romance rather than having them develop a real relationship. I guess that is pretty realistic, particularly if the two characters are teenagers, but I just don't find relationships like that very compelling.
     
  17. Fred
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    Fred Member

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    I'm not sure there are any hard and fast answers to this. All adults were children, once, and so maybe some adult readers will identify with the child in the relationship. We each have our own unique experience to bear on our understanding and relationship to stories. But since this is a about plot, rather than character, development I'm inclined to say that it doesn't matter. If there's more powerful emotional fuel within you to create and maintain a plot that centers on a parent/child relationship, my guess is you'll find it easier to keep it burning, and more brightly.

    When I read The Road recently I came across one sentence in which McCarthy has the MC look at his son and know that the boy "is his world entire", a form of words that, in context, I found deeply touching but which would have sailed by without much of a ripple had I been my younger, single, childless self. I can't imagine that the utter, overriding devotion of The Road's father to his boy's safety and survival would have been lost on the childless me, because McCarthy does emphasise it. The words and phrasing of some of those passages did, however, touch something within me that I would never have known was there had I never become a husband and father. It doesn't alter my grasp of the plot, but it did effect my relationship with the characters. But not every reader of The Road will feel the same. That's what art is all about, I guess.

    Not that my opinion matters. I disliked the book too much to finish it. Life's too short...
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I don't use the term "love interest" for a relationship without sexual/romantic desire.

    But relationships, whether they are loving relationships (including family interactions), romantic relationships, business relationships, adversarial relationships, or something more complex, are the soul of writing. They are also fascinating in real life.

    My children are adults now, but I also started having children after I turned thirty. So I remember how I viewed such relationships before I had children, while they were young'uns, and after they struck out on their own. I haven't yet had the "Gramps" experience, though.

    My conclusion is that the more experiential base you have on both sides of the relationship category, the more you can relate to the characters with the same dynamic, and the more it reaches you emotionally.

    It's not rocket science. Rocket science you can learn from books.
     

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