Right, I know that in conventional romance stories two characters fall in love and are altered from the experience (they learn life lessons, they realise they're being selfish etc). But I am having problems that mean that when my two lead characters fall in love they seem to suck all the character out of the other. Is there something with my writing that I could do that would save the integrity of these characters? To start off with, my idea is set in 1930s Germany. There is this character who comes from a small town but who gets sent off to boarding school in England. She only comes home every summer. Not only is she rich, seen as cultured, and thinks highly of herself, she is also really pretty (always one!), and because of the few times they see her, she is almost seen as this wild, exotic "opportunity". However, I want to make her unlikable to start with (she's self-obsessed, haughty, and doesn't care about "big" things) and that everyone is only in love with the image of her, and that through her experiences as she meets friends, falls in love, has kids etc. she eventually realises how vapid and selfish she has been her whole life, and the protagonist falls in love with HER. This narrative is causing two problems. Firstly, my antagonist is a really evil guy, does crazy stuff, is generally a menace and does it all in the name of obtaining her (and something about an inheritance) but I find myself backing him because he goes to such extreme, clever and devious ways of achieving his twisted goals. In contrast, my protagonist (who I tried to make the quiet, shy type) is such a wet blanket because of his inability to stand up for himself and all this mooning over her he does that you really just want the antagonist to win. Secondly, I find it REALLY hard to write "nice" characters, so she goes from being this cutting, witty but generally not nice person, to, once she goes through her experiences and falls in love with the protagonist, a wet blanket who just moans the whole time and gives up everything that made her a character. So what I want to know is, should I change her love interest in the hope it would save her character (because her "bitch" character really works)? Or is it just my inability to make an ending where he can retain his quiet, intelligent nature while she remains cultured, outgoing and sophisticated? Is there something, maybe a technique or exercise, that could sort out this problem? PLEASE HELP!!!