1. Metus
    Offline

    Metus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Omega 4 Relay

    Feedback on Relationship Realism

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Metus, Mar 20, 2012.

    Right. So, in one of the two books I'm writing at the moment, I'm worried that the relationship of two of the characters is taking a horribly unrealistic turn. My setting is dark, medieval fantasy. My female character, lets call her Sarah, just for the sake of this description, meets my male protagonist (lets call him Nathaniel) very early in the book, when he's fourteen, and she's fifteen. They are both mages- and in this story, mages are hunted and sometimes murdered by the powers that be. There's an immediate friendship. Nathaniel hates himself for his "curse". Sarah is proud of magic. She changes his mind somewhat, teaches him some magic, and instills in him some pride. Part way into the book, circumstances pull them apart for several years, and they don't meet again until the protagonist is seventeen.

    When they do meet later, political situations have changed. There's talk of mage rebellions and such. Whereas before compliant mages were only heavily regulated, there is a growing push to execute or outright imprison the whole lot of them. Both characters have changed. Sarah started out normal enough, but has now taken a very radical pro-mage, ruthlessly logical and elitist stance, and has delved into all kinds of black magic. She wants to create an mage empire of sorts, and crush ordinary humans. Nathaniel has continued to practice magic in secret since they were separated, but he's no fan of the magic she now uses, or her plans. (Necromancy, mind control, among other things.) Not only that, but Nathaniel is from a wealthy family- and he's destined to inherit a great deal of power. He favors peace and co-existence. He's also betrothed, not that he entirely wants to be. There are a million things dividing them. Still, he trusts Sarah, given their past.

    Then, Sarah kidnaps Nathaniel for reasons related to power, ransom, and dark magic that are pretty much irrelevant for now. Nathaniel's fate is uncertain, as Sarah doesn't go around blabbing about her plans at random. I intended to show off the corrupting power of dark magic and use Sarah as a bittersweet, sad warning of what too much ambition and power can do to a person. She was supposed to be tragically evil, in a gray kind of way. Kind to Nathaniel, but his captor, and evil all the same. But as the book goes on, and I've examined the factions in the book, I find the mages to be actually more correct than their opposition, and Sarah, for all her (mostly subjective- no murders or physical torture) evil, is actually a complex, relatable character. She's not a friendly character by any means- she'd likely unnerve, anger, and disgust many people. But then, Nathaniel is antisocial, and has had few friends and the only other woman who has ever expressed interest in him is more after his money than anything else (at least at first). People tend to despise him for his status and moral views. Even after the kidnapping, Sarah's relative civility and rational mind keep them on speaking terms. Her relationship with Nathaniel is tilting towards romance, which will wreak havoc with my existing romance sub-plot and the rest of my plot. Nathaniel, after all, can't exactly be motivated to stop her evil plans and thus redeem mages in the eyes of society if he's in love with her. And if Sarah reciprocates, how can she really follow through with her plans for him? Plus, without stockholm syndrome coming into play, it may be horribly unrealistic for Nathaniel to fall in love with Sarah in the first place, especially since his soon-to-be-wife makes every effort to find and save him, with the help of his brother. Any opinions? Should I continue with Sarah and Nathaniel's romance, or cut it off somehow?
     
  2. killbill
    Offline

    killbill Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2012
    Messages:
    559
    Likes Received:
    24
    Location:
    where the mind is without fear...
    keeping aside stockholm syndrome, I won't be surprise about the love between Nathaniel and Sarah. Sounds like some kind of attraction, if not love, was always there between the two. Circumstances never keep them together long enough for the love to blossom. Now that they get to spend a lot of time together where is the surprise when the spark comes alive again. So, keep the romance. It wreaking havoc with your plot and sub-plot is a good thing, after all where's the fun in romance without some risk :)
     
  3. Jetshroom
    Offline

    Jetshroom Active Member

    Joined:
    Oct 17, 2011
    Messages:
    165
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    Australia
    "Nathaniel, after all, can't exactly be motivated to stop her evil plans and thus redeem mages in the eyes of society if he's in love with her."

    Sure he can. Lots of delicious conflict right there. I've read it done quite well.
    It comes down to how well you write it. (To quote the forum cliche.)
     
  4. Metus
    Offline

    Metus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Omega 4 Relay
    Good point. It would actually make it deeper, and easier to see her side, if he's torn between her and what he thinks is right.
     
  5. Gonissa
    Offline

    Gonissa Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Ghost Tower
    Nathaniel should of course fall for her...and then be horribly disillusioned when Sarah continues with her hateful plans.

    Nah, you need to make Sarah full out evil! That would make the story so ironic. Sarah is the person who made Nathaniel happy with himself, and then it takes all his inner strength to destroy her.
     
  6. Metus
    Offline

    Metus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Omega 4 Relay
    I don't think I can do full-out evil, given the direction of the book so far, and I'm not sure I'd want to. She won't allow herself to stray from her plans- she regards herself as the savior of all mages. In her mind, either mages control humans (as happened in the past, once before.), or humans will exterminate the mages. However, she does express regret and warmer emotions, at times. As much as she corrupts Nathaniel, he changes her to a degree, as well. At least, he thinks he does. She's quite manipulative.

    I'm planning now for Sarah to go through will her plans, though with hesitation. Eventually (after a long time) she seems to love him, though she doesn't admit it- and it's left vague if she's sincere or simply using him. Nathaniel will of course try to stop her- and he succeeds. However, he can't bring himself and kill her, and simply lets her go once her plans are destroyed.
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    --Note- Edited a bit, which is why this post and Caaiopeia's quote differ.
     
  7. Cassiopeia Phoenix
    Offline

    Cassiopeia Phoenix Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 13, 2012
    Messages:
    201
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Brazil
    That's... That's pretty romantic.
    But really, it sounds pretty good to me. It's not exactly a real relationship where it's clear that they are actually in love with each other. The conflict will make Nathaniel's character more interesting, I think. Though, much like someone already said, it comes down on how you will write it. Good luck!
     
  8. Gonissa
    Offline

    Gonissa Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2012
    Messages:
    264
    Likes Received:
    12
    Location:
    Ghost Tower
    That's...kind of annoying. I mean, who your antagonist? Is it really Sarah, or is it the humans? If it's some boring combination of both so that I don't actually get a bad guy to despise, I've just lost interest. If it's just a pile of moral ambiguity...well, it's no better than reading one of those meh books they force on you in school.

    I guess I shouldn't say that, given as I haven't read your book and you probably just really like Sarah anyway. Still, if she, having been good, went completely evil, that would be interesting.
     
  9. Phoenix Hikari
    Offline

    Phoenix Hikari Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Feb 21, 2012
    Messages:
    333
    Likes Received:
    6
    I personally think it's very interesting and the conflict is an added bonus to the story. I just hope that the relationship is not what the whole plot revolves around because I'll find that a bit boring. I agree with Gonissa, you need a clear antagonist, it'll give the story a larger focus point than what we see here. Maybe someone who's standing behind Sarah's actions, someone in the shadows who can not be easily identified? Just my thoughts.

    I actually like the uncertainty in their relationship and encourage you to proceed with it.
     
  10. Kaymindless
    Offline

    Kaymindless Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 14, 2012
    Messages:
    281
    Likes Received:
    5
    Location:
    Beaumont, Texas, United States
    I may be misunderstanding... I like the idea of not having a completely evil bad guy and I like the fact that it would be a "love does not conquer all" thing between the two.


    I honestly like having both sides in the wrong. Mages are trying to kill humans because humans are trying to kill mages because Mages are trying to kill humans, round and a round with random people like Nathaniel sticking their feet in there with the idea of peace.
     
  11. Metus
    Offline

    Metus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Omega 4 Relay
    At the end of the day, Sarah still wants to enslave humanity and bring about the deaths of thousands of people for the betterment of the lives of her preferred group. She doesn't surrender that goal at any point- not even at the end. It isn't a sudden change of heart that saves her life at the end, but rather, weakness and indecision on Nathaniel's part. I wouldn't call that very ambiguous. Just because she has a mind and thought process, doesn't overtly try to kill Nathaniel (and he is part of her preferred group -a mage) with emotions and regret doesn't mean that she isn't a strong antagonist. The point is that Nathaniel and Sarah agree on a lot- but ultimately, their goals can't be reconciled, and Nathaniel is still a prisoner with an uncertain fate in store.

    And, keep in mind, this post is discussing whether or not the relationship of two characters is realistic enough. I haven't mentioned in any detail more than two characters. There are certainly more, and more characters who you may hate- but that isn't the subject of this post, so I didn't include them here.
     
  12. Luna13
    Offline

    Luna13 Active Member

    Joined:
    Feb 28, 2012
    Messages:
    136
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    The Desk Chair
    I love the idea of the whole uncertain romance. Books where the romance is the whole point of the story - like Twilight, for example - I find very boring. The romance would work... as long as there is a plot beside it. Try thinking about the story, minus the whole Nathaniel-Sarah thing. If there's still a plot behind it, then go ahead. If without the romance the story doesn't do anything, then I'd... not leave it out, but add more to the plot, so the reader doesn't get bored with another run-of-the-mill story where the whole conflict is "Do I love him or not? Do I love him more, or him more? How will I ever decide?"
     
  13. Metus
    Offline

    Metus Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2011
    Messages:
    138
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    Omega 4 Relay
    Oh, yes. There's a lot more to the plot. I understand why it seems very focused on the romance from the summaries I gave, but that's only because that was the point of this thread. I think I referenced in the original post that I didn't even intend for the Sarah/Nathaniel romance to happen- the plot stands on its own without it, but it would take a wall-o-text to explain, so I'll leave it off as I already have that planned, and a large chunk of it written. No point in asking for advice on the plot now.
     

Share This Page