1. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4

    Help with a romance story

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Flashfire07, Sep 24, 2011.

    In my most recent story two male characters (Cody, who is 18, homeless and in frequent trouble with other street denizens and Dan, a 32 year old accountant who is settled down with his partner Neil, who is 28) develop a romantic relationship. Now, I have never tried writing a romance story before and so I would like some advice on developing the relationship. The only concrete details I have are that Cody takes an interest in Dan, Dan is completely oblivious to his intentions, Neil picks up on Cody's interest and lets Dan know, Dan tries to convince Cody to find a partner cloer to his own age, Neil and Dan have a violent confrontation after which Dan drinks a little too much and winds up seeking comfort from Cody. Now, what I would like help with is showing that Cody is interested in Dan subtly, I'm not a very subtle person so I don't know how someone would go about dropping hints that he is interested in another person. Secondly I am actually stuck on where to go after Dan spends the night with Cody. I'd also appreciate general advice and help on this one as I'm struggling to get this story written.
     
  2. Mallory
    Offline

    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2010
    Messages:
    4,274
    Likes Received:
    191
    Location:
    Tampa Bay
    Cody might ask Dan for advice a lot, or bring up subjects they're both interested in, but be a bit nervous at the same time. He'd probably come up to Dan and make conversation, again acting just a tad bit too nervous or excited, or if he's shier he might just give him interested looks from across the room.

    I'm not subtle either -- my boyfriend and I got together after I told him "you turn me on, we should go out" -- so I'm not an expert at this stuff, but I think the stuff I listed above is how most people drop hints of interest. Fellow readers, if my advice is wrong, feel free to correct me.

    Another point to bring up is that with the age difference, Neil's upsetness might be different from the standard reactions to cheating. Instead, he's be more likely to take issue with feeling that Dan is taking advantage (while 18 is an adult, it's still a far cry from 32, and an 18-year-old idea of love and romance is likely to be far different than a 32-year-old's), whether he is or not.
     
  3. Yoshiko
    Offline

    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2009
    Messages:
    758
    Likes Received:
    27
    I've read through your post a couple of time but I can't seem to work out which character's point of view you're writing from? The way you go about portraying the character would be different depending on the POV you're using.
     
  4. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4
    Oh right, sorry, I forget to include important details like that. I'm writing from Dan's POV here.

    Yeah, the age difference will be an issue in this story, it's the main reason Dan doesn't want to persue the relationship.
     
  5. Manav
    Offline

    Manav Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Mar 26, 2010
    Messages:
    839
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Imphal, India
    When someone, specially an inexperience young adult, is near somebody whom he/she likes very much, the way he talks, walks, acts et cetera may change. Also, a smile can say thousand words, so appropriately inserted body language can give subtle hints of emotions.

    I am not sure if this will work. Dan seems to have some experience in man-man relationship/love, and as a gay myself, I know that men sexually attracted to men and had experience such relationship are more likely to be sensitive to the subtle hints of attractions. So, Dan being all out ignorant about Cody's interest in him will seem hollow. May be he is in denial because of the age difference and may be Neil has a point!

    You can take it anywhere, really! But before you do that try to find out what are the deepest desires of Dan, Cody and Neil. Desires will give you motives, and motives will give you conflicts. Some questions to ask are: Does Dan really not see Cody's interest in him? (as mentioned above); Does Dan see himself in the dream plan that Neil have? Is Cody really interested in Dan? Is he after Dan's stable life (money wise)? .... these are some example questions... you can ask as many questions as you want... pick the answers you want your characters and story to reflect... and then PLOT the story.
     
  6. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4
    Body language is an aspect I never considered. Thanks for putting me onto that.

    Well actually no, in this story he's only recently discovered his attraction to other men, so there's the whole bundle of questions and doubts over that getting in the way as well as Neil perhaps being a bit too pushy about it all.

    The trouble with figuring out the characters desires is that I don't know my characters very well, which is why writing a romance story is so difficult for me.
     
  7. topeka sal
    Offline

    topeka sal Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2011
    Messages:
    135
    Likes Received:
    6
    I'm not gay, but from what I've observed (friends, going to gay bars, etc) Manav is right:

    People whose sexuality starts in the closet (for many reasons), often hone their ability to read subtle, unspoken signals. Also, any sexual feelings, gay or straight, between two people include a huge chemical component. It's something you can almost sniff out in the wind. It's how people who in every other way seem wrong for each other will sometimes spark.

    Denial is likely from what you (Flash) have described, and it could be for any number of reasons... loyalty to Neil, mistrust of Cody, Maybe repugnance at Cody's situation in life? So many things can trigger denial. What's going on in that head of Dan's (no pun intended! :) )?


    Yup to this, too. ^

    So, in an effort to get to know your characters, here are some questions I have:

    --You say Dan has only recently discovered his attraction to men but you also say that he is "settled down" with Neil. You also say something about "pressure" from Neil. Could it be that this settled-downness is something that Dan simply fell into because Neil was the first to help him come to terms with being gay? Maybe he's grateful but not fully committed. He feels he has this new world open to him and wants to explore it? Still, there's the guilt about Neil, hence his hesitation/denial about Cody?

    --How does the, perhaps, uptight accountant know Cody, the street kid? This could tell a lot about the characters. Where did they meet? Why do they continue to meet? And why does Neil know Cody, too? What holds these three together and what started it?

    --I'm also wondering if accountant is the right job for Dan. Would some kind of social work be better? Perhaps that's too on-the-nose, but you know what I mean. Of course, I'm not trying to stereotype accountants as uptight or boring or whatever, but his job does lead me to wonder about these particular characters forming a relationship. Perhaps you already have the answer to this? If not, thinking about other possible employment or social roles for Dan might open possibilities. Is he a cop? A vicar? A bouncer? A garbage man? (all people who might naturally come into contact with Cody) Or is there something else drawing him to, for lack of a better word, an underworld to which he normally doesn't belong?
     
  8. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4
    That they do, but how do you convey the chemical attraction? I can't think of a way to describe the pheromones influencing the characters brain and other bits, which is why I'm struggling with body language and subtle physical clues, of course if I draw attention to these subtle hints it becomes obvious to the audience, and I'm afraid that if the audience is aware of Cody's intentions from the start that Dan being oblivious to his feelings will seem artificial.

    I don't know if I'm supposed to answer these here or not, I don't want to derail this thread, I got into trouble for something like that not long ago. So I'll answer them here and if it's the wrong thing to do I'm sure someone will notify me so I know what to do in future.

    You say Dan has only recently discovered his attraction to men but you also say that he is "settled down" with Neil. You also say something about "pressure" from Neil. Could it be that this settled-downness is something that Dan simply fell into because Neil was the first to help him come to terms with being gay? Maybe he's grateful but not fully committed. He feels he has this new world open to him and wants to explore it? Still, there's the guilt about Neil, hence his hesitation/denial about Cody?
    Dan and Neil have been together for six months when the events of this story begin, Dan realised he had feelings for Neil while evading a mutual enemy named Damien who did some unpleasant things to the two of them. Neil loves Dan in his own way, the pressure he places on Dan is partly due to his desire to 'make up' for not being able to protect Dan from harm, he blames himself for what Dan was put through by this enemy. Dan has no plans to explore the gay community as he's terrified that he'll get bashed for his sexuality, he grew up in a small 'Bible Basher' town and served in the military for 10 years and so has had heterosexuality drummed into his skull from the day he was born. He knows Neil loves him and because of their shared trauma he feels safe with Neil.

    How does the, perhaps, uptight accountant know Cody, the street kid? This could tell a lot about the characters. Where did they meet? Why do they continue to meet? And why does Neil know Cody, too? What holds these three together and what started it? Well I'm not quite sure how Cody and Dan meet, all I know is that there's an event which provokes Dan to violence in defence of Cody and the two meet in order to teach Cody how to fight. I originally planned for this to be part of the modern fantasy story I'm working on, in which case Cody is being hunted by a weird critter, Dan helps him fight it off and then decides he's better off being part of a group which is better equipped to deal with these things (bad explanation I know, but I don't really want to clutter this up with all the background info about Aether, Over There, Skintakers blah blah blah) but that story is getting pretty messy as it is with the 7 other characters I have to write about. But in any case, Dan teaches Cody how to fight, and since Neil is a MMA fighter Dan ropes him in to provide some extra advice, during the first few sessions Neil picks up on Cody's attraction to Dan and it does not sit well as he feels Cody is too young and passionate to be around someone like Dan.

    I'm also wondering if accountant is the right job for Dan. Would some kind of social work be better? Perhaps that's too on-the-nose, but you know what I mean. Of course, I'm not trying to stereotype accountants as uptight or boring or whatever, but his job does lead me to wonder about these particular characters forming a relationship. Perhaps you already have the answer to this? If not, thinking about other possible employment or social roles for Dan might open possibilities. Is he a cop? A vicar? A bouncer? A garbage man? (all people who might naturally come into contact with Cody) Or is there something else drawing him to, for lack of a better word, an underworld to which he normally doesn't belong? Dan elected to be an accountant because the tedious, repetitive input of numbers keeps his mind off the smell of burned flesh, the taste of blood and the sounds of gunfire that often rattles around his head. As for being drawn into the underworld, well if I melded this with my fantasy story he would be there because that's where the monsters are, if not he's there because he's looking for a reason to exsist, something to fix, something to save and keep him in a world he doesn't feel he belongs in.
     
  9. Cordoma
    Offline

    Cordoma Member

    Joined:
    Sep 21, 2011
    Messages:
    29
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    South San Antonio, TX
    This is a relationship story. The traditional ending of romance novels is when the relationship culminates, and the guy gets the girl(or in this case, the guy).

    In actuality, however, you do not have a traditional romance. You have a story told from the perspective of an older man, who is being pursued by a younger male. This younger male is a force that puts pressure, a force that threates to destroy the relationship he has with Neil, his partner.

    This would usually set up Cody as the antagonist, though it seems you don't wish to portray him that way. Usually, Cody would be the interloper, and Dan would need to find a way to fight his urges and building attraction towards this young man. To "save" his relationship, so to speak.

    As for how the story would end, you could have it end in a number of ways. You could have cody find someone else he loves. You could have Cody and Dan get together. you could have them all commit triple homicide on a cold afternoon in the french alps. You decide. :D
     
  10. Flashfire07
    Offline

    Flashfire07 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 9, 2011
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    4
    Yeah, and in this story none of the core three (Cody, Dan, Neil) are the antagonist, I decided to have the threat be more to life and limb and have the relationship tension pretty much be a complete mess with characters having to sturggle to fix things and make things better. I don't really want to write a tragedy because to me it feels a bit... wrong to write a tragic story when I'm only young and should be happy. But then again tragedy is good for drama as long as the end is happy. But that's just my opinion on this kind of genre.
     

Share This Page