1. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    How to break the ice between two characters who are dating?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by GoldenFeather, Aug 29, 2012.

    In my novel, there are two characters that eventually get well acquainted and start dating. The problem is, most of their encounters have been awkward because I don't know how to end the awkwardness between them (awkwardness necessarily in the plot). They both like each other but neither know it.

    I am having trouble thinking of an event or shift to get them closer. A sort of "ice breaker" if you will.

    Girl is shy and has a physical ailment (cutting) that makes her anxious all the time. She is always conscious about whether her wrists will be exposed. She struggles with this problem which makes it difficult for her to be around men. She is always guarding herself.

    Him: Typical novel romantic.

    I need an event or shift that will get them a bit closer (without her revealing her problem to him).

    Maybe from your personal experiences, what helped break the ice and take the relationship to the next step? Was it humor? A specific event? Something they said?

    Thanks so much!
     
  2. MeganHeld
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    MeganHeld Senior Member

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    Have them go somewhere that they both like. Almost a thing in common that they just find out they have. Most people when they start dating don't think they have too much in common, or far too much. If you want them to have a lot in common make them go to an event they both want to go to. Sharing something intimate and personal in their separate lives should help connect them as a couple.
     
  3. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For myself, I posted an advert looking for housemates to fill the house I was living in at university. My husband answered the advert, I showed him the house next door (since mine was filled by that point but my friends' weren't), and since he's foreign he didn't know anyone, I gave him my number and offered to show him around campus and all. Anyway, mine saying "my husband answered" probably gave the story away a tad... :p None of our "ice breaking" was deliberate, but sending flirtatious texts was a big part of it lol.

    My husband once dated an anorexic girl, so she was very anxious about her body. The truth is, I don't think they ever got physically intimate - in that sense, the ice never broke, but she would often make him little presents and even cook meals for him (whilst not eating herself). She loved him, but I'm not even sure if they held hands, they might have. But the "ice", on the physical level, was always there I think.

    If you want your characters to get physically close, I'd either have the guy be very, very patient and gentle with her, or else they could have a particularly intimate conversation where they reveal themselves and your female MC could choose to reveal her scars.
     
  4. James Berkley
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    James Berkley Banned

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    think of the ways you have broken the ice with the oposite sex in your own life.

    or a polor bear
    polor bears are hevey enough to break the ice
     
  5. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Cutting is not really a physical ailment. It is indicative of a serious emotional disorder, and it takes the relationship to a very different level. Lots of understanding on his part, and some very serious emotional hurdles to overcome on her part. I would think that the least of those would be her concerns over what her wrists look like.
     
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  6. J. Blake
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    J. Blake Member

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    You say she's cutting herself. My first question (which I assume you have an answer for) is WHY? Cutting herself isn't so much the issue as to what's behind it. Insecurity? Low Self Esteem? Verbal abuse?

    Perhaps there's something that she's insecure about, something specific. Like a dress she wants to wear but thinks she can't, so this male character assists her with his kind words and dashing good looks and helps her reach a milestone in her insecurities. This would, I'd imagine, bring the two closer, having had a treasured experience together.

    In my brief encounter with romance, I was in a position much like this. Basically it happened in a series of late night text messages (far from romantic and beautiful, but sometimes thats how life is, and if your character is insecure, maybe this is a route she considers). Basically though, there has to be someone who takes the first step, whether it be as bold as asking the person out or as subtle as talking to that person about maybe loneliness or about relationships in general.

    Good luck, hope it works out!
     
  7. DanesDarkLand
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    DanesDarkLand Senior Member

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    Ever see someone drop something? What is your first reaction? A person who has an interest in another, or even just a kind person, will automatically attempt to pick the object up. In keeping with a writer's character, most of the people I would meet might be at a library, or a cafe. A book falls to the floor, or something rolls off the table. A gallant romantic type guy would stoop to pick up the object, and if their hands brush, and she blushes, he might smile. From there, its more a matter of interest between the two people. If he's interested, he might ask her to join him for coffee.

    Another case might be that the two live close to each other, maybe in the same building. She's bringing some bags back from a grocery store and he offers to help when its obvious she's struggling with the weight. Boom, open door, an invite for something cold to drink, and let the conversations flow.
     
  8. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Depends on your story angle and your tone. I like to put my characters through something physical to change their
    interest from he's just a friend to wow! He could be so much more.
    It all depends on your setting & scenes - you could put them in a situation that forces them to talk - a stalled
    elevator, a ride on a ferris wheel - thighs touching. or like Danes suggested something helpful - her car has a flat
    he stops to help her.

    But it's not so much the event, it's how your characters react in the event. Saw
    this wonderful moment in a movie - I heart Huckabees in which Lily Tomlin is talking to Jude Law and she
    reaches forward and brushes a lock of hair off his forehead. It was tender, caring, motherly totally lovely and
    it changed the mood of the whole scene.
     
  9. GoldenFeather
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    GoldenFeather Active Member

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    This is great advice!! Thank you so much it gives me many ideas!

    Well the thing is, she doesn't know why she cuts herself. All she knows is that it gives her relief, a sort of release, so she continues doing it. The point of the novel is her discovery of why she does it to herself (that its more than just physical) and how to cope with the deeper rooted issues. Her love interest plays the catalyst that forces her to assess these things, and like you say, she could be insecure about something and his reassurances help her begin the path to self-acceptance.

    Very great post I thank you so much.

    Yes!!

    I have to put them in a situation where they don't have a choice, because my character is the kind who would flee and avoid these situations (due to her anxiety). When she is forced to stay in one, perhaps he could make a comment or two that could move them forward.

    This is AWESOME! Thank you!!

    Would the two users I quoted above mind if I used their usernames in the "Thank you's" of my novel?
     
  10. marktx
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    marktx Contributing Member

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    Hard to say without knowing the characters better, by which I mean their inner lives. However, if I were writing this from scratch, my male "typical novel romantic" would have some off-putting quality which initially drives him and the female lead apart. Oil and water. But the romantic male lead's off-putting behavior would in fact be a mask he wears to cover some type of inner emotional pain, and the breakthough between the characters would be some event in which his off-putting mask slips just enough so that the female lead can see there is something else going on under his off-putting quality, and it would be something that resonates with her own inner pain.
     
  11. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Go for it!

    Just glad the advice made sense - sometimes I feel like I'm talking out of my hat!
     
  12. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I think the real problem is that YOU don't seem to know why she cuts herself. But before you can write intelligently about her character, you need to figure that out. You need to know her completely, or else your portrayal of her will be vacuous.
     
  13. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    Both of them simultaneously find a rare book in a bookshop that they want to read. They come to an agreement to share the book reading alternate chapters before swapping. Discussion of the content of the book in a sort of two person book club. The author or book is really obscure, so sharing that passion for the book might eventually spill over into passion for each other?

    (Sorry if that's too specific an idea - I'm new here).
     

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