1. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    No Chemistry?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by sweetchaos, Jan 2, 2009.

    Okay, I have a slight problem. I have these two characters that are supposed to be attracted to each other. The whole point of the story is that they get together. However, I've spent four chapters trying to get them to mesh and they just don't seem to want to cooperate.

    She's attracted to him, but she's not stupid enough to fall for his games when he's obviously a control freak and a jerk. And he's SO no smooth enough to hide it. I mean, I could easily change their personalities, but then they wouldn't be the characters who made me want to write the story in the first place.

    I have no idea what to do. Any one have the same problem? How did you get through it? Do you have any suggestions? Or is it time to go in and change who they are?
     
  2. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Maybe she realizes that is part of his personalities and somewhat starts to respect it a little more.
    I mean if they are suppose to be in a relation ship a relationship isn't just built.
    Its built upon trust and respect for one another.
    [sorry I don't think I helped]
     
  3. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Normally, this would be true. However, if you knew the sleazeball she was supposed to be interested in, you would probably change your tune. :p

    I think that's the problem. I know full well what kind of a jerk he his, and don't want to make her come off as so ridiculously stupid and to completely miss out on it. I know you're supposed to hurt your characters, but dumbing them down seems unnecessary. I guess I'm just having trouble finding a quality in him (aside from his oh so sexiness) that she would find herself drawn to. He's too much of a butt! haha.

    Of course, it's kind of based in reality, and I thought I was smart enough to avoid the same type of guy..... maybe there's hope for them yet :S
     
  4. Mr Vampyre
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    Mr Vampyre Member

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    I'm finding this a tough one to answer, especially since I don't know the characters.

    Words like "control freak" and "jerk" don't exactly make him sound all that attractive. Is this a case of the princess falling for the bastard? If so are they trying to solve a problem together?

    Can she somehow compliment him? Maybe she can tame him a little bit, and he can change her a little?

    What's the pull for them to "chase" each other? If it's just physical then you're basing a relationship off one of the weakest and most vain traits humanity has.
     
  5. Mr Vampyre
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    Mr Vampyre Member

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    Is he honest?

    If he's honest. Honest enough. Then that will breed respect which can blossom into something else. For that to happen his honesty would need to benefit her to the extent that she begins to see through his awkward exterior and maybe discover a different person underneath.
     
  6. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I think it's a lot of physical that draws her to him, and this his manipulative nature kind of takes over. What happens is she ends up with him and can't find the heart to end things when she knows she should. She's attracted to someone else and there is confusion and she doesn't think that he's available.

    I think I need to change him in the beginning. Make him more likable and able to hide who he really is. Give him that 'smooth' edge. Otherwise, she'd never fall for him.. Then change him subtly from there...:S So much rewriting!

    He's never truly honest. It's all his in manipulating. He tells lies without flinching and people fall for it. I don't think I ever want her to respect him, just to be drawn to him. This way she can fall into his trap and have trouble finding her way out again. She has a white knight, she just needs to be a hostage before he can come rescue her.
     
  7. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Why can't she give in?
    Not out of stupidity though.
    Couldn't she just have one of those clear moments just to give in.
    Couldn't she just have one those moments where she wants to be a little sleazy and wild?
    A little not her self.
    And maybe changing herself a little may make the guy realize how horrible he can be?
     
  8. Mr Vampyre
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    Mr Vampyre Member

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    Have you ever seen Bitter Moon? I think of that film when I read about your characters chemistry. If not, rent it out and watch it over the weekend. You'll probably hate me come Monday but maybe it'll help.
     
  9. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    It's hard to say because he's such a prick. He's almost manic at times. He'll be perfectly fine and as soon as he doesn't get what he wants, he'll turn on her. And she's kind of a shy girl and almost prudish. He comes off as very direct, and pushes her into things she doesn't want to do. I really don't find the condusive to creating attraction.

    Listening to myself, I'm realizing I'm going to have to start him over from the beginning. Give him some redeeming qualities, or up the smooth and down the directness... at least until after he has her under his thumb.
     
  10. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I've never heard of it, and unforunately I work all weekend. I'll put it on my 'to see' list, though.
     
  11. Leaka
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    Leaka Creative Mettle

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    Or, you can add on to them.
    Maybe an accident happens.
    An accident that makes him or her appreciate each other more.
     
  12. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Good idea? Yes. For my story? Not really. It's a very simple novel, and I already have so much going on. I think i'm just gonna go with Occam's Razor and soften him up around the edges. :)

    Thanks for the help guys! I think I really just needed to talk it out and go with my gut on this one. I knew I'd have to rewrite him, I was probably just avoiding it. HAHA
     
  13. madhoca
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    madhoca Contributing Member Contributor

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    You say the girl is 'shy, almost prudish'. Has she suffered some kind of abuse or trauma which would predispose her towards types like this man?
    Or has she some other weakness or undeveloped part of her personality which would explain the attraction?
    Look at the number of attractive, intelligent women who end up with turds. I would go into it from this angle rather than try and change the man or rationalise it, if I were you. In fact, you could make him even more obnoxious and unappealing...
    You never know, her love might improve him...
     
  14. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    There's no abuse or trama, just a sort of sheltered life. She was never very outgoing in highschool and didn't spend a lot of time around boys so she still tends to shy away from them. She's never really certain how to act.

    As for improving him, I don't intend for him to improve at all. In fact, the climax of the story is him dropping to the lowest of the low. It's her turning point really. (He gets a tad abusive)

    But I guess you're right. Smart women fall for sleazy men everyday. Thanks for the help!
     
  15. Andrew Carson
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    if you put it so the situation NEEEDS to have his characteristics which show him shine ! Then she will want to be with him or do it so the situation changes the character so that he is more compatable! Well There are a few ideas but at the end of the day only you can make it work! :)
     
  16. robertpaine
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    Are they already in a relationship as the book begins or do they work towards it?

    If they work towards maybe at first, she could resent him and thinks she hates him, but then as others have said, an event or some sort of disaster happens wherein she is forced to recognise him, and then she gets these feelings that she doesnt want to have about him, and then she reluctantly begins to like him?
     
  17. NaCl
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    NaCl Contributing Member Contributor

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    No chemistry? Then try physics! Not kidding...some of history's greatest romances began with lots of hard knocks between characters who initially loathed each other. So bring on the collisions.
     
  18. Nilfiry
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    Nilfiry Contributing Member

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    Well, people tend to start liking each other after hanging around each other for a while and experiencing some hardships together. Isolate your couple for a little bit and "bring on the" hardships.
     
  19. Dcoin
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    Dcoin Contributing Member

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    It sounds more like there is no reason for these two characters to be together. No motivation, no chemistry.

    What if there is one trait that reminds her of a long lost male figure? (Uncle, father, grandpapi). So even though he is a jerk, that one trait blinds her to all else.
     
  20. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    Thanks for the ideas, guys! It really looks like i'm gonna have to put them through something to save the story line. HAHA. I'll see what i can come up with!

    Thanks again!


    ....i seem to like exclamation marks....!
     
  21. Hetroclite
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    Hetroclite Member

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    As I just suggested in another thread, develope the character before writing the story. Create an entire biograhphy of each character; their past, their influences, their hopes & dreams, their beliefs & self-perceptions. No man thinks of himself as "such a prick" or "a maniac at times." That's an outside perception. You have to justify his point of view, based on what he's experienced in life, to really know him. By seeing each character as a full individual, you can see how they can play off of one another. Keep developing the characters until you can see how they'll flow thru the story; how the story can be told by them.
     
  22. sweetchaos
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    sweetchaos Contributing Member

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    I fully agree, however, character development is not where my issue lies. The problem is that my characters' personalities do not interact well. SHE doesn't like how pushy he is and HE is controlling and quick to temper with little control over it. So, when they're hanging out and he gets a little overzealous, she's not about to fall head over heels for him.

    Therein lies my problem. How do I put two characters into a relationship that is the key point of the entire plot/storyline/reason i'm writting the darn thing?
     
  23. JohnNoZ
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    If his principal characteristic is that he is overbearing and controlling, and she still falls in love with him, then she does like how pushy he is. In most relationships I have seen where a quiet person is with a pushy person, the quiet person may be annoyed by the other's attitudes. However, in the end, they balance some need in the quiet person, and the quiet person loves them for that simple fact.

    That is why opposites attract.

    It may start with annoyance. It may end with annoyance. However, if she falls in love with him, at some point, she loves him not only despite but because of the characteristics that you are describing.
     
  24. JohnNoZ
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    Thinking about this, it seems that you are fighting an implicit fact. By having her fall in love with a jerk, you are characterizing her in a manner that you don't like. However, it is the action of the character that most thoroughly defines the character.

    If she falls in love with such a guy, then she is by definition the "type" of woman that falls for that type of guy. You can't have it both ways. Is that what you are struggling with? It sounds sort of like it, but I cannot tell from this brief discussion.
     
  25. HeinleinFan
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    So, let me get this straight. You have a "story" that upon consideration turns out to have basically no plot aside from the romance, and neither character changes, and the two Designated Lovers are people who wouldn't be together on their own unless God (that is, the author) makes them.

    Yes, you have a lot of rewriting to do. Romance can be intriguing, and you can pull it off even with the unfortunate situation at hand. Readers are interested in stories first and foremost - so you need to set one up.

    You can do this easily, though. Set up a situation where the two are in conflict - perhaps he and his buddies joke around about how awesome they are, and somehow he brags he can have "any girl he wants," and his buds say, "Fine, then, why don't you try to get with Greta?" He might continue to be a jerk, but perhaps he's just that way because he's never hung out with girls much. He might slowly turn into more of a friend than a sex pursuer - and if she eventually learns to tolerate him, they might become more than friends.

    Or, have the characters change over time. (My personal preference would be to have the obvious jerk guy become less jerkish as he starts wanting to impress the girl he likes. I tend to think that girl characters are lame when they decide to date a boy who is plainly mean or just interested in her for the sex.) It might be less a story about a bet gone wrong than about two people who realize that the other person isn't really as bad as they thought at first.

    But a "story" that just involves an incompatible couple getting together due to author fiat is going to be flat. Look at the ribbing Twilight has gotten - and that had a lot of neat supernatural elements and some side plot to prop it up. So you should look for ways to inject more of a story than a reasonable-seeming girl who falls for a jerk just Because. There could be good reasons for their getting together, but "good reasons" have to be better than "I want them to fall in love, so they will, no matter how improbable this seems to my readers."

    Heck. Maybe she knew a guy from a past school who looked vaguely like him, and spends some time hanging out with the new guy under a false assumption. She quickly learns that he's a jerk and stops hanging out with him - but not before he gets the impression that she's interested. Then he wonders why she's avoiding him and getting mad at him when he tries to ask her out. If he realises (or if someone else does, and tells him) that she was interested in someone who was "similar, but a lot more polite," he may decide to make a conscious effort to clean up his act. This could be a fascinating character arc to watch, and it would definitely be a real story, as long as there were other minor events woven in along with the story of their attempts at romance. (Like if the boy is having trouble in school or with family and is acting out at least partially because of those problems.)

    Disclaimer: I'm naturally deeply suspicious of Designated Love Interests because it's so hard for a writer to do love right if the characters are "destined" to be with each other anyway. It can probably be done well; I just haven't seen it in a while. So I'm being harsher and more pessimistic about this than most people would be.
     

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