1. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by ObsidianVale, Sep 22, 2009.

    When a heroine meets her hero for the first time the reader falls in love with the hero as the heroine falls in love.

    now i have two characters that have a history together before the actually story starts.


    Does anyone have any advice? or tips? or opinions? Do's and Don'ts?etc...
     
  2. Unit7
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    Unit7 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Personally I dislike the whole falling in love at first sight. I would probably be wanting the characters who have history together, especially if they are great friends, to get together. But maybe thats just me.

    Don't have a whole lot of experience in the writing a story with romance and such.
     
  3. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Love at first sight can be wrapped up into one word: lust.
     
  4. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Wow, that's a kinda pessimistic view. Lust and love at first sight are definitely not the same...if I'm at a club and see someone I wanna ****, that's lust, and I certainly wouldn't be in love with them. Love at first sight isn't just about physical attraction, its a deeper connection. Whether or not it exists outside romance novels is another thing entirely...

    As for the OP, I'm not entirely sure what the question is? Are you simply asking for advice on whether it is okay to have the hero and heroine already have a history and therefore not have a first meeting in the story? In which case the answer is, of course, yes...plenty of stories begin with the characters already in a relationship, or in a friendshi that is evolving into somethig more. The only do I could think of is make sure, like all the other things you write, is that it's actually good. Don't be soppy and sentimental and cliche, be honest.
     
  5. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Beyond the cliche of the love at first sight moment, where's the fun in that for the reader? As a reader I would question the state of mind of anyone who was so instantly besotted with another. Now, if the instant love and the reason behind this instant love is itself a portion of your plot, of your story's raison d'etre, then have fun with it. Otherwise, if is simply they meet, they fall instantly in love, the story moves forward, then I would think to myself as the reader, "Ok, that was convenient and cheap. A bit like toilet paper at Walmart. Convenient and cheap."
     
  6. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    "I was in love at first sight. The next morning I sobered up."
    "It was love at first sight. Then I looked again."

    Setting aside the one liners, if there is an instant infatuation, it may or may not stand up to the reality when the lovers get to know each other, differing politics amd body odors notwithstanding.

    From a story standpoint, you need dischord far more than you need harmony. In the simplest case, separate the lovers with a vast distance and a threat. Kidnap Princess Toadstool and send Mario on a valiant quest to recue her. Or create a misunderstanding that tears them asunder with doubt. and let them find their way back together. Force the all-for-justice detective to send his beautiful FBI lover to prison for her part in the conspiracy, and years later, bring them together after she does her time, and see if they can sort it all out.

    True love makes a fine happy ending, if you can get your increasingly cynical readers to buy into it. But it makes a terrible story when things go well.
     
  7. Beaumont Hardy
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    Beaumont Hardy New Member

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    I agree with our Gen. Moderator. It doesn't matter whether the characters meet in the reader's presence or before the book starts. The important part of the story is its conflict. If the story is a romance, the characters can't be happily in love from beginning to end.

    If your question is whether it's better for a reader to witness the development of a relationship from the beginning or to have that reader learn of a relationship that has already existed, I think both work equally well. If the characters have met before the book begins, you have various ways of telling the reader about their shared past. You can do it through straight narration ("Joe and Susie met at the carnival two years earlier. They shared a corn dog but lost each other in the crowds.") or through the characters' action and dialogue. In general, I think "showing" is more interesting than "telling" when filling the reader in on the characters' pasts.
     
  8. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not being pessimistic. I'm simply saying that "love at first sight" is totally superficial, with the "love" component being projected onto a random stranger you could not possibly love, because you have no idea who they are. It's shallow at best.

    Whatever divine value you see in this stranger is psychological projection, and most probably it is triggered by something much much simpler; lust.

    Or you could call it "superficial attraction" if you think "lust" is too negatively loaded. Point is the same.

    Why am I not being pessimistic when saying this? Because my real point is that love is something far more deep and meaningful than superficial attraction, and that it could not possibly be grown to a blossom in 15 seconds.

    If someone claims to have fallen in love with a person they just met, then I'd think they must have had no personality growth since the age of 12. I'd think the same about a book character, and most likely not bother to read on.
     
  9. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Love at first sight is not about attraction, at least not to the person experiencing it. Its the feeling of an immediate, deep, meaningful connection; its supernatural. Lust is totally primal and superficial, whereas love at first sight is something far more profound. If they meant lust, they'd say lust. But they don't. They are two completely different things. But as I said, I'm not convinced it actually happens in the real world, but as it is used in fiction, its not the same as lust.
     
  10. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    Hey sry my post was so brief and kinda vague. I was writing it and had my mind on something else then pressed the wrong button and thought it didn't go through and... ya so...

    my concern is not so much the falling in love at first sight ( i also do not believe it possible) what im concern about is the how i can catch my reader up with the emotional progress of my couple. They already have some emotional investment in each other but things go wrong and then the first chapter of the story starts.

    ( and no it's not possible to start the story any earlier then where i have started it because literally nothing happens between the two for a every long time.)

    (the basic plot is that she forms a crush on him and then after a year of being to shy to do much more then to have a brief conversation with him she finally gets the courage to confess her feelings. He rejects her ( in a pretty rude way) and then disappears for the summer. it's the next year after the summer when he comes back that the story starts)

    so ya. When she finally see's him for the first time at the beginning of the new year she reacts by being self conscious, embarrased, you name it etc...

    is this too much emotion to start with at the very beginning of the story?


    wow i feel really dense right now. I always have these questions but once i write them out they always seem like really stupid things to ask.

    anyway Thanks for all of your responses!!!!!
     
  11. ObsidianVale
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    ObsidianVale Member

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    Hey sry about the really brief and vague post. I was writing it and then something else caught my attention and i didn't realize that the post had gone throught... so ya..


    Sry again i always have these questions but when i write them down they always seem to be really stupid things to ask.

    thanks for all your responses


    P.S i also don't believe in love at first sight. ( so totally not possible)( and a little lazy if you ask me)( too simple. The ups and downs are what make love fun)

    anyway ya just wanted to know what the best way was to catch my readers up to the emotional progress of my characters.

    so ya. thanks again.
     
  12. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Well, if we're talking about supernatural feelings, then I have nothing more to add, except that I, personally, think it's silly. Characters that are based in actual real-world human behavior are infinitely more interesting to me.
     
  13. Evelyanin
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    Evelyanin Senior Member

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    The story of Beauty and the Beast is MUCH more romantic than Cinderella is, all because the story of Cinderella is about beauty, and Beauty and the Beast is about love. If Cinderella had walked into the ballroom wearing what every other girl had been wearing, do you think Prince Charming would have noticed her? Nope. The most romantic stories are the ones where you can see the love growing. Even if you start the story with a married couple, you can still do your best to let the reader see the love growing. As mentioned before, putting hardship between the couple would build a strong foundation for potential love growth.
     
  14. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    ^ And yet the Cinderella story appears in countless cultures and has endured through thousands of years and countless retellings...weird huh?
     
  15. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cinderella is a "peasant fantasy" as I like to call it. It revolves around the same principle as fantasies of becoming a lottery millionaire or becoming a reality-TV star. Just because it appeals to the masses, doesn't mean it's good.
     
  16. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    But if something appeals to masses in different cultures, different periods and different continents, then surely its worth asking if there might be some deeper meaning to it. Its not a story that has spread from culture to culture, but one that has independently emerged several times in very similar forms. The 'how' and 'why' of that are very complex and yet-to-be-answered questions...
     
  17. luckyprophet
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    luckyprophet Member

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    Maybe Cinderella isn't about beauty, but about "love is blind" :rolleyes: (or, "when she's in the right 'shoes', she's the only one I/he/the prince can see" ...)

    Beauty and the Beast is about the decision of going ahead with a relationship after you found out that the frog-prince who bought you is a frog ever after :D
     
  18. Cazaric
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    Cazaric New Member

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    It may be present in various cultures, but only due to humanity's ever-present, shallow aspiration to physical beauty. As such, being based completely on beauty, it isn't love at all.

    There is no deeper meaning there. If there was, don't you think the spark aroused by "love at first sight" would still be there when Prince Charming saw Cinderella in plain clothes? Since he didn't, it's clear it was about her looks, as opposed to her.

    It's not "love at first sight", which is a ridiculous concoction at best.
     
  19. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    You really should read Persuasion by Jane Austen. It's pretty much the same premise.

    And as for where/how to start, that's really up to you. Just choose what seems best and go for it. Tell your story the best you know how.
     
  20. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Wow Cinderella is being so badly misrepresented!! No its not love at first sight, but that's not what the story is really about.....
    Cinderella slaves for herevil stepsisters and mother endlessly, without complaining and without being thanked. Then, as a reward, she is given the chance to go to the ball where the prince falls in love with her. He has never seen her before, so doesn't know that she is treated like a servant etc, and even when he does eventually find this out, which he does, he still loves her...he sees past things like status and beauty (although she usually is still depicted as vbeautful) and loves her for who she is, and in the end she lives happily ever after and her stepsisters die (in the good versions).


    Cinderella isn't abut prizing beauty, its about treating others as you would like to be treated, and what goesaround comes around, and that sort of thing.
     
  21. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    Obsidian, it is fine to start the story when he gets back after the summer, after rejecting her. We will be wondering why she acts a certain way to him, and we will figure they must have a history together. Then when you reveal that history, via backstory, we go, oh, that explains her behavior toward him.

    Also, I wanted to commet on having the character's love each other from the beginning of the story and stay in love. There is nothing wrong with this. It can be a great story.

    For example, they love each other from the very start of the story, but she finds out that he is her new boss. Company policy says they can't be together. She can't afford to lose her job. So now there is sexual tension. They want to be together but can't be.

    That's what you need in a romance. Sexual tension.
     
  22. HorusEye
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    HorusEye Contributing Member Contributor

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    And that's where the story snaps as far as I'm concerned.
    You could not possibly count the number of young girls who grew up with this skewed fantasy as their life's goal, thanks to stories like Cinderella.

    "If only I could become a runway model, I'd meet the man of my dreams and he would fall in love with me at first sight!"

    It's naive, stupid and shallow. It's easy to write a story that does total service to the readers this way, and I think that's why there's so many of those stories.
     
  23. stavious5
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    stavious5 New Member

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    Well as far as Cinderella is concerned, I think it is a deep story which critisizes the monarchy and its class systems, while also teaching to respect all people as equals, like what was mentioned. The love is so quickly realized primarily because it is not the crux of the story.
    But back to the original point, I think it is possible to start the story at ANY point. If I understood your first post correctly you are looking for history revealing devices. These can be very simple and overused such as flashback scenes, or deep long conversations where one character asks another about their past and all is revealed.
    However the best way is, in my opinion, just to know that history yourself, as an author. If you know your characters personalities and history then you should have a decent idea of how they will react in certain situations. You don't have to tell us she is nervous around him, we can see it if she doesn't make eye-contact or mumbles when she speaks to him. Their history can be slowly revealed in snippets of dialogue or small actions that seem natural to people at their state, and thus help us understan them better. This slow discovery of knowledge can make great rising action as information is constantly leaked to the readers rather than one big bang. It can also make a great plot twister at some point.
    If you know, then eventually it will come through in your writing. Good luck.
     

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