1. Ollpheist
    Offline

    Ollpheist Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1

    Romance in the Apocalypse, But How?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ollpheist, Aug 1, 2011.

    My current project is an apocalyptic piece that mainly deals with a man's struggle against himself. He has lived a life of blind faith that parrots everything the world has told him, but in the circumstances of the apocalypse, he is brought to a position of having his own faith based on experience. Of course, when I speak of "faith", I don't necessarily mean a religious faith (though that is a part of it).

    I've got a fairly decent sequence of events to move the story along, but where I'm struggling is in the main character's love interest. He rescues her from a group of attackers approximately two weeks after he has fallen into the pits of despair and begun to question everything in his life.

    What I can't figure out is why she would choose to love him, outside of the fact that he saved her. That seems like a weak reason for her to fall into a lasting romantic love built off of more than emotion. Sure, she would be grateful, and she might have a crush on him if she thinks he's attractive, but how do I develop a lasting love between a man who has--in all ways--hit rock bottom and a woman who has no other reason to love him other than pity for him?

    A feminine insight would be especially helpful, since I am somewhat dense when it comes to relationships. I know enough that I do not want this relationship I'm writing to be an "Edward and Bella" romance, based off of "puppy love". It needs to struggle and it should struggle, but how do I start from their position and make the love struggle and still come to life?
     
  2. Sundae
    Offline

    Sundae Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 24, 2011
    Messages:
    362
    Likes Received:
    23
    Location:
    Astral Weeks
    Need of survival - where both parties need to rely on each other to survive. By working together, sooner or later you learn to care for the other, respect the other, and eventually maybe love each other.

    She has her own demons that she fights and sees something in him that resonates with how she feels.

    False sense of security - Girl sees guy for what he presents on the surface (despair, sorrow, hurt) and thinks that there is no risk with this guy. He's too hurt to pay attention to her in a romantic way, but he's also security. She sticks with him because she feels safe and knows that he will not take advantage or attack her. Slowly, things begin to change.

    Sometime it's just plain attraction and no strings attached "relationship" where it's understood that they will both go their separate ways after a certain point. When that point comes, they're helplessly in love with each other. (This is probably the most cliche)

    But anyways, there are countless more scenarios. It really depends on what appeals to you and suits your characters best. Just know that deep emotions don't occur overnight, it takes time. Create a situation where they need to spend time with each other so that they can get to know each other better.

    Also they both don't need to be good guys. They can be enemies without knowing they are each other's enemies. He has the potential to hurt her more than anyone else and she has the potential to hurt him more than anyone else. Sort of like a survival pit - enemies can learn to respect each other to comes to a common goal.

    Just don't go the misunderstanding route. Pretty please. :p:
     
  3. Motley
    Offline

    Motley Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2010
    Messages:
    125
    Likes Received:
    20
    Location:
    USA
    To paraphrase Saint-Exupéry, it is the time you spend on a thing that gives it worth.

    If the woman and this man are forced to survive and act together, relying on each other, and become more comfortable with each other, she may notice sparks of the man he was before he sank into depression. A slow love instead of a flash spark of, 'Ooh, he's so hot."

    Perhaps he sees something in her that reminds him of happier times or a good relationship from his past and reawakens some hope. There has to be something attractive about the man for the woman to love him, not physical, but mental or emotional.

    The question that popped into my mind when reading your description was, "Why did he rescue her at all if he's in such a pit of despair?" He obviously still finds value in life. Perhaps he finds something else to value--a stray dog, birdsong, a random tattered scrap of paper with an intriguing quote on it, whatever-- that reignites his heart/mind/spirit, which, in turn, ignites her interest in him.

    I love post-apocalyptic stories. :)
     
  4. Ollpheist
    Offline

    Ollpheist Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    Thank you for the replies and suggestions. I do think that perhaps the "common ground" between them will help. He saves her because he killed a young, heavily disabled boy that he mistook for a zombie, and though he does not consciously make the decision to save her life as an act of atonement for his error, his religious upbringing (which he has been made to question) would cater to that on a subconscious level.

    As it turns out, she had a similar religious upbringing, and it pushed her away from God, rather than causing her to parrot the beliefs of her parents. However, she's never been able to get away from aspects of that upbringing, and both of them at that point are very bitter toward the idea of God as it was presented to them.

    The treatment by her captors has destroyed what little faith she had in humanity, and she learns to trust him off the basis that he seems like the only good person she's ever met. He, of course, does not view himself as a good person at all. She is stronger than him in that she still believes in her own potential, and I suppose it's that which allows her to be strong enough to carry him out of his despair and back to a place of recognizing the good in himself.

    As for creating a situation where they spend time with one another, I had originally planned on him sustaining various injuries during her rescue, and she takes it upon herself to treat him back to health. That, however, is cliche and I want to avoid it. Therefore, I believe it will be feasible enough that they are assigned by the leader of the group to pull a "recon" in an as-of-yet uncharted area (which leads to push the plot along further), and are cut off by a series of hazards.
     
  5. Seye
    Offline

    Seye Member

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2011
    Messages:
    74
    Likes Received:
    2
    You ask why, when your story could show me her falling in love...and him being saved, if that is the case.
     
  6. Ursus_Buckler
    Offline

    Ursus_Buckler Member

    Joined:
    Jun 26, 2011
    Messages:
    16
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    England
    What it could be is that he's basically the only guy on the planet that shows a level of decency that isn't trying to rape her brains out. Also the point made above about how they're forced to rely on each other continually will make the bond between them stronger; they will depend on each other. Furthermore, any stress that they may be feeling (and I daresay there might be, in an Apocalypse full of hostile people) could be alleviated through sex, which could help them to depend on each other in other ways. But of course the sex could also come through as another story point, with one character wanting love with another only wanting sex... just a suggestion, but it could add an extra dimension to the story and their relationship.
     
  7. Chivalrous Tart
    Offline

    Chivalrous Tart Member

    Joined:
    Jul 14, 2011
    Messages:
    49
    Likes Received:
    3
    Several questions for you Ollpheist. Would these characters fall in love if there weren't zombies eating all the potential romantic interests? I'm assuming they would in this post because the characters do seem relatively similar in their upbringing.

    They could fall in love with each other because they represent a return to normalcy for one another. They remind each other of people they knew in their church and town. In a relatively high stress situation it is a welcome relief to find some semblance of their old lives. That in itself is a reason for them to want to stay together.
     
  8. proserpine
    Offline

    proserpine Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    2
    All they need is something that they admire in the other. Falling in love is not always people set out to do, and sometimes you don't realize it until later. It's not as simple as "these characters are in love now"- you are going to have to work their evolving relationship organically into your plot. You will need to create events that show their relationship growing as they get to know one another better, or share experiences that bring them closer.

    I don't think your main character would only pity him- she would be thankful and grateful. Surely, in all their time spent together, she would find a glimmer of something that endears him to her. I think an act of uncharacteristic kindness would be an easy way to add depth to his character.

    Is there anyone else who could be a potential love interest for her? Perhaps she could explore that, but realize that she prefers the company of your main character.

    Good luck with your writing.
     
  9. AveryWhite
    Offline

    AveryWhite Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    UK
    Little by little. finding out new things about each other that bring them emotionaly closer.
    a few situations where they need the others help, though they might not realise it at the time (if they dont feel anything for one another, stubborn etc.)
    they see things in the other that touches them or makes them think in a new way, in a different perspective that gives them fresh eyes in the world.
    each of them bring something to the other and the beginings of the relationship that begins to form.

    and either throughh there similarities where they can see a bit of themselves within the other person that brings them closer and more understanding between the two - you could have that kind of connection/relationship beginning
    OR
    that they are complete opposites and what the other person is lacking the other person gives it. they learn to understand one another, even if what that person is like, is not natural to them themselves.
     
  10. Ollpheist
    Offline

    Ollpheist Member

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2011
    Messages:
    44
    Likes Received:
    1
    That is essentially the story: the main character coming to a solid faith in God, himself, and humanity, through the love of another. The apocalypse only serves as the backdrop.

    My question came out of trying to understand the feminine perspective of why a woman would love such a man. So far the answers and suggestions have been enlightening.

    While it's not to the extreme of every guy "trying to rape her brains out", she is fairly fed up with humanity for a variety of reasons. As far as sex goes, their upbringing contributes to their chastity until marriage; I'm cheating in a way since I don't write such scenes well, and thus the gap between the first book in the series and the second book is where their son is conceived and born.

    You bring up a good point that I was reading about in Les Edgerton's Hooked. Characters should desire a return to a form of normalcy, and that's something I've been ignoring in my writing. I should focus on that more. Thank you for the reminder.

    Again, another good suggestion I'll have to consider. Thank you.

    That might fit very well, given the real-life inspiration for the characters. They aren't exactly as similar as I've written them, and I have been looking for ways to introduce differences. Otherwise it turns into the cliche "puppy love", as I discovered in my first attempt to write their scenes. I regrettably had them met and "married" (such as it is in the apocalypse) in less than a week. Once I got that out of my system, I began to work in more conflict and time between their meeting (which ideally is the climax) and their marriage (part of the resolution).
     
  11. AveryWhite
    Offline

    AveryWhite Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2011
    Messages:
    170
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    UK
    perhaps be in a situation where they have to choose something or make a decision on what to do but they both decide on something different and disagree with each other.
    they fight but in the end come to a decision as they are together and can choose only one decision, or maybe forced into choosing who may be right (if running out of time) and they learn something about the other of value after the decision has been made and perhaps it was the right one, and so become closer.
     

Share This Page