1. Ziro
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    Ziro Member

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    Romance plots

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Ziro, Jun 20, 2009.

    Something, I've been curious about is how a convincing romantic plot or subplot can be made when the writer has had little to no personal experience on the subject.

    The story I'm currently working on does not have romance as the main focus, but still, there is a love triangle between the main character and two girls, as well as a few other romances here and there between other characters. I feel like I have some good ideas on how it's all going to progress, and I intend to follow through, but not having a whole lot of experience in love firsthand, I wonder if it may seem forced or unrealistic...
     
  2. Northern Phil
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    Northern Phil Active Member

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    One thing that you have to remember is that a good relationship with the opposite sex is just like any relationship you would have with your friends and family. You have good times, bad times, you talk, you laugh, you joke, you do things together (only a bit more physical). If your trying to write about two people that are romantically involved then think of them as best buddies instead of boyfriend/girlfriend and see where it goes from there.
     
  3. Dr. Doctor
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    Love isn't a kind of career you have (well, most of the time...). It's not something that takes a specialized mind to really get into. Everyone experiences love differently, nobody is ever perfect the first time. Just go with your natural instincts about this and try to make the characters as human and deep as you can, and it should go fine.

    I find watching movies sometimes helps, or reading books. Doesn't even really have to be a romance one; just anything that involves people interacting with their lovers/spouses/etc. Or, ask friends how their relationships are going, and make note of how they act when they're together. I wouldn't suggest...stalking them or anything though, that'd be creepy.
     
  4. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    Also, if you've read a lot of stories w/romance as a key theme, you should understand how a romance story builds up, how the characters respond to it, etc. So then you work off of that understanding.
     
  5. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    I'm also in the same boat as the OP, in that I have little real-life experience when writing about romance, but I am certain you should make sure that the romance isn't the stereotypical bickering couple - bickering is fine, but they shouldn't be just about that, because real romance is much more complicated.

    Also, if you want to have something solid to start off an advance, a shared hobby/goal/dream/loveof something is always good. It's a lot easier to make two people like each other if they are really interested in the same thing, no?

    And perhaps if you're really pressed, you can always ask someone more experienced in romance, interview them a bit, if they feel comfortable. It never hurts, and you can gain insight into how a relationship could work - or not.
     
  6. Maroon
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    Maroon Active Member

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    Don't let this hold you back. I doubt JK Rowling had much experience of wizards! ;)

    I'm joking, but seriously - keep a keen eye on the couples around you. Perhaps ones you know well, or just people passing you in the street. How do they engage with one another? Observation is your friend in any area where you lack personal experience.

    Good luck!

    M.
     
  7. ElephantsandEskimos
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    ElephantsandEskimos New Member

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    I completely agree with Northern Phil. In my opinion, a mistake that is sometimes made is making a romantic relationship seem like something completely different from any other relationship. While in some cases, this could be true, it seems to me that the most interesting relationships are those where the characters have much more going on between them than just burning passion or all-consuming love. Within attraction there can be also affection, curiosity, hesitance, humor, or even repulsion. If you remember this when writing romantic scenes, it could feel more natural.
    (Or it might not, but I hope that helped you at least a little!)
     
  8. TheFedoraPirate
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    QFT

    In RL when you bicker constantly with someone but find you have one small (but perhaps significant) thing in common, that's grounds for finding them tolerable.

    In Fantasy Land it's the basis for True Love.


    If there has to be a major romantic plot make it between people who at least like each other.
     
  9. cybrxkhan
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    ^Exactly. And even if they don't like each other at first, make sure there's something that will be able to hold them together in the end, something besides physical attractiveness. Again, bickering is acceptable in my opinion (sometimes I admit it is fun to see), but it can't be the only thing between the couple.
     
  10. TheFedoraPirate
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    Bickering can be fun I guess, so long as the 'wit' involved isn't as sharp as a cloud and subtle as a sledgehammer.

    Anywho, Limyaael has some rants on believable romance I think (probably) so that should be helpful if you google for those.
     
  11. Dr. Doctor
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    But then again, if one were going to be realistic...there are plenty of couples who don't have much to hold them together, and are only linked by physical attractiveness.
     
  12. cybrxkhan
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    ^Apparently, studies have shown that these couples tend not to last as long. I wish I could give you a link, but I don't have one on me. Basically, most of the studies said that couples who complimented each other on something besides physical attractiveness tended to have longer and better relationships.

    Of course, physical attractiveness is what could start the relationship, but I think to hold it out longer there should be something deeper going on between the couple.
     
  13. marina
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    marina Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it will come off forced if you're forcing the story. Flow with the story. Imagine if it was a friendship triangle between the MC and 2 best friends, each vying for "bestest best friend" position. Think of the potential discomfort between the MC's 2 best friends, the jealousy, the envy, maybe subtle or not so subtle, plus other problems that come up...but then replace the 2 best friends with 2 girls who are interested in the MC.
     
  14. xMissEnvyx
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    xMissEnvyx Member

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    Watch Degressi, you will get every scenario possible when it comes to dating :)

    But seriously, like what others have said, don't worry about it. Just go with what you think sounds good and let your fingertips do the talking.

    Do some observing in real life too. Go to the mall, or the park and watch how couples interact with one another. You don't have to have a lot of experience in love and relationships to write about them.

    One of my main characters in a story is a guy. Considering I have NO experience being a guy :) I thought it would be weird at first, but after I pushed that aside I had a lot of fun writing.
     
  15. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    My recommendation is to read manga. Depending on just how subtle you want romance to be shown between your characters, I can recommend several shounen (boy) manga that have romance placed very subtlely into the plot (that's the approach I tend to take), or if you want to write an actual full on romance novel, read a few shoujo (girl) manga. Shoujo manga is usually packed full of romance (although how realistic or unrealistic it is can be debated. I personally don't read shoujo for the reason that too much romance gags me).

    Although, I do agree that it's better to have the characters be buddies and let romance develop from there. Some of the best relationships start out as friendship.

    If you want to make a funny romantic story, love-hate or love-denial stories work really well. Fullmetal Alchemist has a love-denial relationship between the main character and his childhood friend, and they tend to bicker with each other most of the time.

    It doesn't take experience to write romance into a story. It just takes some observation and a little understanding of how people work.
     
  16. cybrxkhan
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    ^I keep getting the feeling that a lot of anime/manga has the bickering couple. Probably could just be my inexperience in watching those types of things. But I know that especially in anime/manga romantic comedy, the bickering is usually more acceptable, as it is commonly used for insults and slapstick, like when the girl punches the guy in the face or something.

    Of course, regardless, anime/manga always is a good source for learning the craft of storytelling, even with the frequent weirdness as I see it.
     
  17. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    Hmm, not every anime or manga has a bickering couple.

    Allen and Lenalee from D.Gray-man obviously love/care really deeply for each other and they never really bicker. There's only been about two times that I remember where Lenalee ever got mad at Allen.

    This might not be a great example for a hetero pairing, but it's a good one for love in general:

    Teito and Mikage from 07-GHOST never bickered either. Mikage always showed the he cared deeply for Teito and Teito also knew that Mikage cared about him and he felt the same way, which made it pretty dang tragic when Mikage was taken away from him.
     
  18. Brode
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    Don't think that they can't fight sometimes, though. A loving couple shouldn't be bickering all the time, but if they never disagree ever then they're not human.
     
  19. cybrxkhan
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    I know. But I just get the feeling its pretty much commonplace for romantic comedy, either that or the girl beating the crap out of the guy, which is close enough.
     
  20. TheFedoraPirate
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    Yeah, they even have a word for it. Those split-personality girls are called "Tsundere".
     
  21. Kirvee
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    Kirvee Contributing Member

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    @Fedora: I always wondered what the word was....lol.

    @Cybr: Yeah, it is a little commonplace, but that's what makes all of them realistic, like Brode said. Couples that never bicker at least a little bit have something else wrong with them.
     
  22. Rosetta Stoned
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    Oh, I have a question about this because I am kind of stuck in the same situation. Obviously I am not married, but a couple in my story is and has been for over 20 years, and they are going through some very tough times. They bicker quite often, but (hopefully) not to the point of it being annoying. This is acceptable given the circumstances, no? I mean they still love each other (it's not like a divorce thing), but everything just seems to be falling apart around them, so I thought it would be natural for them to fight due to all the stress of making ends meet.
     
  23. UnknownBearing
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    they are most definitely fighting.
     
  24. cybrxkhan
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    cybrxkhan Contributing Member

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    Couples fight all the time, even those that do love each other. The ones that never ever ever ever ever fight are kind of creepy, in a way.
     
  25. Operaghost
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    You may have little experience, but will have some form of experience, even if its just a crush on someone, which is always something you can build on. When i started writing my novel i had very little experince myself, but still managed to draw on past experience of feelings and even borrow events form people i know to create a believable situation, in fact in the interim time of starting my novel I ended up getting engaged and then the subsequent breakdown of this which caused my work to actually suffer so may have actually now picked up too much experience for my subject. The easiest way is to write it as if it is you in the situation, how woudl you personally act in a relationship, this way the thoughts and motivations of your characters can be more believable
     

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