1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Subtle romantic advances

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by doggiedude, Jul 2, 2016.

    I'm trying to portray one of my characters as some who frequently belabors his lost love while being ignorant to the fact that his assistant is hitting on him.
    I need some ideas for things she could do or say that would make it obvious to the reader while he stays oblivious.

    I posted an example of one of their interactions on the critique thread if anyone wants to take a look there.
    http://www.writingforums.org/threads/help-needed-from-romance-writers-about-470-words.147040/

    Thanks
     
  2. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    If someone compliment's another person's physical appearance, to the preferred gender (opposite sex for a straight person, or same for a gay person), then that's a pretty obvious and undeniable example of flirting. So maybe the assistant could say something like "I really like that new shirt, it shows your muscles really well," and the clueless guy could be like "Thanks, now that I'm lonely and missing my ex I have more time to spend at the gym, when I was with her I used to do romantic things like [blah, blah]."

    Or the assistant could ask him about things like philosophy and common interests, where it's obvious that she's hinting they're compatible, and then he could just talk about his lost love. Like if there's a video game that he loves, and she mentions she likes it too, he could ignore the spark and instead lament how he misses playing it with his ex.

    Does that fit what you were looking for?
     
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  3. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    The clothing idea probably wouldn't work since they are all in uniform all the time.
    I may be able to fit something into common interests but I hadn't given much thought about hobbies for these people. Every scene they participate in is always work related. (They're working in an exploratory pseudo-military style organization .. kinda like Star Fleet without the weapons. And they're still either on Earth or in orbit around it.)
     
  4. Sifunkle
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    Sifunkle Dis Member

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    Flirt volunteers for duties/activities alongside Lovelorn; Lovelorn assumes interest in duties/activities rather than himself.

    Flirt does various favours for Lovelorn (e.g. socially including him or trying to cheer him up); Lovelorn assumes Flirt is generally nice rather than specifically nice.

    Flirt is awkward/shy/self-conscious around Lovelorn; Lovelorn fails to notice that Flirt is not normally awkward/shy/self-conscious.

    Or thinking laterally, does Lovelorn have to be oblivious to it? If he's truly lovelorn, he might notice Flirt's intentions but just not be receptive to them - could lead to drama in how to rebuff Flirt (which could then lead to later drama when he regrets rebuffing Flirt - forgive me if I've incorrectly assumed they're supposed to end up together).
     
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  5. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    It would still work, just on a slightly different pattern. Military folk compliment/taunt each other on the fit and condition of their uniforms all the time.

    "How do you get your boots bloused so perfectly, sergeant? Perhaps you could show me sometime?"
     
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  6. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I could probably fit in having the Lieutenant volunteer extra duties easily enough. They don't get together, in the end, the way the story is written but that could change with the next round of editing. I already have two romantic subplots, I don't need a third. I just thought it would be funny to have this guy constantly dealing with his lost love issues while someone in front of him was trying to get his notice.
     
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  7. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Back to the clothing/uniform thing: you could still use that. Think along the lines of "you know, you're the only one I know who manages to look attractive in these uniforms" followed by her nudging up against him and a wink-wink. If someone didn't recognize that as a flirtation attempt, they'd probably be deep on the Aspergers/Autism spectrum (nothing at all wrong with that!!) or have an IQ of like 60.
     
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  8. Iain Aschendale
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    Iain Aschendale Contributed Member Contributor

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    Expanding my comment in the Workshop thread on this question.
     
  9. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    The uniform thing might work. I already have the character mentioning the need to order new sizes during the story. The whole population is starving.
     
  10. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    If everyone's starving, is there a way for her to sneak him extra food? In a manner that suggests she likes him?
     
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  11. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I adjusted a different scene using this idea. Thanks


    His secretary Lieutenant Lin welcomed him. “Good Morning, Admiral. Tea?”

    “Coffee please.”

    As per his normal routine, Che started by pulling up his schedule for the day. There was an early telemeeting with a physician team that was to review new exercise protocols they wanted to implement, an afternoon meeting with a vendor that supplied air filters for the current space stations, and piles of reports to go through. He had close to an hour before the first meeting. Che called up a report and read as Lieutenant Lin brought his coffee.

    “Cookie, sir?” She held a tray of homemade cookies. They were an unnatural shade of green.

    “Holiday cookies this time of year?”


    “Umm… No, sir. It’s the new grain.”

    The wide smile on her face told him he should accept the offer. Che shrugged and took a couple off the tray. “Anything interesting to report?”

    “Not so far. A rep from a robotics company called earlier and wanted to speak to you.”

    “What company?”

    Lieutenant Lin got that distracted look people took on when consulting their cerebrocom for a moment. “It was a Sailex rep.”

    “Hmm.” Che drank from his mug. “I know them from a few home AI systems. But I don’t recall seeing anything from them on Marine purchasing lists.”

    “I told him you would be in later and asked if he wanted to make an appointment. He couldn't commit to anything. He's going to call again later.”

    Companies were always sending people to him with new products. Che gave a nod. “That’s fine, pass his call through if he catches me while I’m not in a meeting. Has Captain Amant gotten in yet?”

    Lin lost her smile. “She’s in her office, sir.”

    “Please let her know I’ll expect her to join us for today’s meetings.”

    ”Yes, sir.” Lin turned and went back out to her desk, leaving the tray behind.

    (Captain Amant is his former girlfriend.)
     
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  12. FireWater
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    FireWater Active Member

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    Not bad, but you can still make it more obvious. In my opinion, it's a little too subtle at this point. When she offers the plate of cookies, can she walk up to him and touch his shoulder or something? Or compliment him in a direct way during that conversation?
    Of course, it depends on her personality too and what would be in character for her.
     
  13. Seraph751
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    Seraph751 If I fell down the rabbit hole...

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    Feed/make/bring them food. It can be subtle or obvious depending on the location.
     
  14. Caveriver
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    Caveriver Active Member

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    "Homemade cookies"... meaning, she made them herself for him? Small deatil changes the meaning Depending on society, "homemade" might simply mean, made in the kitchen downstairs, by the cook.

    Also, I don't see any launguage that suggests she ever looks at this guy... meaning, a woman in love sees her interest a certain way... Men don't often pick up on these signals, especially if his attention is elsewhere (work, another woman, etc). This works in your favor. The less he notices, the more obvious you can be with your hints. Let her notice small details about him, and talk about how those things make her feel. Just one would make it very clear what she is dealing with.
     

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