1. Artemus19
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    Artemus19 Member

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    To Romance, or not to Romance.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Artemus19, Apr 5, 2015.

    Okay, hello everyone! First off, I have a weird dilemma. I've been writing this Science Fiction "idea" for roughly a year now. It's something I'm going to stick with until it gets published but there's something I can't really get over with my Main Character and her supporting character (which is her male counterpart at the beginning of the story). Now, I might wish to point out that my MC is pretty madly in love with her SC, which makes it really difficult to determine the seriousness of the development between them. I would very much like to show affection between the two, like a couple in a relationship. However, I feel that if I bring this to light too soon it may set the stage for the story as being a romance, which isn't really what I had hoped for. So, I guess my question to you is, how could I show these two having feelings for each other whilst keeping the story dark and depressing? Keep in mind they exist as part of a military and participate in the same squad. Thank you for your feedback, much appreciated.
     
  2. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    Honestly, I think you can have them be dating from the get-go, then you don't need to focus on their romance developing into a relationship and instead keep it at a constant status for most of the story.

    If you don't want to do that, I think you can show it really slow and just try to avoid big jumps in status like big declarations of love. So you can have them start 'dating' ( not sure if they can actually date in the setting, but kind of acknowledge and act upon their mutual attraction ) but it won't be a huge plot point as opposed to a character point ? Not sure if I'm explaining this well ... aha. But if you think they're meant to be together, I wouldn't cut the romance. A story can absolutely have romance without being a romance story. Good luck ! Sorry for my scattered reply ...
     
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  3. Artemus19
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    Artemus19 Member

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    Thank you for your timely response! The one thing I tend to have going between these characters is mutual attraction, like you've said, and I was thinking of using it as a plot point because of a later tragedy. (I did mention they're both military, which is somewhat supposed to bring down my main character.) I just didn't know if some would be misled by the fact that even though it's a story arch, it has lots to do with the plot because of that interest. The male is a supporting character after all, but it feels like it could be fleshed out more with the idea of attraction between them.
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I agree with ZYX - if it's an established relationship, people won't think you're writing a romance. If you show them going through initial courtship stages, that might create the wrong impression, but if they're already together?

    Everyone knows romance dies once you're in something long term, right? :superwink:
     
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  5. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Lol.

    I concur, it won't read as a romance unless that's the biggest obstacle or experience going on. If they're caught up in a decent adventure, the sexual tension (or relationship, either way) is just another device for tension-building - so go for it. You can always tone it down afterwards, if it's distracting your readers from the main event.
     
  6. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah I would just write it the way you're thinking of writing it and see how it affects the story. Granted I'm not one to talk, as I've just now worked up the courage to start layering in my own romantic subplot (which I've kind of been avoiding - but avoiding it leaves holes in the plot, so here goes nothing...)

    Anyway, people fall in love in dark stories all the time. Actually that kind of helps remind people that everything isn't so dark ALL the time and provides a necessary source of hope. One of the better examples of this I remember was in the old "Left Behind" series (yes, religious fiction, but well-written religious action-fiction, so I'm using the example)

    Anyway, in that case the world was quite literally ending, and all of main cast (the "Tribulation Force") knew that
    A) They had exactly seven years until the end of the world and
    B) Life was going to get progressively worse until then, and there was a high likelihood that all of them would die brutal, painful deaths.

    One of the biggest subplots in that series was the romance between Trib Force members Buck Williams and Chloe Steele - and over the series they had to seriously grapple with the implications of falling in love, getting married, and later having a child in that world.

    Love can give you all sorts of fun stuff in a dark world - it's a motivator, but it also forces your characters to think seriously about just how dark their world is, and whether their relationship is worth the risk given everything else that's going on. If anything it can make your tone darker as the two lovers realize just how unlikely it is that they'll ever have a proper romance or a happy ending (which works even better if they actually do get a happy ending after all - but still works their fears come true)
     
  7. Some_Bloke
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    Some_Bloke Active Member

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    Have it already established from the get-to. The majority of romance stories are about characters meeting and falling in love, so if it's already established it's not a love story. It's a (I'm assuming) war story with a relationship in it.

    As they're at war you could further address their feelings to the reader by having the two be extra protective of each other. Maybe at some point one takes a bullet for the other?
     
  8. Commandante Lemming
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    Commandante Lemming Contributing Member Contributor

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    Call me crazy but I have to chime in against the "already established relationship" (which could be a good storyline) but I think the question of whether these two characters feel safe beginning a relationship ratchets up your darkness and tension.
     
  9. ToBeInspired
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    ToBeInspired Contributing Member

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    Or... how about sexual tension than later explanation of an established relationship through a flashback. Or using a flashback to establish sexual tension and then present tense explaining the relationship.

    It really depends on the character you wrote and how heavy you go with it, but it's not as if a bit of romance will detract from the novel. You just have to keep on that line and not look down.
     
  10. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Are they allowed to date/have a relationship if they're in the same squad? If that's not the case, an established relationship might not work, and sexual tension might complicate things. Kind of also depends on what their duties are.

    If dating another squad member is not against regulations, then I'd go for the established relationship, I think. Although, it's perfectly possible for you to develop the romance over the course of the story without the genre changing from sci-fi to romance. It's been done before (see e.g. Elizabeth Moon's Vatta series), and those books aren't labeled 'romance'.
     
  11. Void
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    Void Contributing Member

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    I've really got to say it, but, is this actually a problem that needs addressing? I'm not much of a fan of romance stories, and I am a fan of "dark and depressing" stories, but I can't say I'm bothered by the inclusion of a romance sub-plot. As long as the sub-plot doesn't get appallingly saccharine or begin to overwhelm the rest of the plot, I can't say this would be much of an issue.
     
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  12. Artemus19
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    Artemus19 Member

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    Ok so first off, thank all of you for your responses, it's helped a considerable amount having a few more opinions. I am now beginning to grasp the concept of the romance sub-plot, and quite frankly it's used in a really depressing way. Also, KaTrian pointed out that maybe it would be against a regulation to date a squad member. I have to say I thought about that one myself but thought it more tragic to make it more frowned upon in the setting. Now as far as the future for the two go, sure, they could be over-protective, and the serious implications of doing so could probably setup some tension. Whether they feel safe... well... that's for my Main to decide, but she doesn't ever feel all that safe in the first place. More of a passive type.
     
  13. online books
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    online books New Member

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    Have romance then break up them :D
     
  14. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    I think the key is to establish what your main conflict or story issue will be, right at the start. Then readers will know that the 'will they won't they' part of your story is only one facet of it. If you start with an established relationship, the potential breakdown of that relationship won't be the focus either.

    A good cinematic example is the recent part-animated film Avatar. We learn right at the start about the plot to exterminate a group of people. While it's obvious soon afterwards that a romance is also in the offing, we know that romance isn't the point of the story. It strengthens the story, in that it gives the characters something extra to fight for, but it could–in theory—have been left out, and the story would still have been worth telling.
     

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