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  1. Nightshade
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    Nightshade Senior Member

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    Turbulent Teen Romance

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Nightshade, May 13, 2011.

    Again I don't want to give away too much of my plot or character details but I just wanted to gather some opinions. The romance in my plot is important, it's not the main story however but it helps to develop one of the main characters.
    The main character of the whole story is female, her name is Ashley and she's fifteen. She has a lot to deal with and so I want her to fall in love with the male lead, Elias, but I want to do it gradually. When they first meet there's a lot of tension between them and believe me, it's not sexual. Ashley can see he's attractive but he's also arrogant, over confident, rude and egotistical so she's determined not to like him and she certainly doesn't trust him. It's Elias who falls in love with her and it softens him as a character, it opens Ashley up to trust him eventually by the end of the book but it's a very fragile trust still due to certain revelations about his motives for coming into her life which aren't good at all.

    So here's the question; When the romance is secondary to the main story but is also essential to the development of certain characters, and when one of the characters has impure motives before entering into any ideas of romance, would it be better to have a subtle journey to their final realisation of mutual love which develops gradually? Or would you, as readers, prefer to see something turbulent and passionate which has to overcome a number of hurdles and setbacks along the way?

    I should also point out that I'm not fifteen anymore (though I wish I were but without the whole puberty saga) so I would be interested to know if there are any younger members of the forum who could tell me what they think about their ideal love or the people they're attracted to. Do you go on looks or personality? Do you like the good guy or a bad boy? Would you want to be pampered and protected, seen as an equal, or have to prove yourself to the person you want to be with?

    Also do you think that love changes characters for the better or makes them worse? What have you noticed about people who fall in love, or what has changed you when you've fallen in love? Like, do you find yourself becoming more like the person you've got a crush on so that you mesh better or do you think you'd stay exactly the same as you were before you met them?
    And would you rather read a strong female character who has her own mind and opinions even after entering a relationship or do you like her to become a little more dependent on the person she's fallen for?

    EDIT: Just to add, I'm really interested in opinions, it might not change what I've written already or what I have in mind because obviously at the end of the day I have to do what's right for the story I want to write but it does help to have an insight into what others think or how they would behave in such a situation.
     
  2. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    I think he should try to act cooler around her; when he sees this isn't working he acts kinder and in turn becomes kinder. He grows on her as he's good looking and his personality's changing for the better.

    Just my view there
     
  3. Protar
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    Protar Active Member

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    Well I'm 15 so I guess I could be of some help. Love can do a lot of things to people. It can make people nervous (like with me.) or make them try and act cooler than they are which inevitably makes them look stupid. Also don't be afraid to make a quick jump them into a romantic relationship. During puberty crushes can develop at the drop of a hat so it's not so unrealistic if you do this. I think it's plausible for Elias to change as a person because of a crush.
     
  4. Bran
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    Bran Senior Member

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    there is a very very very very very very very very very very [inset more verys here] big difference between "loving someone" and "liking" someone
     
  5. Sang Hee
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    Sang Hee Contributing Member

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    Anything that brings in more drama is good. I'm actually having a similar situation in my book and love story can get really corny unless you give it a long hard thought on how to make it special.
     
  6. Nightshade
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    Nightshade Senior Member

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    Thanks for all the feedback guys :-D it really helps me to get into the right mindset for the characters. I had a lot of crushes when I was a teenager but I didn't really date anyone until I was about 17 and it wasn't in a school situation by that time so it's not that easy for me to predict how that would play out and make it realistic without your suggestions!
     
  7. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    I definitely think it should be slower, more resistant. Having it be too torrid or passionate has been done before and not very well, either. Having their relationship progress slowly makes it more real. :)
     
  8. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    The arrogant guy that the girl hates, only to find herself inexplicably falling in love with him, is a romance cliche. To avoid that cliche, I'd recommend that she really, genuinely dislike him while he's in his arrogant phase, and that he really, genuinely _changes_ before she likes him. And I'd recommend that like come before love.

    ChickenFreak
     
  9. AJSmith
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    AJSmith Senior Member

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    I agree with this. :)
     
  10. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    Completely seconded! :)
     
  11. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    As a huge (HUGE) fan of romance, I'm going to beg you to make it subtle. Leave the turbulence and drama to the romance novels! Making a love story, be it primary or underlying, into an act of slow realization is hard to pull off but the payout is huge.
     
  12. martial_wolf
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    martial_wolf Member

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    I have to agree with what's already been said here. Start with like after he's already made enough progress to not be absolutely repulsive to her. At that point she can kind of be interested in him as a person but not on a romantic level. It should develop from there.
     
  13. Youniquee
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    Youniquee (◡‿◡✿) Contributor

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    Sorry to hijack the thread, But this kinda happens in my story. :O If it's just physical attraction, is it still cliche?
    And I also like this suggestion as well, more realistic.
    I go for personality/looks. If your personality is ugly, your look automatically become ugly too, well to me :)
    Good guy who's not afraid to have a bit of fun. Like lets say, going to class late or not doing homework or something lol
    meh, a bit of both. But I wouldn't want to pampered so much that I don't even get any space to myself.
    I'm 15 too, and when I had a crush I didn't change for them. I guess they kinda changed me in a good way...more confident I guess.
    Love is a strong word. I don't think I've ever fallen in love before.
    I like independent girls in the relationship. I dislike it when a girl thinks she has to be with her boyfriend 24/7.
    My 2 pennies on that..
     
  14. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    A lot of women think they can change men, but in real life it rarely happens, so they like to transfer this idea in romances, instead of "genuine changes" orchestrated by feminine influences I would suggest that perhaps at the beginning of the story the two protagonists didn't know each other too well, the guy gave the impression to be arrogant in certain circumstances like a stressfull situation. In this scenario he doesn't really needs to change, just to work on the way others perceive him and his attitude.
     
  15. Nightshade
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    Nightshade Senior Member

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    Again thank you, this is all really helpful. So really I want to keep it subtle, the book isn't a romance book it just happens to have some romance in it so I don't want to make it so the 'love' is what makes their opinions of each other change.

    Elias is someone who, due to reasons I can't disclose, is very over-confident, arrogant, and pretty much used to being looked up to by a lot of the people around him. Ashley is the kind of girl who only has a couple of good friends and doesn't want to be hugely popular, she knows the difference between right and wrong but would like to remain invisible to the world at large so wouldn't stand up for someone else in trouble lest it tarnish her reputation. She suffers from acute paranoia, is artistic, and only really cares about 'her' world, so her friends and immediate family. She likes having a quiet and easy life. As soon as Elias comes into her life she's faced with the kind of person she can't stand, finds herself in a lot of dangerous situations and her peaceful life goes out the window. Elias is part of the cause for a lot of these situtations but he is the remedy to them at the end of the book as well. Ashley doesn't like or trust him at the start of the book, quite rightly so, though she's opening up to him more at the end of the book.

    I don't really want either character to change their personalities in an instant because they're in love, rather I'd like their respective actions and opinions to have enough influence over each character so that they do finally realise they have a mutual affection and see the better points about each others personalities.
     
  16. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    I would suggest having a read of Pride and Prejudice. Jane Austin mastered exactly what you are interested in doing with your characters.
    Mr Darcy was arrogant and proud due to his situation in life but also because no one ever showed him or said to him, "Hey buster, you are arrogant and proud and thats no good!" until he developed an unintended interest in a certain too-smart-for-her-own-good young woman who had a tendancy to say exactly what she thought.
    There was a lot of slow character development before love bloomed but I think having a good look at that story and how the author developed the characters (since there are a lot of similarities with your own, from what you said) would give you some great insights into how to go about doing that yourself.

    Also, as a young girl I usually had a crush on the guy I couldn't get or who wasn't interested in me (at least as far as I knew, although he probably had no idea I existed, lol.) Usually some popular football player or something. There is an unacountable desire in teenage girls to pine away. I almost think they enjoy it. I didn't realize it when I was a teenager, but looking back at how I tortured myself with desire (listening to love songs on the radio and wondering why my life wasn't like that song, or why it WAS and nobody wanted me, or if HE would only notice me...ah how like a romance novel it would be!) I honestly think I did enjoy it, on some level, anyway.
    I've also noticed that there is a tendancy to write teenagers as much more mature, level thinking people than they really are; not the hormone crazed, dont-know-my-own-mind, socially centered creatures they usually tend to be. I realize it more every time I read back over my journals from those years.
    disclaimer: not to say teenagers cannot be mature or level-minded, but with brains not finished developing and hormones short circuting the senses, it is much more difficult to be objective and much of ones decision making is self-centered and socially motivated and very VERY "in the moment," without a lot of forethought about how the decision will affect things later.
    *just my two cents on teenage minds :)
     
  17. Nightshade
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    Nightshade Senior Member

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    Again, thank you XD
    I have read pride and prejudice so I did want that kind of development, the only issue was as to whether it would be realistic in a modern setting with younger main characters. Lizzy was in her early twenties and Darcy was much older so their personalities had been defined by the worlds and societies in which they moved. A lot of Darcy's pride comes from his situation in life which is pretty different to my characters.
    Just as a side note, Colin Firth as Mr Darcy coming out of the lake in a wet shirt? Yes please.
     
  18. NikkiNoodle
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    NikkiNoodle Active Member

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    You are right, but I think it still applies. After all, much of what teenagers think about themselves is defined by what their peers think of them, isn't it? The cocky football player who is desired by all the cheerleaders, a demi-god to all his friends and the envy of the "un-popular" has been handed his near-divinity by the people around him, the same as Darcy's money and looks and situation have have done for him (this is aside from all his good virtues, i know). The social situation may be different in it's rules but the pressure and payoff are still there.

    Quote I love, "People generally do not change until the cost of staying the same outweighs the cost of changing."

    For Darcy, his love for Elizabeth and her ability to force himself to see his actions in another light was enough to make him change, flout conventions AND his formidable Aunt and marry her. Her love and opinion were worth more to him than what he was giving up by gaining them. So I guess what I meant by all this was that the slow changes you want to make in your MC's can be brought about in the same way Austen changed her characters even though their situation is different provided the right motivation is there. I hope that made sense? :)
     
  19. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    My guy in your story sounds exactly like my ex lol. Arrogant, aloof, selfish but bloody gorgeous. Instead of having your characters 'in love', you can have them feeling a lot for each other. That's what I experienced: I did't love him, or hate him, or anything, I just felt a lot of emotion for him, both good and bad. When it was good it was amazing, when it was bad there were times when I contemplated murdering him. Us teens 'fall in love' too easy, and most of the time its not real love. Also, you can't love someone based on just their good looks or their smashing personality. It's a mixture of both, and lots of other factors. Don't have her falling for him because of what he looks like, it's so overrated.

    As others have said, you can't go from despising someone to loving them like 'that', it just doesn't realistically happen. If you really hated them, like really really wished they didn't exist, you couldn't just fall in love with them. Think about love stories involving two 'enemies' falling in love. Most of the time they aren't actually enemies, they're just two people who have an issue with one or more aspects of the other's personality, for example, their arrogance or their lack of humour or their immaturity.

    People fall in love when they accept someone else's flaws, and appreciate them for the whole person that they are, flaws, mistakes and history included. Keep that in mind, good luck.
     
  20. Greendog
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    Greendog Member

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    I'm a 17 year old guy, and I'd say that most relationships I see are based on appearances. The intelligent guys/girls care about personality, but to be honest I've noticed that there aren't many couples anymore period. People are more into hooking up at parties than having meaningful relationships. You may want to take that into consideration.
     
  21. Laura Mae.
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    Laura Mae. Member

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    Do you mean everyone or just teenagers? I have to disagree, as I know many people who are teenagers and did not hook up at parties or anything like that, and they do have meaningful relationships, some of which have lasted several years and are serious. Maybe you just don't know anyone like this, but it seems as a bit extreme to assume people are more into hooking up, because that simply isn't true. Fair enough some people are, but there is a significant amount of teenagers who do actually want relationships, not just sex.
     
  22. Greendog
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    I'm just going by my experiences being in high school. All of my friends want meaningful relationships, but we're in the minority. There's this idea that relationships are a waste of time before college that many if not most people agree on. I take back what I said about intelligent people wanting relationships because it's often the most intelligent people who are the most cynical about high school dating.
     
  23. Ashrynn
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    Ashrynn Active Member

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    Hrmm...Will he be introduced as the male lead right off the bat?

    Would it be possible to have him join into the story a couple of chapters in and as the story goes along have him become a major character?
     
  24. Gigi_GNR
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    Gigi_GNR Guys, come on. WAFFLE-O. Contributor

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    As a high schooler myself, I've found that relationships are more casual and less serious. People seem to break up, make up and go out with a different person every week sometimes. :rolleyes:
     
  25. JPGriffin
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    JPGriffin Senior Member

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    Well put. I just choose to avoid relationships altogether, myself. High School's turbulent enough as is, so I keep away from relationships.

    I only ask that you keep relationships AWAY FROM ANY VAMPIRE ROLES. Sorry if I offend, but I can't stand how much publicity books like Twilight have gotten.

    As for how much influence the relationships will have with characters, it's all about how much the characters will let it affect them. As in the original example, if a character is dead-set against liking someone, then it'll be present, but just a nagging at the back of her head. I've seen and read a lot of results from relationships, both good and bad, but that's all up to the characters, again.

    Just a small note: I am, by no means, one to read any sort of romance novel. The nearest I've come to the genre is Romeo and Juliet for school. But, in almost every case, relationships will be present, just because it's inevitable. The question is: how present will it be? Romance novels choose the omnipresent path, making it the main plot, but in a modern setting, with things going on all around them, it will be subtle, especially if there's a task at hand. Put it in slower parts of the book, and it'll fit right in. If you find too much of it later on, then put in a few side plots, a few filler chapters.
     

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