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  1. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Writing a Romance Section

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by Killer300, May 5, 2011.

    I now must almost begin a story, I say almost because the story actually starts at the end but rewinds, with a romance triangle. The triangle is two guys fighting over this one girl. Yeah, the guy who rails against genericness now must attempt to write one of the most generic plot types of all time. Oh, the irony. Well, I'm hoping you guys have some tips for this section.

    Okay, let me describe each character to help describe the situation. The girl in question is a prodigy, who also has severe schizophrenia. The guys are actually attracted to her brains, not her body or her personality, the most. Well, that's a unique part at least, although I wonder if that's very plausible. The prodigy part refers to that despite her being 14, she is taking college level classes, can do math calculations in her head that most would need paper or an electronic device to do, and has learned to be fluent in other languages in mere months. Her severe schizophrena is seemingly her only problem in life. She looks... average I guess for a girl her age. She has issues with that, but whether they are founded in truth or not I'm not sure of yet. Her main problems are social, and they originate from her intelligence alienating her from most people, and her schizophrenia alienating many of the people not alienated by her intelligence. Her own parents don't understand her at all, to the point where they are more like strangers that happen to share the house with her. She met the two guys outside of the college she goes to. Her feelings towards them are mostly confusion, as to her they seem like they have lots of other girls that would better choices than her, so she doesn't get why they keep on trying to seduce her. She is frequently referred to as the local genius, and is viewed as a sort of weird phenonmen that happens to reside in the town to most people there.

    Alright, now we have the rich kid that I asked about for. He lives in an incredibly wealthy family, but does try to prove he is more than that. Now, he does go to an upstanding private school, but tries to be more down to earth otherwise. He thinks effort got his family where they were, and that is something he'll have to do too. Reality is quite the opposite with the origin of the wealth, but he doesn't know that yet. He constantly tries to prove with academic, athletic, and social accomplishments that he doesn't have to rely on his wealth for success. The social refers to being elected to Student Council, and trying to be a very likable guy. However, he is far too trusting of people, like his parents, and doesn't understand the plight of those in poverty very well. He chases the girl because of her immense intelligence, and because he wants to, "save," her from all the plights of the world. Yeah... he's kind of trying to be the knight in shining armor. He met her trying to get help for a test from the local genius.

    Now, we have a character that is dirt poor. His parents are both abusive, and he is used to having to live off the charity of others in order to survive. Despite all this, he still does okay in the public school he goes to, and more importantly, is incredibly charismatic. Now, this charm arose out of a need to get help from others in order to get by and also an emotional longing to replace his parents with more lovable peers. Because of this, it can come off as fake to some, which is one of the reasons he and the rich kid get off to a bad start. Also, everything he does appears to require no effort on his part, as if everything just fell into place for him. This is more from the want to conserve energy for particularly important tasks than laziness, however that doesn't keep the rich kid from thinking he's lazy. Now, he hates the rich kid because he thinks he's extremely naive, which isn't a particularly wrong observation however it causes issues at times. He at first sought out the girl for help in his quest to become a doctor, then fell for her from the experience. Smart is sexy for this particular guy. Now, if the rich kid wants to protect her, he wants to set her free. He wants to bring her to a place where she would have no restrictions on what she wanted out of life, whether that be from wealth or cultural restrictions. This also causes him to clash with the rich kid, who he frequently views as a chauvinistic pig.

    Okay, I hope this helps.
     
  2. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    Sounds interesting!

    In my opinion, her being smart isn't enough to write a firm love story. The best you'll get with that angle is something really weak that just won't hold. There are lots of smart girls out there that never get a boyfriend, better yet ones that have people going completely nuts over them just because they are smart.

    Could you give us a little more information about her? Maybe she just needs to be fleshed out more.
     
  3. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Well... again, both the guys have reasons to want her that go deeper than traditional reasons. Her brains are the center of that, instead of her body or actually even her personality. She's fascinating to them BECAUSE of said insane intelligence. Now, does this help them love her? Perhaps not, but it does sort of get the foot in the door if you will that opens them up to other possibilities.

    Now, there is one other element, for each guy, that is specific to them. The guy who wants to protect her sees her as a fragile thing that needs to be protected from the big bad world basically, while the guy who wants to free her sees her as being imprisoned by cultural values coming from people like the other guy and from people judging her soley by her academic ability. Both of these sets of beliefs are self-reinforcing because of the girl and the other guy. The girl is a nihilist, because her intelligence, in a sense, lets her see too much. She's obsessed with the concept of genetic determinism and studies massively in psycho-biology to back up those arguments. This leads to both believing further in their beliefs.

    For example, the protective guy sees this genetic determinism belief as a manifestation of her seeing the worse in people, and therefore believing people are irredeemable. He wants to take her away to a "castle" where she gets to see the best of humanity, and to have his love melt away her bitterness towards people. He is insanely rich, so would be able to do the former quite easily. He also sees the other guy as another manifestation of society trying to hurt her more, so hates his rival for that.

    The freeing guy, on the other hand, sees her genetic determinism because she has never been allowed to express free will, therefore believes we have none. So, if he takes her to a place where no one will restrict her, and where she won't be judged soley by her academic ability. He sees the other guy as a chauvinistic pig seeking to throw on even more shackles on her than she already has.

    Okay, this is kind of repeating in some ways, but this is just to show how it plays off the genetic determinism.

    Now, for more about the girl. Well, she looks... average? Not sure actually what she physically looks like. But, she has lots of weird habits, which is because her intelligence allows her to get away with stuff. She has schizophrenia, but never has to take medication because she is allowed to, "get away," with that sort of thing. Habits include she sits on her feet, like L in Deathnote for comparison, dyes her hair partially white causing a contrast with her black hair that attracts the guys in this story actually, and frequently talks to herself. The final is her schizophrenia, but she can control it enough for people to ignore that usually. She never combs her hair, never wears any kind of makeup or perfume, and over all, does nothing to affect how she looks really. This causes her to have a, "chaotic," look, however this really causes both the main guys to be attracted to her. Her beauty is really, "natural," in the sense that she does nothing to manufacture it all.

    Now, there's also the element of her being rather... resistent to their advances? Yeah, this is another case of them wanting something they can't have. She thinks they just want her as a showpiece to say basically, "Hey look, I'm progressive! I married a girl based on brains instead of looks!" This causes... interesting dynamics between them to say the least.

    So, does all this help?
     
  4. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    I think this is an interesting premise for a romantic love triangle type story. However, I think in order for it to work you have to really flesh out not only the main character herself, but the stories of her suitors, as well. Make sure you know just as much about them as you do about the main character, we have to know what makes them tick, too. You've described a little about their personal lives here, make sure you elaborate on that in the story - you may even want to experiment with shifting POVs from chapter to chapter. Also, I'd say that for more realism, neither of them should be above average looks-wise, either (think Jane Eyre).
    Good luck with this, I think the premise has promise (hehe I'm a poet and I don't know it :D)
     
  5. JimFlagg
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    JimFlagg Contributing Member

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    That's kinda messy. Couldn't you make her 17? 14 year olds, even if a genius are confused about things like love and romance. She just got through puberty. I know that it does not mean she is not having feelings for men at that age, I am just saying they are confusing at that age. If I was dedicated to this path of 14 then I would do my research. Talk to psychologists or if you have a friend who has a 14 year daughter, have her read the book and give you input.

    I am kind of a stick with what you know kind of person and I have never been a 14 year girl before so I would be lost trying to write something like this. I am not saying don't do it just use caution.
     
  6. Jessica_312
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    Jessica_312 Contributing Member

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    Actually, I agree with this, too. I would say to make her at least 15 or 16
     
  7. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Okay, she can be 16, along with the guys. As for shifting POVs, that is already going to be the case, and actually will probably be on a tri-chapter basis. First chapter her, second chapter rich kid, and third chapter poor kid.

    Also, remember that she starts the story not only uninterested in them, but kind of annoyed by them. Later on she sort of starts to give way, but it takes a REALLY long time. The guys are socially well off, how good looking they actually are I have no idea. Both are athletic, but both have things going against them too. The poor guy probably looks sickeningly wiry, and the rich kid looks TOO manufactured. You know, when someone is bathed in various things to, "prepare," them for something, which makes them look fake.

    Well, more about the suitors. Well, the rich kid besides the previous features described, also has an inherent insecurity. He's afraid he's going to become a lazy wealthy brat, so constantly forces himself to work far too much, to the point of health problems. He's a popular athlete, being a track runner, makes excellent grades, although no where near as high as our main girl, and finally gets elected to Student Council President constantly. His charisma though is the practiced type, which ends up coming off as fake, because he never lets anything naturally occur in a sense. To our main girl, she just sees him as a naive child who doesn't realize what life really takes.

    The first one meets her through asking her for help studying. This... doesn't really work out because her knowledge dwarfs his to such a level that it would be like a college professor attempting to educate a 3 year old in addition really. The subject in question is psychology, and her primary interest in psycho-biology, which makes her a master of both fields. He falls for her though just because she is such a unique spectacle to him. But, it's mainly, arguably chauvinisitic, want to protect her.

    The other suitor is a poor kid, and the more practical in a sense. He appears lazy, but this comes from only expending energy for any task when absolutely necessary, which causes issues later on. His charm is natural, while his physical abilities come from having to run to school every day, along with getting into street fights occasionally which actually makes him more physically capable of protecting her from that perspective. He meets her by saving her from a gang. He notices how the whole time she talked in the same, dull tone the entire time. He later studied with her, because of academic issues, and the same thing occurred. He saw someone imprisoned by expectations and cultural expectations of her. Both he and the previous suitor fell really hard because of her... natural beauty. In a traditional aesthetic sense, she would be a nightmare, but in a asymmetrical sense, she is beautiful. She also views him as naive, however she mainly hates his claims of wanting to... free her. Yeah, she doesn't really trust guys because of her social issues, and because her belief determinism causes issues for such relationships. To balance this out a little, she considers him to be at least aware that he is naive in comparison to her, and therefore tolerates him somewhat, like the other.

    Hope this all helps.
     
  8. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    I dunno, I still think that you're going to have to give them more to go off of if you want it to be a good, stable love story. I'm totally with you on the two suitors. I think you're spot on there now. But, gosh... I really don't want this to be insulting so please, please don't see it that way. She just feels very flat right now. She is one schizo storm away from a Mary Sue - which is okay, but you could do better. You could write a romantic section with what you've got right now, yes. I just don't think it will be as strong as it could be if you play with her end a little more.

    I'm glad you are changing her age. I think that is a good call. I was eeked by her age as well but didn't want to sound judgemental.
     
  9. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    The 14 thing came from this originally being more of a... weird friendship between the three? Basically, since it evolved out of another plot, there were weird detail problems.

    How is she a Mary Sue? I mean, for one thing I'm not totally sure how that would work in a romance story if the character actually pushes people away. So, do please explain that a little bit more.

    Well, more details on the flaws of our girl here. Okay, I did say she had a chaotic look, not to most people, it looks at best bizarre, and at worst repulsive. These two guys are just weird by comparison to everyone else in that respect.:) Now, she has other issues related to her schizophrenia, mainly the lack of social skills. Without her incredible intelligence, she would probably be in a mental hospital or at least be a lot more isolated by her parents. Her social skills are so incredibly lacking that it pushes most people away, including her own parents. She is always far too blunt with everything she says, something that most people don't realize that in some ways she can't help it. So, while she is incredibly intelligent with intellectual matters, she is virtually retarded, to put it bluntly, with social affairs. This has the effect of whenever she has an emotional issue, she really has no one to turn to but herself. This has led to depression, among other things.

    These two guys are willing to put up with all of this, but are probably the only people who are willing to do so. Therefore, our girl is highly suspicious of them to say the least. She is used to be treated like a sort of weird phenomenon that happened to reside in the town. So, when not only one but two guys are after her, she thinks they want her for a showpiece.
     
  10. Earlychop
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    Earlychop Member

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    Killer, have a quick read of Laurie Halse Andersons' Speak. Good insight into the prose and mind of a fourteen year old girl.
     
  11. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Wow, she isn't 14 anymore. She's 16 now, and besides that, she isn't exactly your average teenage girl, to say the least. She is actually easier for me to write currently, writing a normal teenage girl convincingly on my part would be harder than writing a sentient computer.
     
  12. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    I understand that. I think that a lot of people are just not comfortable with that age being used in a romantic way, which I get.

    I'm not saying she is one. Please don't think that! :) If not for the mental illness, though, she would be. Maybe it's personal preference but I think that if you are going to give a character something that she is, like, totally epic at (Super Brains of Total Genius!) you've got to give her something extremely bad. And you've done that, thus me stating that if not for that mental "storm", she would be a Mary Sue.

    What I'm trying to get at here, and forgive me if I'm saying it totally wrong, is that I think you should be careful. She's a genius and smarter than everyone. She's also unattractive, but attractive because of her attractiveness? I'd say either make her beautiful and risk the fires or make her ugly or plain. There's no harm in that, either. She could be described as either unattractive or plain, but maybe one of them notices how pretty her eyes really are? When you're in love with someone and seeing them for who they are, you normally find things about them that you think are attractive, even if other people wouldn't agree. I'd go more for that angle. And make her personally super strong. You're going to have to make that brash, tactless personality have some real silver lining to it for your story to stand.

    Have you considered making it to where the rich one actually has no real attraction to her? Maybe it is pure competition for him.

    Also, have you looked into Aspergers? You seem to be describing someone who suffers from that disorder pretty well.
     
  13. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Actually, I considered giving her Aspergers, but decided her social issues needed to come from a different source. She is similar, I agree, but she isn't exactly the same. She has theory of mind for example, which is important later on. More importantly, her auditory hallucinations actually play a huge role, because she can't conquer them through pure logic, unlike other parts. That's her real weakness, she's trying to fix herself through pure logic, because she figures her problems are purely genetic. While her mental illness is genetic, the reason it's so severe is not, as she'll find out.

    Her beauty, well, that's the thing, it's just very weird. The guys don't understand why they like her so much. I mean, I'm sure there are people that are repulsive to most but there is a minority that would find them incredibly attractive. On a basic level though, she would probably be plain. However, because she does nothing to, "groom," herself she probably ends up being slightly below average to most, while being above average to the two guys. That's supposed to be a comment on how much effort people put into, "appearances," that really amounts to nothing. But then, that's a pretty common theme throughout this I've noticed. The rich kid constantly puts tons of effort into being this upstanding community member in a sense, but it comes off as fake because he acts it.

    Now, one problem I do think might come up is she's a very REACTIVE character, which isn't a good thing usually for protagonists. But, she sort of has to be. Besides, I've always wanted to try to write a character like that, just to prove that it can be done I guess. Well, at least to the outside enviroment, on the other hand she constantly takes actions to balance out her own brain. She has to reconcile her incredible logical abilities with emotional issues that she realizes she has to deal with. However, she never learned how to do so, because she could push people away too easily. Her parents can't, her own intelligence alienates her from them so heavily that they are best strangers that happen to live in the same with her, and at worst, they are another set of people trying to help her that don't understand her well enough to do so. Her peers can't, they have even less understanding usually, and besides, they are insanely jealous of her, for obvious reasons.

    So, she turns to cold logic. Love doesn't fit into calculations, so isn't really factored in. Emotions are all explained away with chemical reactions, hence obsession with genetic determinism. This is also a heavy contrast with the guys, because the rich guy still believes in such high flung thing as values, while the poor guy while being a pragmatic, still believes we have free will. To her though, chance and genetics combined together to make it where emotions aren't a realm she should interact in. She has to learn that we all do, and that running away from it is just as childish and naive as the rich kid's high flung idealism.

    Well, the rich guy I want to show being a good guy at heart, but way too naive. This is a good contrast to her actually, because she suffers from being way too, "grounded," in a sense. The poor guy is in the middle, being a realist.
     
  14. Chachi Bobinks
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    Chachi Bobinks Senior Member

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    Well, when you put it that way.

    HAHA, thank you. I really appreciate you going so much more into detail. I really do like the sound of it all! It sounds like a genuinely interesting story and I like the sound of your characters, I really do. The more I read about it, the more I almost want to peg some sort of supernatural to her, too. She's a succubus! Run for the hills! :p

    I'm getting the feeling that you're doing a lot of things here to break the standards, above and beyond the experiment with a reactive character. If that's the case, then I understand and I think you're going to do well. Someone who is striving to break standards isn't likely to be the person who will let romantic faux pas sneak in. I think that if one of your common threads is the appearances thing, as long as you make this obvious, their attraction to her can probably be easily explained. Everyone is looking beyond covers, right?

    Have you thought up yet how the dialog would work out between either suitors? I think dialog will carry the most weight here. She doesn't seem like the kind that will dazzle someone and if she isn't in the relationship mindset, I would imagine that her brick wall would deter natural attraction. I would assume that it would all be based on interaction. Is that what you are planning?
     
  15. Killer300
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    Killer300 Active Member

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    Yeah, a lot of the story is kind of them slowly wearing her down. First, they only get her to listen to them maybe, and even then she'll usually say a few lines and then be off. Eventually, after what feels like an eternity, she grudgingly lets them talk with her a little bit more. And then, it kind of goes on like that, with a couple of big events that acclerate the process. What are they? I don't know yet. I do know though that they both have to save her, although that isn't as literal as you would think.

    As for experimenting, well, I'm always trying to do that. I normally hate romance, however, I figured out that for this story it's probably the best genre. Why? Well, it lets me explore a lot of character concepts I couldn't do as easily otherwise. If the, "goal," of the story in a sense is to get one of the three characters to fall in love with one of the other two, then that allows for a reactive character to exist. That's very difficult to pull off in other genres by comparison.

    Now, for the dialogue, each suitor has a unique approach. The rich kid is trying to appeal to the girl's fragile side, which does exist but is hidden underneath a defense wall of logic, which is quite powerful to say the least. He also attempts to beat her arguments of genetic determinism, but he doesn't do well at it, considering he doesn't really have the intellectual ability for it until much later.
    The poor guy, on the other hand, is trying to appeal to her rebellious side, and also tries to trick her into going the way he wants her to. Rather than directly confronting her, he just asks very, "inconvient," questions that cause her to question her own understanding of herself and society as a whole at times. He actually does have the intellectual ability to compete with her, but only because he knows people better, being the most experienced socially of the three. He's kind of manipulative, but has good intentions at heart. Now, she learns to at first be extra cold around him, but he just counters by probing at her emotionally in a way the other guy can't. However, the disadvantage of him having to scrounge for money most of the week, and knowing she thinks he's kind of,"threatening," in an emotional sense means he has an equally hard time as the other guy.
     

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