1. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Writing my characters as single all the time

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Uberwatch, Feb 27, 2014.

    Is this a problem?

    Every story I have written so far, my characters whether male or female don't even have a romantic relationship with anyone nor are they married. They tend to be single and not interested in love at all. I often avoid writing romance in my stories because it's something I don't have real-life experience in but if I do write in some romance, it tends to be cliche.

    So I guess the real question is, is a romance necessary? Many books and movies always seems to put in a love interest for the MC but most of the time, it's not essential to the plot. It does develop the main character but other than that, unless the story is centered on a romantic relationship, a love interest is sort of useless.

    What do you think WF? Is it written into a plot to attach some readers? Is it a bit of a problem if I consistently avoid romance in anything I write?
     
  2. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    If it's not conducive to the theme of your story, I don't see why your main character(s) have to have a love interest. It might be a distraction.

    However, you will need to include supporting characters who are married or otherwise involved, because that's how the world is. And those relationships will affect how available they are to help your MC attain his/her goal.

    Assuming, of course, that you're not writing a dystopian futuristic novel where science has eliminated sex.
     
  3. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Not necessarily. What sort of stories are you writing?
    You're right that the love interest or desire for a love interest is a big part of developing a character, and I wouldn't categorize that as useless. But, yes, in come cases, it could come off as gratuitous or tangential and distracting if the story is very plot-driven. It's so often included because the need for love and the desire to love and be loved is almost universal. Sometimes there is a lack of or rejection of this desire, which would need to be explained (usually by some sort of past trauma, sometimes by a character's maybe being on the autism spectrum or having some other condition.) There's also the related but not identical issue of sexual desire, which again is a biologically driven need and therefore almost universal. The lack of this desire could be explained by either some medical condition or the person determining that he or she is asexual.

    A large part of character development is often achieved through showing the character's interactions with other characters. A love interest provides an opportunity for deep interaction, and can therefore be very effective in portraying a lot about a character. This is not to say, however, that it must always occur in every story.
     
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  4. KatieValino
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    KatieValino Member

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    Why not take what you do have experience in and incorporate that into your novel? You say you do not have much experience romantically, why not use that as a basis for why your character does not. You could even make the reason a morally based allegory as to how society is too reliant on notions of romance in their lives and creative arts. You can do whatever you wish, and if you want it to be realistic, put a piece of yourself in there and your reasoning. Unless it is too personal.....but even so, we are artists and we bleed for our masterpieces :)
     
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  5. Bryan Romer
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    Bryan Romer Contributing Member Contributor

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    None of my characters are are married or ever get married, and I'm happy for them to be that way. Marriage and romance only matters if the readers are led to expect it by the nature of the story or the situations you create.
     
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  6. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    It's so annoying to see that formulaic rescued and/or guy gets gal in every movie and TV plot. That's what's nice about books, plenty of non-formula writing. So many movies don't need it, but you'd think it had to be there.

    Even with the Hunger Games, in the book the two guys may want Katness, but in the movie so far they've made what was a small part of the story into the focus. Yes Peeta's crush on Katness is significant, but the story is about survival and trust, not about a coming of age love story.
     
  7. peachalulu
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    peachalulu Contributing Member Reviewer Contributor

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    Nothing worse than a forced romance or romantic entanglements to distract from the real story - so I don't care if an
    author skips it.

    I remember getting annoyed during Proof of Life ( that Meg Ryan movie ) when they just had to show some
    romantic chemistry between her and Russell Crowe. Seemed a juvenile attempt at conflict and in a way exposed
    a lack of confidence in the meat of story. Like they believed nobody would still still for a movie simply about a woman
    trying to save her husband.

    I never feel the need to put a romance into my story, it either feels right or doesn't. Focus on friendships or relationships between characters in general, that's all people want anyway. Take for example Steel Magnolias, great chic flick but not
    a lot of romance - mainly it's just about their friendships.
     
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  8. MrReliable3599
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    MrReliable3599 Member

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    The existence of a happy marriage is not entertaining and probably not interesting to anyone other than the spouses (don't get me wrong - I believe the destruction of the marriage/child rearing doctrine in this country has caused severe societal damage) Unless the marriage is important for the plot, there's no compelling reason to force it into a story. There are lots of mundane things people do every day that don't show up in novels, TV, or movies. You don't have to add it just to meet some definition of "reality."

    If you look at a Breaking Bad story line marriage was central to the plot. For Batman or the Untouchables or Wonder Woman, it would be corny for the main character to come home at night and be greeted by a spouse with a cheery, "How was your day dear?"
     
  9. Uberwatch
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    Uberwatch Active Member

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    Pretty much I write science fiction but my current one is focused on a female protagonist. Nothing in the plot (I can
    t go into details because I want to keep this story secret) needs romance but the protagonist is often with a male supporting character which sort of creates some romantic tension without any talk of it nor will they kiss/make love.
     
  10. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I would think that it's probably not a problem. (It's hard to say without actually reading it.) There are some people who think that you always need to have a sex scene, but I do not agree with this at all. I once read a memoir that was about a woman who was adopting a child from another country. There was a scene in there where she talked about having sex with her husband while they were in this other country. It seemed really incongruous with the rest of the story she was telling, and I kind of cringed while reading it. I couldn't help but think that an editor or someone told her she needed to have a sex scene and put one in.

    If it's really gratuitous, and doesn't flow naturally from the characters and the story, I think it will detract from, rather than enhance your story.
     
  11. Tesoro
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    Tesoro Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see a problem, really... It depends on what kind of story you write, but there are definitely books where the characters are not in a romantic relationship.
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Romance is certainly not necessary, at least as far as I'm concerned as a reader. I can't speak to what agents and publishers demand, but I know that I've read plenty of books with single protagonists.

    Now, relationships are usually necessary--friends, enemies, colleagues, and so on. But IMO those relationships don't have to include a romantic relationship.

    If at some point you decide that you want to start having characters who are in couples, a possible way to start could be to have a married or romantic couple as supporting players rather than the stars, seen by your protagonist. You could get the experience of writing scenes with a couple, but you don't have to follow them home. Eventually, you might start to feel mor comfortable with writing that kind of relationship.
     

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