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  1. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    Romance Between MCs

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Antaus, Jul 1, 2020.

    Just wanted an opinion about a relationship between my main male and female lead in a story. The two characters come from different cultures and the female MC actually detests the male at first (Franklin and Wanda by name). Wanda even goes so far as to screw him over pretty badly and they get into a fist fight (she's a fighter). They end up calling a truce after Wanda is attacked and nearly killed. The only reason she survives is because of Franklin coming to her aid. Things calm down after that and Wanda ends up falling in love with him. The reason being that after all the crap she put him through Franklin still helped her. Despite the fact she tried to ruin his life and even considered plotting the man's death, he saved her when he very well could have left her for dead.

    This doesn't mean they get lovey dovey because Wanda is a high maintenance b*tch. They actually have sex for the first time after a massive argument when she blurts out that she hates Franklin because she loves him. It's a rather twisted situation for Wanda because both are true, she does love him, but also hates him for making her feel that way, which makes her extremely vulnerable emotionally. She also ends up pregnant and the two are married because of it. In her fictional culture bastard children are outright scandalous.

    This doesn't make things better by any measure of the word because Franklin ends up falling in love with her too, but they mix like oil and water. They love each other, but there are days they can't stand to be in the same room. The marriage spirals downward to the point they almost get a divorce in large part because of the cultural difference. However in the end they do manage to work things out. It's not all love and roses afterward because they still fight at times, argue, and storm off in a huff, but they learn to make it work.

    Instead of constant fighting and bickering I was thinking it eventually comes down to friction because they're both very strong willed, but it doesn't get out of hand. They do still get into fights at times, but after working things out, and in the context of a warrior culture it's how they deal, on occasion it even serves as foreplay. Mind you they're not trying to kill each other, just having a dust-up. What I aim to eventually do is have it where there's still some volatility in the relationship, but also a very real love for one another and they even learn to cover each others weaknesses and play off strengths in combat situations.

    Franklin: A pretty down to earth working guy type. Even tempered most of the time, also very intelligent, but typically only applies said intelligence when he has to. Otherwise he prefers to keep things simple and straight forward. Never trained in a specific combat style, but has a high degree of natural talent and a lot of first hand experience. Learned from the School of Hard Knocks and incorporates a little bit of everything into his combat style. Very dangerous in close quarters due to unorthodox fighting techniques. Not very good with magic.

    Wanda: Comes for a very wealthy royal family with a long and proud lineage that traces back over 2,000 years. Practically a poster child for the spoiled rich b*tch, save that she's got the brass to back up the attitude. The attitude is partly because of her upbringing and also a defensive mechanism to protect herself as her father became very distant and withdrawn after her mother died when she was around six years old. That's not to say that Wanda is without heart, but expressing herself isn't easy. Words don't come easily to her in regards to her own feelings, and because of her station it's hard to tell if someone is a friend to her or the power and influence her family wields. She is trained in a very ancient form of martial arts, but doesn't possess a natural talent for it, instead relying on form and technique in fights. She is however a power magic wielder and her lineage allows her access to magical studies and resources most others wouldn't have.
     
  2. Homer Potvin

    Homer Potvin We may just go where no-one's been.... Contributor

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    Opposites attract? Love and hate? Fuck or fight?

    Yep... sounds like a relationship.
     
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  3. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    It can be done, but as with everything else in writing, it's entirely dependent on the skill of the writer. I did that last year in a trilogy where two of the main characters fell in love and got married, which carried over to the next book in the story and ultimately, their daughter is going to be the main character in an upcoming continuation series. You just need to look at the characters and find out if it's realistic from their point of view. It doesn't matter what you want as an author, it matters what they would want as individuals.
     
  4. LazyBear

    LazyBear Senior Member

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    INFP and ESTJ would have the desired turbulent effect. A simple search result for combinations of Myers-Briggs personality types will give many real stories to give realism. If there's abuse involved, the woman may sleep with a knife under her bed and a prison mentality.
     
  5. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    There is no reason is shouldn't become a relationship but only if it enhances the story. Lots of writers through their two main characters together just because. But the romance adds nothing to the main plot and then begins taking the fore front in a novel that was not meant to be a romance.
    Secondly, show the relationship for what it is. If it's an unhealthy and turbulent relationship try not to present it as "ok" and "real love". The same way you often see creepy and abusive relationships depicted as love and over-protective partners. So, in the case of your characters, for whatever reason they do love each other but also accept the relationship is difficult and maybe unhealthy.

    However, it's all up to you I'm just not a fan of creating romance for the sake of it. If the intention of this book is a romance they be real about it.
     
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  6. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    If she was literally plotting or at least considering plotting the guy's actual death, for real, I'd find that a very hard sell that she'd fall in love with him. Depending on how badly she tried to screw him over - and you described it that she's literally trying to at the very least ruin his entire life, even if she does fall in love with him I'd find it highly unbelievable that he would fall in love with her.

    He could still save her - having a good moral compass and integrity doesn't mean you gotta fall in love though.

    Yes, opposites attract and there're plenty of dramas that centre around MCs who hated each other at first who then subsequently fall deeply in love, but I've never seen this set up where one of the characters would be plotting the other's death and then fall in love. No.

    You can write anything you like. Whether the reader would find it believable is another thing altogether. Would you fall in love with someone who was plotting your death or at the very least trying to ruin your life, even if she makes a 180 degree change overnight? Not to mention you actually mention she doesn't really change much - there's no change and no remorse.

    Go back to the drawing board.
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Another thing to ask: Is this a story ABOUT their relationship, or is there another focus to the plot?
     
  8. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    Their romance is a sub-plot that develops alongside the main.
     
  9. LitWhispers

    LitWhispers Member

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    The issue comes when you describe a toxic relationship as anything different than what it is, and you start romanticizing a harmful dynamic between two people. A lot of authors and writers fall victim to this unfortunate trope.

    This is a great point. If the relationship is an important part of the story (and it can definitely be a sub-plot) then that's fine, as long as you depict the real issues those relationships have and you make a point of its toxicity.

    Now while this is all true, as Mckk mentioned earlier, a person who falls in love with someone they were plotting to kill is not something that generally happens. If it does, and I only see this happening if the other party wasn't aware of it, there are still a ton of issues with this dynamic. If Wanda is saved by Franklin, and she somehow thanks him with the gift of her love, Franklin would not necessarily accept it, especially with the way that you've described him as intelligent and straight-forward. The first thing you'll want to avoid is romanticizing this relationship anyway.

    I hope this helps.
     
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  10. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    There are definitely abusers and abuse-ees in the world who tend to get together because they fit like puzzle pieces and neither one fits with 'normals'. For them it's either hook up with that kind of person or live a lonely life. They're shaped in early childhood by trauma, usually of a parental nature, that deforms them so they now see that kind of abuse as love. Hence why so many people tend to have a string of abusive relationships with the same kind of partner.

    The whole crew at the restaurant where I worked got together once to help a girl move secretly away from her psycho boyfriend who used to beat her. We all put a lot of money in and helped her move her stuff out fast etc, and a week later she called him and told him where she was living, and he moved in. Boy did we feel duped!!

    But if you're going to go with this kind of real-world example, you'd need to profile your characters with the right kinds of personalities. If you don't understand what makes some people abusive and others love them, then I'd leave it alone or start researching. But it would take a lot of time I think to understand it. Best if you've known people like that personally. Or watch a lot of the right kinds of movies. The abusers are often drunks and/or drug abusers as well as tending to get violently angry with little or no provocation (known officially as the cluster-B personality disorders), and the abuse-ees are codependent enablers who generally had to take care of a parent of the same nature. Neither are happy or well-adjusted people, though they might seem like it on the surface.

    There are also people in a similar situation but not as severe, without as much physical abuse and screaming. But they're basically the same kind of people just turned down a bit. If you want an actual death plot against one by the other and then they get together, unless he doesn't know about the death plot, they should be of this nature in some way. Some aren't as openly or aggressively violent, but might plot to poison a partner or kill them somehow, but it's clear they're crazy even if not violent.

    Unless her death plots were just fantasies. Maybe she's a dreamer who has crazy fantasies that she doesn't act on, though she might believe she's going to.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
  11. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    I'm well aware abusive relationships don't equate to true love, partly from personal experience with emotionally abusive relationships. The goal wasn't to present that as such either. They end up falling in love, having sex, Wanda gets pregnant and they end up marriage because of it. Mainly because her father (the king), wouldn't take no for an answer. In the beginning the relationship is abusive, toxic and that's exactly how I was going to represent it. Early on in the story Franklin gets so angry he even considers forcing a divorce regardless of the social fallout that would result because of the way he's treated by Wanda.

    What was I aiming for here is to show that the two truly do love each other and eventually get to the point of having a healthy relationship. This involves a lot of verbal screaming matches to get feelings out in the open, marriage counseling, and compromises on both sides. For instance Franklin acting more 'regal' while in public with Wanda, and Wanda not treating him like part of the household staff.

    The part about them fighting even after was really meant to reflect their warrior culture Wanda comes from and Franklin adapts to. Even though they still fight at times, it's really more like a rough and tumble sparring match. Neither is seriously injured, they both like the workout, and it's shown there's no physical or emotional victimization.
     
  12. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    You want it to start as a toxic, abusive relationship, and then become healthy? Not sure I can buy that. That's like the hooker with a heart of gold trope times 2. Possibly I could buy one person becoming healthy after such an abusive relationship/childhood, though it's usually more a matter of learning to cope better rather than getting over it completely. But both people? Doesn't sound likely.

    Unless (and I'm not being sarcastic) maybe there's some kind of magical therapy that can really get in and restructure their psyches at a deep level.
     
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  13. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    It's not about restructuring a psyche, it's about two people with little in terms of relationship experience forced into a situation where they're in one. It takes time, effort, and a fair bit of trial and error, but they eventually learn how to live together and what it means to give and take in a relationship, and occasionally standing your ground on something. Wanda isn't a cruel person, but because she's a princess she's always had to be guarded around people because of her station and people sucking up to her. Franklin on the other hand has no idea what it's like to be royalty or married to one.
     
  14. Xoic

    Xoic Prognosticator of Arcana Ridiculosum

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    Oh, well the way you described it here doesn't sound like a toxic, abusive relationship. More like 2 young and maybe spoiled people who have a lot of growing up to do. Maybe they're just petulant and used to getting their way and have to learn how to share and respect other people.

    ****
    I just went up and read the original post again. Wanda doesn't sound like she's just young and petulant and can grow out of it. She sounds like a pretty nasty person and he does seem like an enabler who puts up with it because he lacks self esteem.

    The only way I could see it working is if she's only like that because of her warrior culture (constantly shit-testing him), and he learns to be a warrior himself and to stand up to her. People like that are usually challenging you to see if you'll put up with it, and if you do they'll walk all over you. The only way to get in a decent relationship with someone like that is to learn to stand up and not take it anymore. So the main arc of the story would have to be his growth into a badass strong enough to hold his own and not take her shit anymore.

    And if they still fight at the end it's as equals, or maybe it's mostly playfighting/practice.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2020
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  15. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    I suppose it depends on your definition of toxic.
     
  16. Cephus

    Cephus Senior Member

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    No, it depends on your reader's definition of toxic.
     
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  17. LitWhispers

    LitWhispers Member

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    So, the thing is.
    Toxicity within a relationship, whether that be fictional or not, is not subjective to the viewer's interpretation. It rather has to do with the deep feelings of insecurities and harm that the relationship procures to its participants. If you, as an author, write such a story without depicting the correct emotional consequences of such a relationship (whether you, yourself, consider it toxic or not) then your readers will understand something completely different. The portrayal of toxic relationships as "goals," or even just as something that's normal in media, has caused young people to see their abuse as something normalized and even sometimes praised. One good example of that, and maybe the most famous nowadays, is the Joker / Harley Quinn relationship. The Joker has tried many times to even kill Harley, thinking of her as collateral within his mischievous plans, and yet she still fell right back into his arms -- or rather his lap. This was deemed toxic only too late, and that's why in most comics nowadays (and even movies (like Birds of Prey)) she is depicted as coming out of this toxicity.

    It's completely alright for your characters to be in a toxic relationship, they are allowed to have a struggle -- as long as this struggle is real and rightly depicted. Otherwise, this is the formula for bad interpretation of very real things that happen in our everyday lives, and it could even be harmful to your readers.

    Just my two cents. Again, I hope this is helpful.
     
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  18. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    I don't know, I would say most people have the same definition of the word "toxic" in regard to relationships. It's anything that's unhealthy. That goes from sever physical, sexual, mental and emotional abuse to dependency. But in most abusive relationships, there is a dominant and a submissive. The dominant one tends to seek out submissive partners. I've only witnessed one abusive relationship in my life and things never really changed. Over the years it died down a bit but they never fell madly in love, saw the error of their ways and changed even with all the psychological help the bloke got. Prison didn't change him, fines didn't change him, even getting off drink and drugs didn't change him. It's hard to write about abusive relationships if you do't understand them or have never been through one. But it's a real part of life. Abuse is abuse and shouldn't be romanticized and brushed off as "they were young and inexperienced." People don't tend to grow out of it. The relationship can always reverse as well. Look at the infamous couple Fred and Rose West. Fred was the dominant one and needed a passive accomplice. Until the tables turned and she went on a killing spree, killing two of their own daughters. She had him so emotional screwed up he was ready to take the blame for all the murders because she made him believe it was him. The problem is, what you intend others to see or take from something isn't always what they do.

    A novel was written in the 70's called "The Best Little Girl in the World". About a teenager struggling with an eating disorder and it was meant to show the dangers and the symptoms of a then quite hushed up illness. It was meant to alert people to this crippling disease. But it was banned in a few countries after a rise in eating disorders after it's publication. It was aimed a teens ad the vulnerable ones didn't get the message of "it's a bad thing" instead they took the message "it's a quick way to become thin and confident, get attention and control your life". The main character was ignored by her family, they barely noticed her because of her troublesome older sister. They noticed her when she looked like a skeleton on a feeding tube. The author can't always control how people choose to interpret their stories. They only have so much power in that area.
     
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  19. Antaus

    Antaus Active Member

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    In that case perhaps I did use the word toxic out of context. Wanda and Franklin don't get quite that bad. It's more about two people who do love each other thrown into a relationship with little to no warning. From there things explode, go haywire, and there are physical fights started by both of them when tempers flare, with consequences both emotional and otherwise. Starting off they're either at each others throats or making mad, passionate love. As mentioned in earlier posts they do eventually work things out, with help, and learn how to have a healthy and stable relationship. They still don't get along about half the time, but instead of fighting or cussing at each other they mostly just get huffy and storm off. In essence they curb themselves because neither wants to hurt the other.
     
  20. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Yep, you're nuts. :P Contributor

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