1. Veltman

    Veltman Active Member

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    Romantic subplot - Are these characters incompatible?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Veltman, Jan 29, 2019.

    So I have been thinking about including a (very light and slow) romantic subplot to my sci-fi novel. However I worry that the characters are so different it wouldn't make any sense. (I also never wrote any, so general tips are welcome)

    Char 1: The novel's MC. He lived a sheltered life prior to the story. Wanted to be a pilot but his father pressured him into a safe life on Earth after his mother died in an accident. He pursues a few hobbies and lives in his father's estate, mostly alone as the father is busy in his military career.

    At the start of the plot, he's invited by an autocrat that rules a nation in Mars to pilot a ship and rescue an elite soldier that got lost in a disputed territory in Mars. The soldier is a lifelong protégé if his father. His kind heart and stubborn nature means he accepts to try to show his father what he's capable of.

    Char 2: The soldier that was described above. She was hand-picked by a secret military project along with many other genetically screened children at age 2 to be raised, trained and augmented by the military.

    One of the Colonels that trained the elite group is the MC's father. She's very cultured due to years of studying all kinds of things in the military, but with little knowledge of the what the world is like outside of it. At the start of the story, she's stranded in a war zone filled with mercenary troops, mining companies and warring city states, with no means of escaping alone.

    Naturally, the fact that these characters will spend a lot of time together, going through a lot of conflict, led me to think that it would be a good idea to develop a romantic subplot between them. However, the personality of the soldier would put her at odds with the careless happy go lucky MC? What do you think?
     
  2. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    Honestly, I think this is one of those things that comes down to execution. Sometimes clashing personalities can work. Other times they don't. Sometimes they work in the short term, but would fall apart if put together more permanently.
     
  3. Fallow

    Fallow Banned

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    The mismatched couple is nearly a cliche. The only thing necessary for romance is some small level of attraction or sympathy. Situation and opportunity take care of the rest.
     
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  4. cosmic lights

    cosmic lights Contributor Contributor

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    Opposites attract and there is a reason we see this in movies and books a lot. Because it adds to the conflict. It can also helps us deepen our characters and make them face things about themselves that they need too or that they wouldn't have if this person hadn't come into their life.
    Especially if that relationship makes one take a good look at themselves and address a weakness that then helps them over come their main conflict.
     
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  5. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    I was thinking the same thing, it's a cliche that they would get together.
     
  6. J.D. Ray

    J.D. Ray Member Supporter Contributor

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    Cliches are useful sometimes; don't throw something out just because it's cliche. On the other hand, it might be good to explore the idea of them having a loving friendship that always seems to the audience that they should be together romantically, but it just never happens. There are plenty of examples of this sort of thing, though not quite so few that it's become a cliche.
     
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  7. ddavidv

    ddavidv Senior Member

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    Yeah, what he said up above me.
    Remember the tv series "Moonlighting"? Polar opposite characters, Maddie and David. Lots of innuendo, rolled eyes and exasperation. That was for laughs but the same idea can work to make your two characters more human and appealing. They need never actually hook up or even kiss.
    It should be noted that in "Moonlighting" Maddie and David do finally sleep together--and the series died shortly thereafter. People watched it for the 'conflict', not the actual romance.
     
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  8. KaTrian

    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Contributor

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    I was reading this article earlier today. Maybe it would give you some food for thought as well?

    Chemistry in Romance

    Romance is not my genre of choice, so I know virtually nothing of its intricacies and the many rules and guidelines involved, but I do like romance as sub plot. While it may be a cliché your characters are so very opposites, at least to me that kind of dynamic can be a lot of fun to read. As long as it's not annoyingly bitchy (or 'sassy', as the article puts it). Give it a go, explore the chemistry between the characters, have fun with it.
     
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  9. making tracks

    making tracks Active Member

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    I think it's a romance you could make work if you wanted to, providing you are realistic with the clashes and tensions and what it is they love about each other.

    However, why is it you want to include the romance? Having a male and female MC together shouldn't automatically turn into a romantic love story. I've been re-watching old Doctor Who series recently and I think my favourite pairing is David Tennant / Catherine Tate as the Doctor and Donna, who have absolutely no romantic interest in each other but they have such a real and interesting friendship. Close siblings sometimes have a nice relationship too, but sometimes it feels like the characters are made brother and sister just so the author doesn't have to address the 'can men and women just be friends' thing. From my experiences we can. I'm not saying there necessarily shouldn't be a romantic relationship, but it should be there for the right reason.
     
  10. jannert

    jannert Retired Mod Supporter Contributor

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    If you want to go for a romantic relationship between them, by all means do. But don't force it. They need to be attracted to each other, and by more than just looks, etc.

    The best way to get that chemistry going is to have them care for each other. By this, I mean they care what happens to the other person, care how the other one feels. They try to mitigate any damage from outside, minimise any hurt they see happening to the other person. They listen to each other. They NOTICE each other. They form a bond, sometimes starting with a shared feeling about something going on around them. They both like something, or both don't like something, etc. But the main thing to establish chemistry is the noticing. They can surprise each other, because maybe they each thought they were inconspicuous ...and suddenly, somebody is noticing them.

    When they are together, even in a large group, they should be aware of each other. They may pretend to ignore each other, but they are not actually doing that. If one of them leaves the room, the other one will feel slightly bereft. They feel a lift when the other person arrives. Maybe even a bit of a jolt if they see the person when they didn't expect to.

    Maybe they catch themselves watching the other one when they should be doing something else instead. Maybe they can anticipate what the other one needs, in terms of something practical. I remember having this happen to me ...I would be working on something, he would hand the thing I needed to me at precisely the right moment, without me asking for it. That meant not only that he was aware of what I was doing, but was watching me. I found myself doing the same thing for him.

    They can also pick up on each other's moods.

    Anybody can look at somebody else and think they're 'attractive.' But real chemistry goes a lot deeper than that. And it has NOTHING to do with what either of them are like, in terms of their jobs or their station in life. It can happen between two people who haven't a hope of ever being together. (Which adds another dimension to the story.)
     
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  11. EBohio

    EBohio Banned

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    That's the bottom line. There should be a reason for them to become romantic and that is to drive the story. If it doesn't drive the story there is no need for it.
     
  12. making tracks

    making tracks Active Member

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    Yes - I quite like this scene from France Ha for the way it tries to explain that feeling of togetherness:

     
  13. DarkPen14

    DarkPen14 Florida Man in Training Contributor

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    Well, the someone-goes-to-save-someone-who-ends-up-becoming-their-love-interest theme is pretty overdone. But the girl's history as being taken by the military and done to... whatever they did, could end up being a nice bonding point between them if she ever finds out just how messed up that is.
     
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