QOTW: Romantic Interest

25 Mar

This week’s question is from Miranda, who asks:

How do you guys create a worthy romantic interest for your hero/heroine?

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Honestly? First and foremost, I try to envision a guy I could see myself being interested in. Otherwise I’d have a hard time relating to him. Then I consider what kind of guy would compliment my heroine. If she’s kind of frigid and has trust issues, more than likely he won’t. Admit it — it’d be boring as hell to have two MCs who are bitchy and cold. I’ve found that trying to piece together someone who will eventually help the main character is always a good tactic. If my MC is shy and mousy, I’d probably pair her with a guy who would instill in her a bit of self-confidence. They’ve got to be a good match in terms of personality because, as I said, two people who are continuously in a bad mood are no fun. Lately I’ve taken to stealing bits and pieces from friends’ personalities. My closest male friend gives the best hugs in the world, and that definitely wound up in my current WIP. Also the fact that he’s great at communicating his thoughts without a lot of words. They always say write what you know, so combining that with your image of what you feel your love interest needs to be seems to be pretty foolproof.

Sammy Bina

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Firstly, any romantic interest has to be central to the plot. You can’t have romantic interest just for the sake of romantic interest. However, I do like seeing it in the stories because usually romance challenges the Protag to grow in personal ways. Therefore, the romantic interest needs to provide some sort of conflict, in order to promote growth.

There’s a lot of different types of romances… there’s the ‘We hated each other at first but then grew to like each other’, ‘we didn’t consider each other romantic possibilities at all until later’, ‘we liked each other immediately but it took us forever to get together’, etc. There’s even the ‘we’ve been together for a while but are now being tested to see if our relationship can survive.’ Each of these scenarios provides opportunities for conflict.

Secondly, there has to be CHEMISTRY!!! Chemistry arises from (you guessed it) conflict. We already did a QOTW about that here.

Now, as for that word ‘worthy’… I’m not sure what you mean in this particular situation, but I definitely believe that love interests should be on the same ‘level’ as the MC. They need to be strong enough to offer something to the other person. You’d never be with someone who couldn’t provide something for you, whether it’s comfort or understanding or even financial assistance. Relationships are about give and take. The romantic interest needs to have something to give.

Savannah Foley

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Like Sammy, I first try to think of a guy I might be attracted to–and not just in a physical sense. Looks usually play a really minor role in the process of creating a love interest. While I do consider how the love interest might complement my heroine–what traits they might bring out in her, for better or worse–once I have a vague idea of the character, I run with it.

I let the love interest become their own person, with their own history and wants/goals outside of my heroine’s life. When I know what the love interest wants (um, not in the romantic sense, but more in the sense of what they want from LIFE, what they are trying to accomplish, what they fear most…), then I see how that impacts their relationship with the heroine. Sometimes that means butting heads all the time, sometimes that means an instant, close connection. So, long story short, I think you write a convincing love interest best when the love interest is an actual person–when they’re not only defined by their relationship with the heroine. There isn’t any formula to it.

Sarah J. Maas

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I think about couples as, well, a couple. They’ve got to spark in some way, and while not every couple I write is going to explode with some kind of mad passion for one another, they need to stir up something in each other. They’ve got to complement one another, push one another, support one another.

I try not to just think about this one-sided; the love interest tends to turn out a little shallow sometimes that way. I keep in mind that I’m not “making him for her.” He’s not supposed to be some perfect guy who provides everything she needs. He’s going to need things from her, as well. I write him to be his own person, first.

And yes, sometimes I draw from characteristics I find attractive in real life :P. But actually not that much, because my protagonists ultimately aren’t me, and they’ve got different likes and dislikes. Plus, wouldn’t it be boring if all your books had basically the same love interest–the perfect version of the guy the writer wants to be with?

The Writer on SUBS! 😀

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Got any pointers of your own to share on creating a hero/heroine’s romantic interest? Share them in the comments!

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4 Responses to “QOTW: Romantic Interest”

  1. Rowenna March 25, 2011 at 9:14 AM #

    Awesome post–I also have a hard time, for some odd reason, of imagining my MC’s love interest without some “real picture” of a person in my head. Oddly, I usually don’t have as clear a picture of the MC as I do of the person he or she has an interest in. So true that thinking about how they complement one another and challenge one another is vital from the beginning–so that the love story has the texture and conflict it needs.

  2. Kat Zhang March 25, 2011 at 1:11 PM #

    Lol, Billy. I like how I’m the only one with a tag line 😛

    • Biljana March 25, 2011 at 9:58 PM #

      Forgive me, it was 3am!

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