This week: Building Romantic RelationshipsEdited by: Lonewolf
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Using romance as a plot device is the growing or weakening of a deep caring or sexual relationship between two or more characters. If done right, it can add that much needed fire to your story, or be your story entirely. Specialized romance such as love triangles, breakups, and consequently the element of romance itself, is exceedingly character-driven. So, who better to start with than our characters? You don’t need to create them for each other, but before you dive into romantic scenes there are a few things you need to keep in mind.
Anyone can fall in love, however, certain characters falling for one another can be less exciting or pleasant for the readers. When deciding who to pair up with whom, you need to consider a few things that could either stop you in your tracks, or blossom into something worth reading.
Extremely similar characters are quite boring in a relationship. In real life, people who are very much the same fall for each other all the time, but there really isn’t enough powerful chemistry to sustain that type of love for romance. If you fear the two you want to put together are too much alike, try to use their differences as stepping stones for their relationship and not the similarities. Complete opposites are equally boring and a lot more cliche. No matter how well you write them, it will turn into one of those blatant love/hate relationships that everyone uses. Characters dislike each other and have differences in the beginning, but the yin-yang relationship is really overdone and shows no real chemistry.
So what do you look for?
The characters must have points they don’t agree on, that spark conversations and allow them to grow to see the value of the other’s views. But they’ve got to have a core value say, their opinion on a war, power, or love to bind them together. When you feel like the two are right together, then you’ve got the start of a relationship. Once you’ve got your characters you need to analyze their personalities. Be warned if you want to really get to know your character(s), it could take a while. However, if you have a good sense of your character(s) already then you've done a lot of the hard part.When you’ve got them all figured out you need to decide what they are looking for in a relationship.
No two people love the same way, and the people in a relationship love each other in different ways. Are they looking for acceptance? Have they never had anyone care for them? Are they only looking for someone who thinks they’re handsome and sweet? This will cause conflict if the other character is in it for the long run and truly, cares about them. Do they want someone to comfort them when things go wrong? Is the main relationship a person-to-lean-on type of thing? Are they attracted to their partner’s body/face and nothing more? Lust vs. love is a good match, especially if the lustful character starts to honestly fall for the other character in the middle of it.
When you finally have your characters established in their relationship, it’s time to begin building. Remember, people don’t fall in love overnight—and if they do, it doesn’t last. Relationships are hard, and take work, whether fictional characters, or real life. If you take the time to really work on it, you'll be rewarded greatly in the end by all the time and effort you put into it.
Excerpt of: As the Sun Sets
As the sun set on the horizon, the mystical city of Atlantis was lit by a lovely red glow. Lucius stood on the high courtyard platform outside the main Palace throne room. Tonight was his last night in the city. So much had happened over the last few years, he did not regret one single bit of it. Well, maybe one thing.
It all started when he met her. She was the unobtainable women, but somehow, he had fallen in love with her. She had the most infectious smile and, his heart skipped a beat every time he looked into her bright blue eyes. She was the embodiment of beauty, with her long light brown hair and slender figure.
Rhianna was her name. She was a Princess of Atlantis, the eldest daughter of the King and Queen. The only people that were allowed to marry her were other members of Royalty. Although he was a Lord of Atlantis and sat on the Council of Elders, it was still forbidden. It was a crime that held a mighty cost, and he was about to find out that cost.
As he stood reflecting on the way things had happened, a gentle cough came from behind him.
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Excerpt of: The Keeper of the Word
The forest lay supine under the first thin snow blanket of the winter. The sky was clear and offered it’s jewels, the stars, for the admiration of men, beasts and spirits alike. This was not just any forest, it was the Great Wilderness. It reached from the foot of Cloud Mountain, the largest peak in the mountain range known as the Backbone, to the inland sea called Storm Waters by the humans for the many storms that seemed to continually froth it’s waters.
The Great Wilderness was home not only to beasts but to elves, fairies and dwarfs who worked the ground beneath it’s surface searching for gems and ore with which to work their craft. Humans were newcomers to this land and in spite of the occasional clash, the ancient races lived in peace with them.
In a small natural clearing, less than a mile from the foot of the great mountain, a light shone bright against the night sky. It was the campfire of Bleveod, Keeper of the Word of the Clan of the White Bear.
Bleveod sat on a fallen log, his arms folded, his legs stretched out before him and crossed at the ankles. He was staring into the fire, lost to the world around him. Letting his mind fly free, his eyes pierced the very heart of the flame, seeing each individual flicker of the fire.
He was “Mind Casting” as his father had taught him so many winters ago when he was a boy. In this manner Keepers, since the dawn of time, had freed their minds to travel out into the void and capture stories for the tribe.
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Excerpt of: The Catch
The old fashioned alarm clock started ringing at 5 am. Every stroke of the strikers against the dented bells pulled its owner further out of his deep slumber. Tee-boy slapped at the clock and stopped its awful chatter. With a groan, he sat up and swung his legs onto the floor of the cabin of his shrimp boat and stood up. He walked unsteadily 3 feet to the small propane stove and set a pot of water to boil. While the water was boiling he got dressed, pulled on his rubber boots and started his daily routine.
Every morning for the last 18 shrimp seasons since he had bought his own boat it was the same, go below deck turn on a 12-volt light bulb and check the oil in the old Detroit diesel and grease the power take off that turned the winch of the trawler. By the time he was finished checking his engine, the water was boiling and he poured it into the top of the old time drip coffee pot. While the coffee was dripping he then started the motor so it could warm up for it’s long day of pulling shrimp trawls though the murky water of the Louisiana coast.
Tee-boy poured his first cup of the strong Cajun brew and sat in old worn chair behind the wheel and turned on the vhf radio to listen to the morning gossip of the other shrimper’s anchored around him.
“ Oh Boudreaux, may you up man” he could hear one of the old timers calling to a friend.
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Excerpt of: Look to the Stars
He lies there, so quiet, so peaceful. One hand underneath his cheek, his dark locks brushing his forehead. When the weather is nice, he often comes out here to watch the stars. On nights like this, he stays out, resting in the cooling sand.
I watch him, sat on a rock that is near enough to observe how individual strands of his hair move with the breeze, yet far enough from him to ensure I won't disturb his slumber.
Why do you come here? I wonder, and it applies to us both. Why do I come here, when I have a duty to fulfill? Why does he sleep out in the open when he has the luxury of a secluded home?
His name is Zachary. He is an actor. From the billboards out in the city, he is well-known. I've watched a movie on a television once – not one of his – and I marveled at the larger than life twist on reality. Back when I was a human, all we had were stories, told by the fireplace. You had to do your own imagining of what the characters looked like.
The breeze picks up. It is getting cold. I wrap my wings around my body, and bury my nose in the soft feathers. Shall I get him a blanket? Shall I carry him indoors? No. The risk of him waking up in my arms is too great. He can never be allowed to see me. I shake my head to let my mind know I've made my decision and get to my feet before the temptation of touching him – just the once – becomes too much to resist.
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Excerpt of: The Beast at the Gate
Rayna began to question the wisdom of going for a drive so late at night, knowing that a storm was on its way. Though she strained her vision, Rayna could see only a few dozen feet ahead; beyond that was only deep shadow, which seemed poised to swallow her as the car approached it. She could hear the faint rumbling of thunder in the distance. Recently graduated from college, Rayna moved back with her mother in their home on Nightwind Drive.
Just a few more minutes, she told herself, and then I’ll turn back. Rayna sat stiff in her seat, her back as rigid as the apprehension she felt. Her petite frame was angular and well-toned. The bones of her face were prominent and were a striking testament to her mixed Native and African-American heritage. Her skin, drawn tight against her face, giving her an attractive sculpted look. Her cheekbones were high, and her jaw was sharp-edged beneath full lips that always seemed to be in a pout. Jet-black hair full of vibrant sheen rested at her shoulders in thick, unruly curls.
The soft-hued back-lighting from the dashboard cast a cool tint of indigo to her reddish-brown skin. For a car belonging to a twenty-two year old, its interior was uncommonly quiet, outside, the subdued hum of the motor. Music was distracting, and Rayna found she focused better in silence.
With her free hand, Rayna reached for her purse, which lay in the passenger seat, to get her mobile phone. After a brief rummage inside her purse, she realized she had been in such a rush to get out, she forgot to bring her phone. It’s still probably charging on the dresser in my room—right where I left it, she thought, mildly chiding herself for her absentmindedness. No matter, I won’t be gone long.
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Excerpt of Chapter 1: Sam
“So where you headed?”
The boy sat against the passenger door, nearly hugging it as if Adam were some sex depraved lunatic about to pounce. Though the kid's fear was no doubt genuine, Adam couldn't help but smile.
The kid shrugged at the question and Adam thought an actual verbal answer was unlikely. To his surprise, the kid glanced at him and mumbled, “Don't know. Just going.”
“Hmm.” Adam tried to size up the kid through the darkness of the pickup cab without appearing to be too attentive and scaring the kid even more. He wore a hoodie sweater with the hood pulled low over his head, hiding most of his face. His voice betrayed his age, as did his lean build and mannerisms. Adam guessed him to be no more than twenty or twenty-one. But there was the possibility he was a bit younger.
The boy hugged his pack to his chest and stared out the side window at the night beyond. Whenever the rare car passed, the oncoming headlights would splash across the boy's face, illuminating his eyes. They seemed distant, even sad.
“What's your name?” Adam asked, breaking the silence. When he'd stopped to give the kid a ride, Adam had introduced himself, but the kid hadn't offered his own name in return. And Adam was beginning to think he wasn't going to get it now.
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