Sunday, June 3, 2012

Writing Tip #15

I'm participating in Camp Nanowrimo, which is the same as normal Nano, but less formally organized and such. Probably not coming near a 50,000 word novel, but I'm trying, at least. I just kind of fell on this particular idea I hold when I write, and I figured I'd blog about it instead of raising my word count.

Tip #15 - Keep love levels realistic.

Assuming you're not writing a romance story, love is something a lot of writers tend to avoid using as the main focus. We typically care more about how our hero's battle with the dragon progressed or how far the adventurers are from home than what was in the letters they sent home to their lovers.

Still, having a little love - even just a little attraction or a few sexual encounters - is important and realistic. Romance is a part of life. Very few of us go through life without ever falling for someone, liking someone they can't have, or making a mistake with their best friend.

When I wrote Among the People Lost, I didn't have a set plot in mind, and all the romance I put in really pushed it in a different direction than what I think I was going for. I think it worked out in the end, but someone reading it for the post apocalyptic setting might not get as much out of it.

If we look at works of major importance, regardless of setting, there's typically always at least a little romance present. It's what gives characters drive to defeat their foes, seek brutal revenge, or find their way home. The Lord of the Rings movies have a wedding after the day is saved, partly symbolizing the rebirth of happiness and peace after the war. I Am Legend (both book and movie) has a main character who frequently has flash backs to his wife and child, both of whom died years ago. Just to shift to video games for another kind of love, Drakengard's main character is a sadistic psychopath killing to avenge his parents and protect his sister.

Love of all kinds is a great way to make a point, especially where missed chances are concerned. Killing off your main character's love interest before he has an opportunity to tell her how he feels is the perfect way to ruin his life for a little while. It can really help make a point of the sacrifices involved in going off to save the world or being too lost in finding himself.

Like everything, I think it's all about balance. You'll have some characters who will abandon the quest to start a family, some who will fight side by side with their partners, and some who will never have any interest in any of your other characters. You'll have the over-protective and the tragically unrequited. You'll have romantic and platonic and fraternal. To some degree, though, you'll have it. 

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