Write, Story

Daylight Writing #5: Love Interests

With respect to DC Comics.

I know it’s been a rough couple of months for literally everyone on the planet but thank you all for making it this far. We can all make it through this, we just must play it safe and keep our cool.

Anyway, onto today’s topic: love interests. Yes, I know I’m a few months late and it’s not valentine’s day anymore but bear with me.

A love interest is basically what it says on the tin, a romantic option for a character can have, and it’s not always an easy thing to do. See, a lot of people think romance in fiction involves a “will they, won’t they relationship” (see Castle as an example), or two people who just mesh perfectly together, usually after some high-flying adventures involving daring-do. And, of course, there’s the famous Batman and Catwoman example, with both pinning for the other, but separated by the bounds of the law.

Writing a love interest into your story is always a fair bit tricky, cause they have to be involved with the plot otherwise they have no reason to be there, and at the same time, you have to give them their own arc in order to give them their own agency in the story. But, at the same time, you also have to intertwine them with someone’s arc, either their lover’s or someone who directly rivals them for the lover’s affection, and the whole thing results in a tangle of webs and lines that makes a Picasso painting look comprehensible.

And, of course, there’s also the eternal question of: “Do I make this character solely to be the lover of this other character? Or make them their own?”

Sadly, there isn’t a real answer to this question. Sometimes it is that way, sometimes it isn’t. To make it even more confusing, even if you do make a character as a lover for this other character, there’s a chance that they just won’t click the way you wanted them to. And of course, there’s always the chance that the two characters will fall in love on their own, even if you didn’t even plan it that way.

Yeah, as you might have gathered, love interests are a weird thing to write about, and it’s not always clear if it’s the right call to make.

Well, in that case, let me give you some advice that I heard a long time ago: If it helps to add more hooks to the story, go ahead. Just be aware that much like real life, romances can be messy, and not always for the characters in the story.

Go into any fandom and there’s a 90% chance that you’ll find a shipping war going on. A shipping war is basically when people like this one pairing of characters X and Y vs. this pairing of X and Z, but the opposing side likes X and Z more than X and Y. The result ends up being a “shipping war” (shipping coming from relationship) where two sides fling all sorts of nasty words at each other. It’s rather messy, but hey, at least it shows that fans are passionate.