How to Write Characters That Fall in Love (Just in time for Valentine’s Day)
Love is in the air
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and love is in the air! This is the one time of the year where your true feeling can be expressed or old feelings can be rekindled. But this is only true in fiction. In the real world, most of us are watching movies and waiting for the next day to come for the discounted candy.
Some would argue that writing two characters that genuinely fall in love is harder than actually falling in love. In some cases, they would be right. Love is one of the hardest emotions to portray because there are so many different versions of it. How far can you go without it being cliché? At what point does the love feel unbelievable? How do you write a feeling of euphoria if you, yourself, have never been in love?
Whether you’re writing the goriest of horror films or a Nicholas Sparks romance in its purist form, you need to have some type of emotional connection between two characters. Here are the most common love scenarios you can use for your next project.
Love at First Sight.
You have to be careful with this because it’s the most commonly used in fiction. There’s a risk that your plot will seem redundant and tired. Also, it’s very easy to stray off into the unbelievable zone. Your readers could start asking themselves, “Who does this?” Ironically, love at first sight is the most praise in the romance genre. Nothing is more romantic than knowing you love someone the moment you laid eyes on that person. A quick side note, if you chose for your characters to fall in love at first sight, please make sure that it’s because of more than their physical looks. Otherwise it can come off as lustful.
The Brick Wall.
This is perhaps the most heart wrenching and yet most relatable scenario for most love stories. Loving someone who doesn’t love you back or doesn’t even know you have these feelings for them. This can be tricky because there is zero room for error on the execution. You have to show why your main character is in love with the brick wall and why we should root for them to be together. The equilibrium of plot has to be perfect as well because your audience doesn’t want to watch your main character chasing an unattainable goal. You run the risk of them disliking the brick wall completely for not seeing what they have in front of them and then turning their backs on your main character for being so naïve. Having an innocent character is good, but make sure the character grows throughout the story.
The Forbidden Fruit.
This love isn’t supposed to grow. In fact, it isn’t supposed to exist in the first place. But somehow a ray of sunlight and a drop of water touched a seed that blossoms into a pretty exciting story. One of the most famous forbidden fruit stories is still around 400 years after its author’s death is Romeo and Juliet. The drama. The passion. The high stakes. Everything that was involved with this love story makes it unmatched love to this day. We as the readers find ourselves rooting to no end for the characters to be together because it’s human nature to want what we can’t have.
On the other hand, there could be a very good reason why the love is forbidden and going against it can make your characters very unlikable. I took this route in my novel The Color of Love and it proved to be most difficult, but the outcome made my characters, according to IndieReader.com, “flawed, realistic human beings with a complex back story and love problems to figure out.” So unless you want your character to be dislike, I would suggest making them likeable in other ways.
The Love Triangle.
This is method used a lot in YA fiction. The most famous that comes to mind is the Twilight series. Around that time there was only one thing mattered… if you were Team Edward or Team Jacob. I, myself, was a proud member of Team Jacob and dare anyone to try to convince me that anything else is better. But when executing the love triangle story; you have to take a few thing into account.
Why can’t the main character make a clear decision on which love interest they want to be with? What makes the main character so special to have two love interests when most of us can’t get one? What are the difference and similarities between the two love interests? And last, but most importantly, who does the main character chose who they chose in the end? You can have a lot of fun with this one and pull the strings of your readers hearts with each passing moment.
This is probably my most favorite to watch, read, and write about. Two people who are completely different falling in love in a natural way. One of my favorite examples of this is the movie When Harry Met Sally. A classic film that shows two polar opposites falling for each other over time. There was always something that’s stopping them from being together. Maybe they’re already in relationship. Distance could be a factor. Maybe they’re not even in the same time period. But despite all the odds that are stacked against them being together, there is a flicker of light that catches their attention. And that is the fuse for an explosive love story. It gives you the idea that you should never give up on love.
Writing a great love story can always be difficult simply because love is so subjective. Everyone feels it at a different time and in a different way. It’s better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, but when it comes to writing a love story for your characters it can be as confusing as finding that person in real life.
Not only can you use these scenarios to get you on the right path; but if you’re feeling really fancy you can combine them to make your story even more complex. A lot of stories do this anyway. The forbidden fruit, love triangle. Or the love at first sight for the brick wall. Once you get into it the opportunities are endless.
What’s your favorite love scenario? Which ones will you applying to your next project? Sound off in the comment section below and don’t forget to subscribe below!
Author: Ty Mitchell
I write books and help writers get through their literary journey. I am the author of The Color of Love. Each week, I send out a newsletter with free tips on writing and creativity. Follow me on Twitter @Ty_Mitchell or on Facebook @the-vpf.