Romantic Tension

“Work in progress.”  Story of my life.  This story and these characters are really working for me– as far as their personalities and roles go.  What I can’t seem to get down is the dynamic in my romance thread.  The general air around Z and Gage is supposed to be tense but loving, but let me tell you… that is NOT working easily.  I can’t seem to get across what I want to show in their pairing.

They bicker like an old married couple, and throw verbal jabs, and I can tell by the way their dialog comes out that they’re both probably mentally throttling one another.


So, my question to you all: “How do you overcome rebellious character types?  And how do you mold their interaction to your will?”

Current Word Count: 990

Days Until Deadline: 238 days



Filed under Writing

7 responses to “Romantic Tension

  1. Erin M

    Sometimes you just have to slap a character and tell him to get into line. He’s taking orders from you, by gum, not the other way around! Admittedly, sometimes my characters run rampant and are completely different from the way I’ve planned them to be. Sometimes you have to go with it, and then either accept where it goes, or change it in the editing stages.

    As for how to show they’re in love, maybe you could have them accidentally (or far-too-casually) say or do something really sweet/tender/concerned/”out of character” to show that underneath their constant arguing, there are some genuinely loving feelings squishing around. When I say “out of character” I mean it more like they wouldn’t want to show that side of themselves, rather than having them do something spontaneous and completely incompatible with who they are. Like, we catch them unaware and vulnerable. Or they reveal something in a perilous situation. Or . . . whatnot.

    Dunno, that might be completely vague and unhelpful.

    Good questions, though. I’ll keep thinking about them.

    • That second bit was actually more helpful than you might think. I didn’t consider using an “out of character” moment quite in that way. I guess when thinking “out of character”, I generally associate it with a bad way to wrap up a situation. Like… they’re stuck in this situation they can’t get out of, so so-and-so does something completely unlike himself and saves everyone.

      I blame my high school writing teacher for warping the way I write. Not shaping or molding… warping. I’ll definitely explore that option, though. See what I can come up with. =] Thanks!

  2. Found your blog from Unabridged Girl…

    As for overcoming rebellious characters… You don’t. The more you force them to do what YOU want, the more they won’t, and the end result won’t be pretty.

    Be the scribe (observe & report). See what *they* want. Explore. Your story might surprise you. :)

    Heather S. Ingemar

    • Thank you for the comment and the advice. =] Maybe now is a good time for some exploratory writing between the two… instead of continuing to cram them into a cage, with a bat… and… possibly a can of pepper spray. >_>

      I can’t say how grateful I am for the comments, both from you and Erin. It’s surprising how scarce options happen to be when you’re toiling by yourself. <3 I really appreciate it.

  3. What’s the deadline for?! Is this a deadline you set for yourself or a publisher’s deadline?

    Anyway, I have two things I want to say about this. First – maybe they’re not in love. Maybe your characters are telling you, as you’re writing them, that they’re not in love the way you thought they would be. Maybe they’re just people who care very very much about each other, best friends even, but with a difficult relationship.
    The second thing though – if you really see them as in love – then I have a few suggestions. As I understand it, the story involves a lot of tension, a lot of secrecy. There could be a sort of point somewhere in the middle of the story in which there’s a way that they’re stuck together, hiding against a wall, say, and sexual tension rises up between them. Another suggestion I have is the “friend” route. I don’t know what other characters are there, but if one is a mutual friend, another one working for the same cause and in the same line of work as Z, then he or she could throw out a comment about how one cares for the other, a comment that the character sees as obvious, but that totally blows Z over. Or Gage, for that matter.
    I think no matter what you choose, there will be a point in which their dynamic changes subtly, and then maybe you’ll be able to figure out the undercurrent that will be running through them.

    • THAT would be incredibly comical, I think. I can imagine, Periss, the grisled, middle-aged woman that heads the revolutionaries, trapped in a no-win situation, Z’s bitching about Gage not being there, and not being serious, and not caring about the city– and then Periss throws out a “you’re a stupid kid, he loves you, and you’re throwing a tantrum in the middle of a war” lecture… with intermittent death-cries and gun shots all around them. And Z’s all… “O_o Abuh….”

      …. More or less. >_> XD

      Edit:: And the deadline is self-imposed. I work better when I have a little stress, amplify that stress by making it public, and keep telling myself that people are judging me based on my progress. I may or may not need therapy.

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