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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Wright

The Underdeveloped Romance

Imagine a story in which there are two characters who may or may not be attracted to each other since they meet, who have hardly any interaction, but by the last page, they profess their undying love for each other. This is what I like to call the underdeveloped romance.

Okay, two characters meet and may or may not like each other right away? It’s typical, but it happens in real life too, and has the potential for a great romantic twist. Professing undying love on the last page? With the exception of the fact that this romantic plot ends up with the shortest dénouement ever, this isn’t so bad.. I mean, they liked each other from the beginning; it’s about time they said something about it. But having hardly any interaction between meeting in the beginning and conceding their love in the end makes me wonder when these characters went from attraction to love and why. And where was the chemistry? If the two characters had little to no chemistry through the story, the confession of love in the end is jarring.

Imagine it in rea

l life terms: two people meet and are attracted to each other. Stuff happens (this is the plot during which they have little interaction). They meet again and are suddenly in each other’s arms confessing their love and making plans to marry (or something like that).

If you’re going to write a romantic story, or include a romantic sub plot, it would only make sense to make an effort to develop the romance so that it’s believable. And what better way to read about a growing romance than to see those two characters interact with each other?

Character interaction gives some reason why two characters may be friends, or enemies, for that matter. It helps develop character personalities, build tension, further the plot line, acquaint the reader with who the characters really are. Just as a person might develop a love for someone else through time spent with them or around them, so would a character. Make use of the events in the story for developing the romance, by, for example, throwing those two characters together in a way that makes them work together. A developing romance can also be shown through dialogue and appropriate dialogue tags. It doesn’t take much to make a statement go from a flat, frank statement, to an unsure, “puppy love” kind of comment. It’s a matter of a shy smile, a soft voice, or a complimentary word choice, for example. While having characters work together through the events of the story gives some background as to why they might like each other, using dialogue and dialogue tags in this way helps create chemistry between the characters.

Using these simple measures can make that underdeveloped romance turn into something readers are eagerly waiting to see come to fruition. Having characters go from attraction to undying love without much in the middle… is the stuff of fairy tales.

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