Sunday, September 5, 2010

Romance Characters

Characters are key for romance novels and for subplots. Both the main character and the love interest have to have enough appeal and then believability that they will get together even if some readers would rather the character end up with someone else. The characters depend a little on whether the romance is a main focus of the plot or if it's just a subplot. Dual point of view is more common in romance stories, for example, but that can also be done in romance as a subplot. Characters give us readers the "aww" moment, for without them there would be no romance.

Main Character (hero or heroine)
(side characters can have romances but we'll focus on main ones this week)
The main character, the one the story is about, is the one that will be the POV character for a larger percentage of the story. Even with split POV novels, there is usually one that has more chapters than the other, at least in romance novels. Often times this charcter is female when talking about romance, but with subplots (and sometimes with full romance plot) the male can be a main character.

It's not easy to write the main character as fresh, unsterotypical and interesting for the reader to follow. The reader has to "like" the character enough to read the book but there has to be certain flaws to make the character realistic. Like any genre, there are some stereotypes that some people still like but others get tired of reading. The virgin main character is an example from romance novels.

How the character falls in love is another aspect because the meet one time and immediate infatuation may work for some readers, but those that are like me won't find that very believable. But we have a couple hundred pages to develop the love story and the first aspect is really interest to get the ball rolling.

Love Interest
This character is key for a romance plot/subplot. Would be very difficult to have a romance without the love interest, at least one that readers would want to see in a book. The love interest is just that, the person the character falls in love with in the story. Usually, if the MC is female, then the love interest is male. GLBT is considered an exception and separated from general lines, though as most will know those are the types I write.

The love interest is one fun aspect of a story, though it can be a struggle. Sometimes the person the author plans the MC to fall for doesn't work out and instead someone else ends up being the actual love interest. I haven't had this happen yet but have heard authors talk about it. Getting the right chemistry between characters is key and the love interest can't be a cardboard character either.

It takes the Pair
One doesn't work well without the other, the MC and Love Interest, for a romance story. Not including the exceptions, these two characters make up the start of a good romance subplot or main plot. Without them, it would just be another story.


Clarissa Draper said...

What a great post. You're right that the key to a great romance is character. I don't care if the MC's get together if I don't care about them. How true!


Dawn Embers said...

Clarissa - Why, thank you. I'm glad you enjoyed the post. :-)