As much as I enjoy delving into the heady depths of a good romance, one of my favorite parts of examining relationships is the dance of early affection between two characters. While not necessarily innocent (especially from a player’s point of view), it’s often full of a plain and refreshing simplicity:
They simply walked and talked: about the streets and shops, at first, but – as the steps wore on – about less random and more personal things. Such as the kinds of music they liked (she enjoyed an eclectic mix of dance hall, pop, and classical, while he favoured straight-up guitar rock, funk, and electronica), to what sorts of television programmes they preferred (she swooned over period masterpieces with the same affection he held for episodic science fiction, though they were both fans of detective dramas of any sort), to what foods they liked to eat (he was a lenient vegetarian, whereas she adored rare steak…but both of them found tandoori takeaway too scrumptious to ever pass up).
All along the way, Ross found himself becoming more and more curious about discovering what made pretty, perky, adorably sexy Amber Baelin tick, that he almost forgot how easily she could set his nerves on fire. Until they approached the heavy wooden door of the narrow two-storey row house she called home, that is, because it meant their time together was over.
I’ve occasionally spent a good deal of time with two would-be or could-be lovers breaking through the initial barriers of mutual ignorance. But, for this story, I felt the time would be better spent on the more pressing conflicts of self-doubt, past heartaches, and unexpected physical limitations. Still, it’s always fun to imagine how two characters can come together.
Someone might say that this is too much outright “telling” for a story. As for me, I like to think these smaller details are just icing on a bigger cake I’m trying to “show.”
How do you approach the blossoming of love in your stories? Or, do you think it’s just a bunch of rubbish, and bring on the bodycount?
Love is its own story, isn’t it? Therefore it must be told. And I happen to think you do it very well, both in a real-world setting and in fandom.
Thanks! That means a lot. 🙂
For me, the best part of a love story is that initial attraction, the ‘blossoming’ as you say. It’s so much fun to play around with the give and take, or the back and forth that often happens when two people begin to feel attracted to each other.
So, I usually develop these scenes fully and draw them out–perhaps too much. I definitely spend more time on the blossoming than the actual full-blown relationship.
Depending on the type of story you’re building, I think a big build-up can be warranted. It’s such a substantial part of a growing relationship, after all. Although, I must admit there’s a challenge to making the day-to-day exciting, too. (Marriage can do that to you!)
Thanks for commenting, Kate.