How to fall in love

Great love stories are not about a couple’s compatibility. Moving epics are not concerned with pleasant conversation and shared life goals that lead to amicable marriages. Awesome love stories are about struggle, jealousy, need, and the barriers that keep our hero and heroine from being content (and contentment is usually what ends a love story). I’ve read so many books, but in my historical fiction novel Why Aren’t You Sweet Like Me? there are two sides to the story, hoping that the audience will become enthralled with both main characters.

So in the novel, as writers, how do we help characters fall in love? When do they fall in love? At (the cliche) first sight? Or are some loves so overarching that they have no definable beginning? In The Hunger Games, and much of contemporary literature, the male falls in love first, proclaims it first, and must convince the object of his affection of his good intentions ***SPOILER ALERT***: don’t read the rest of this paragraph if you haven’t read the Hunger Games series! (hell, Peeta is in love with Katniss for the better part of three books before she tells him that her love is real).

Sometimes, it’s the forbidden nature or social constraints that makes a relationship enticing. Often, there is a dramatic event where the audience solidifies the relationship with the hero because he saves the heroine. I won’t even get in to Twilight because I feel like Edward loves Bella because Meyer tells him to, and for no other reason. I fell for Peeta’s selflessness and Edward’s devotion, but I’m kind of lukewarm to most girls in both cases…but that’s more about character development…

Can you tell that I’ve been reading a lot of YA lately? Research…I swear…

In most of Austen’s novels (she is the authority when it comes to books ending in marriage!) love is a journey filled with magnetism and obstacles and we may fall in love even before our heroine does.

So my question to you is what are the most engaging techniques that ensure that the audience falls for BOTH characters? What kind of character traits do we fall for? And who do we fall for too early? (Willoughby, perhaps?)

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4 thoughts on “How to fall in love

  1. I think allowing the heroine some heartache first (ie willoughby) also allows for some healthy contrast with the true hero…that moment whenu are rooting for her to figure it out & choose “mr. right” 🙂

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