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Old 01-23-2013, 05:24 AM   #1
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What makes you fall in love with a LI?

So it's always been a goal of mine to write a loveable Love-Interest (pun completely intended). I've dreamed about writing a Theodore Lawerence (Little Women) or a Rudy Steiner (The Book Thief) who actually get the RIGHT girl in the end.

Anyways, what makes you fall in love with a fictional character?

I'm trying to think what Laurie and Rudy had in common. I guess it was just their spunk. They were funny and full of life. They weren't perfect or suave, but real young men.

Anyways, thoughts?
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Old 01-23-2013, 05:38 AM   #2
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The most important thing is "character first, love interest second." This person should have his/her own personality, goals, problems, and role in the story.

If the love interest's only purpose is to look pretty, brood about stuff, and tell the protagonist that he believes in her, then I'm not interested.

It also helps if they're funny. And not overprotective.

Good examples are Prince Kai from Cinder and Eldric from Chime.
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Old 01-23-2013, 06:21 AM   #3
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A fully realized character with flaws and strengths. I tend to like the more flawed loved interests -- maybe even a guy with more flaws than anything else -- to me, it makes things more interesting. I don't like a Yes Man or a Ken Doll. But I also hate, hate, hate it when the LI does something for the MC's "own good". Infuriates me. So, complex, approachable, flawed and maybe even a little broken, and someone who challenge their lady love.

That's what I like to read and what I like to write .
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:32 AM   #4
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I like my romance to be flawed, but not so much that the boy or girl is unlikable, but rather its that negative aspect that places emphasis on the overwhelming good points.
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Old 01-23-2013, 07:46 AM   #5
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I am a really big sucker for underdogs and guys that have that smartass-with-a-heart-of-gold thing going on, but they have to be done REALLY well for me to like it. Because sometimes "smartass" hedges into "condescending asshole" territory, and I do not like that at all. Also, underdogs can be great, or they can start tipping into the "but I'm such a NICE FREAKING GUY, why don't I have ALL OF THE AFFECTION" zone. Which, again, do not like.

Basically I like LIs who are kind of rough around the edges or use humor to deflect emotional pain or have a lot of mild-combative spark with the protagonist without them turning into a jerkass mess. I like the ones whose edges peel back to reveal their very real, very human pain, but without getting whiny and entitled about it.

Maybe that's too much to ask for, IDK.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:46 AM   #6
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I like love interests that I don't know are LI's right off the bat. Usually there's something, (the descriptive language descending into purple, the MC acting completely out of character,) something that shouts THIS IS HER LOVE INTEREST SO FALL IN LOVE WITH HIM. I guess that's more of a "designated love interest" than simply a love interest, but it bothers the heck out of me.

I don't like it when it's obvious two characters are going to wind up together, and then BAM they're a couple two chapters later. Show me a relationship that starts out as friendship and could definitely stay there but winds up evolving naturally into romance and I'll melt. It's not as dramatic as the love at first sight, together for eternity kind of relationship, but that's what I like.

Beyond that, a sense of humor goes a long way with me. Broken characters are all right, if done well. A broken LI who doesn't mope around and decides the best way to help him/herself is to help other broken characters is fantastic, and two in a relationship with each other would be amazing. You don't see that very often though. Usually, it's just the moping and the angsting until *poof* true love heals all. Gag.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:35 AM   #7
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I'm supposed to fall in love with an LI? I thought I was only supposed to believe that the LI and the MC are in love. Not that I'm necessarily in love with him/her.

I don't really fall in love with characters. I simply like to believe, and rarely do I believe this, that couple's relationship is realistic and plausible. But I don't really like to think of LI's as LI's. They're simply characters who happen to be one part of a relationship, not brooding hunks of meat for girls or guys to wank to.

But I don't really care. I like legitimate brooders and funny guys and metro guys and legitimate creative bad boys (not the boring rapey breed YA seems to love), and conversely (seems odd that girls are hardly ever LIs) the same from the other sex.
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Old 01-23-2013, 12:14 PM   #8
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My personal favourite YA love interest is Etienne St-Clair from Anna and the French Kiss. He's funny, quirky, French AND English (um, hello?), and definitely flawed. Definitely. And he's just likeable. Charismatic. When he's in a scene, you have fun, just like you have fun being around a truly charismatic person in real life. You just want to hang out with him. Bonus points for being really awkward and cute at some parts.

I like vulnerability in a love interest. I like that in my real-life LIs, too XD willingness to show vulnerability is really important. I guess a willingness to trust. I hate the guarded, brooding asshole.

Ooooh, one of my all-time favourite love interests is Mr. Darcy from Pride and Prejudice. Such a cliché answer, but seriously, the guy is great. Intelligent, alluring, brooding... but really a Socially Awkward Penguin on the inside.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:37 PM   #9
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I'm reading Hunger Games right now and I like Peeta much more then Gale. I think it's because Gale is so flawless. Handsome, a good hunter, taking care of his siblings, wants to make the world a better place...
Peeta on the other hand is not that awesome. In many moments he's much "weaker" than Katniss and she has to take care of him and yet he has a certain strenght to him, because he's emotionally strong.

So... I think I like softies.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:52 PM   #10
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Actually I literally re-read Little Women/Good Wives (the full unabridged version) last week and was alarmed at what an insufferable brat Laurie was. He was harassing and mocking Meg and forging fake love letters to her from his tutor. He magically fell in OMG TWU WUV with Jo out of nowhere and pined for her, Bella-style for months and then pranced around Europe being a playboy and then finally settled for 'lesser sister Amy' just so that he could continue being a part of the March family. Yes, I'm describing all of this with a very sinister and bitter tone but really I was so disappointed re-reading this book. So much of the wonder and love I had, reading the abridged/edited versions (which were the only ones available at the time) in my childhood were shattered.
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Old 01-23-2013, 01:56 PM   #11
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But yeah, the guy HAS TO have a personality. You have to tell why he likes the girl (and liking her for her looks is okay BUT he needs to like her for other reasons too, NEVER just looks. And don't give me that 'Her blood smelled nummy.' stuff I WILL fling the book across the room!)

I think for me personally, both in real life and in stories, I like when the guys are smart and funny.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:03 PM   #12
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I'll admit I'm not the typical teenage girl - I grew up reading really old teen books I got second-hand from jumble sales, where the idea of a bad boy was a boy who had long-ish hair and scowled when talking to his girlfriend's parents(yes, really!), and of course he owned a motorbike or a really wild horse.

But what I like in a LI is, in no particular order:

- Vulnerability. Have him brood, but for an actual REASON.

- Boys who are actually teen boys, and look like it - so a bit gangly, clumsy, not necessarily built like a flipping body-builder. But I love tall LIs - I know it sounds awful but because I'm pretty tall, I can't fall in love so much with a titchy LI because it seems a bit ridiculous.

- Freckles! Eddie Redmayne (Marius in Les Miserables, representing the Brits!) is so sexy with all those freckles...

- Good sense of humour - self-deprecating, sometimes. I love funny guys, but when they make cruel jokes about the MC, or, like Patch in Hush Hush, humiliate her to show their wit, it turns me off.

- Awkwardness is always good. The boys who are totally arrogant because they are really hot and they know it, really puts me off. A bit of awkwardness can be really cute!


Finally, it might just be me but I dislike it that almost all the LIs in YA are really intelligent, straight-A - or straight-A clever but too much of a bad-ass to get the grades - and also are in the football team or busy killing demons or whatever.
What about the boys who struggle at school? Or who just aren't academic, or are loving and funny and kind, but are average intelligence rather than Ivy-League-bound?
Or even better, LI boys who just aren't quite as intelligent/academic as the FMC?
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:37 PM   #13
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That's what I love about Dexter in This Lullaby. He's dorky, vulnerable, quirky, a musician am treats Remy well. That's what I love most about all of Sarah Dessen's male characters. They all have more personalities than other guys in books.
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Old 01-23-2013, 08:56 PM   #14
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The most important thing is "character first, love interest second." This person should have his/her own personality, goals, problems, and role in the story.

If the love interest's only purpose is to look pretty, brood about stuff, and tell the protagonist that he believes in her, then I'm not interested.

It also helps if they're funny. And not overprotective.

Good examples are Prince Kai from Cinder and Eldric from Chime.
This, especially the bold. The LI needs something to do other than just be the LI. Make him an interesting person who might have his own adventures whether or not he actually wins the heart of your FMC.

One of my favorite LI's is Rob in Misfit--he starts out as this boy-next-door type that Jael's known all her life, and they hang out and enjoy each other's company, and one day he just asks her out, and that's it.

Honestly, I'm not the right audience for this kind of question. I prefer the romance to be uncomplicated and sane-ish. I prefer the conflict and drama in any given book to come from somewhere OTHER than the romance angle.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:12 PM   #15
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I totally concur it doesn't matter so much if I fall for the LI if I can see why the MC would, and that it's important the LI is believable and interesting outside of the romance.

However, since we're on the subject, one thing I wish I'd see more of, if the LI must be "dangerous" somehow, are rival LI's who compete with the heroine, either for her main goal or some minor subplot goal. That way, they'd realistically come into conflict and experience tension without the LI coming across like a serial killer.

"I reached for the gilded statuette, its ruby eyes glittering. Just as I was about to take it, a net closed around it and swept it from my fingers. I turned to find Lucas standing atop a nearby precipice, the net in one hand, and my statuette in the other. He smiled rakishly and waved as he made his escape.

Curses! Though we were still two-for-three in my favor, Lucas Le Stud had beaten me to the treasure this time."

...except, y'know, better written than that.
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:14 PM   #16
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^You mean like Dr. Schneider in The Last Crusade?
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Old 01-23-2013, 09:16 PM   #17
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^You mean like Dr. Schneider in The Last Crusade?
OMG, I haven't seen that movie in so long, I don't remember! *is ashamed of self*
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:46 PM   #18
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Actually I literally re-read Little Women/Good Wives (the full unabridged version) last week and was alarmed at what an insufferable brat Laurie was. He was harassing and mocking Meg and forging fake love letters to her from his tutor. He magically fell in OMG TWU WUV with Jo out of nowhere and pined for her, Bella-style for months and then pranced around Europe being a playboy and then finally settled for 'lesser sister Amy' just so that he could continue being a part of the March family. Yes, I'm describing all of this with a very sinister and bitter tone but really I was so disappointed re-reading this book. So much of the wonder and love I had, reading the abridged/edited versions (which were the only ones available at the time) in my childhood were shattered.
Yeah. Laurie is a bit of a brat at times, though "that good in his hart," to quote Joe Gargery, another favorite of mine. That's why I prefer Professor Bhaer.

Of the recent YA LIs, I probably like Peeta best, because he's a really smart nice guy.
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Old 01-23-2013, 10:49 PM   #19
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I'm a sucker for a good love story and quirky romances and almost all of my manuscripts and story idea ever revolve around or involve a romantic relationship of sorts. I know it's not for everyone and many people are only interested in whether the LI fits the MC, the story, etc. Or life outside of LIs completely!

Personally, I think I get attached to love interests for the same reason that I get attached to any character-MC, villain, whathaveyou. They're intriguing, someone I want to know better, maybe someone I'd like to know in real life. I agree that I adore Etienne, but I also adored Anna. I loved Alaska in Looking for Alaska, not so much because I wanted to bring her into reality and make kissy faces with her but because she was real and raw and is just a character that sticks out in my head.

The problem with looking for traits that make a good LI is that everyone is different. In real life, I fall in love with someone that someone else doesn't like at all. Some people have a fondness for bad boys. Me, not so much. Some people have a thing for older boys, pretty boys, boys who play sports, etc. I like awkwardness in a LI, but I like confidence in a LI too. It just depends on the character. Sure, there may be some fairly broad characteristics, but I'm not so sure they are of any help because they are so broad. Something like "he treats the MC well" or "he's funny" or "he's genuine" or whatever doesn't tell you anything. I figure the best I can do is develop a good, solid character that I like and hope others like him or her too.

ETA: I've also failed miserably at creating decent LIs (and MCs for that matter), and I'm hoping that has helped me to improve.

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Old 01-24-2013, 12:44 AM   #20
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Reading this thread has been really reassuring -- my LI fits many of your "this is what I'd like to see" descriptions.

Like others have said -- the LI needs to be a character that is fully realized all on their own. They need to have a history and goals outside of their relationship with the MC.

I've realized in writing my book (from a Close 3rd perspective) that I could probably write the whole thing again from the LI's perspective (as YA writers tend to do... book 1.5), because there's a whole other half of the story that he's a part of that you don't get to see. I considered a dual perspective for awhile, but I really don't want to break the narrative flow of my MC's emotional journey. It's pretty intense and moves at a steady clip. And the story as a whole is going to revolve around her more and more moving into books two and three.

Her LI is very much a Peeta type -- a smart, nice guy who possesses more traditionally "feminine" qualities. He's a doctor, so it makes him nurturing, whereas my FMC is an engineer, so she tends to be more logical. I like bending gender norms and challenging stereotypes that involve them. Any LI interest that can step outside those bounds is solid in my book.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:13 AM   #21
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I've realized in writing my book (from a Close 3rd perspective) that I could probably write the whole thing again from the LI's perspective (as YA writers tend to do... book 1.5), because there's a whole other half of the story that he's a part of that you don't get to see.
WARNING off topic

Is this common? I only know of the one, which was published on the writer's website. I know I've heard many people talk about writing scenes from different POVs for development reasons or just plain old dual POV novels, but I'm not familiar with other examples of writing a whole story and publishing it as a seperate (1.5) book. Just curious

On topic so I don't get fired from the thread: I also liked Rowan from Wanderlove. Kind of mysterious, bohemian-ish, etc. Not because he's my type, but because he was like unraveling a mystery.

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Old 01-24-2013, 01:18 AM   #22
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I'm supposed to fall in love with an LI? I thought I was only supposed to believe that the LI and the MC are in love. Not that I'm necessarily in love with him/her.
I know what you mean. Sometimes I feel like I'm missing the party, because I never SWOON over LIs. Do I love them? Of course! But in the same way I love an awesome female character. Am I a huge, huge sucker for a well-written love story? Absolutely. But for whatever reason, I've never had an actual "crush" on a literary character.

I guess I like my men flesh and blood.
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Old 01-24-2013, 01:24 AM   #23
Becca C.
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I don't take "fall in love with the LI" literally. I'm not ACTUALLY in love with the LI I find swoony. When a LI succeeds with me, I get butterflies for the MC. It's a relationship I can get on board with because I can see and understand what makes this LI so exciting for the MC. The lovey-dovey feelings come from that, not from wanting the LI for myself.

Okay, except maybe Etienne. And Draco Malfoy (I know he's not the LI, shut up...). There are very few literary characters I actually have crushes on but there are a few.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:33 AM   #24
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Very helpful thread. I always read that the LI should have their own things going on, but I always always forget it when I'm writing. I get so caught up in the relationship that in my head, sure he has a life, but on the page, it might not come across. So that aspect is difficult for me.

I also tend to write love interests that are apparently too good. As in too understanding and too reliable and maybe to the point where they seem inhuman. So working on that too.
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Old 01-24-2013, 02:48 AM   #25
Becca C.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by missesdash View Post
I also tend to write love interests that are apparently too good. As in too understanding and too reliable and maybe to the point where they seem inhuman. So working on that too.
Yes!!! Sometimes my LIs are just complete, utter saints. People in real life tend not to be like that... especially people in brand-new, tentative relationships. People in real life tend not to want to shoulder the burden of all their intended's emotional baggage a week after meeting them.
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