Designing romantic leads

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satyesu

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Thw novel I'm planning isn't strictly a romance, but a romantic relationship between the leads will feature heavily. Would y'all please give some advice on how to build complementarity into the MC's and create a compelling relationship?
 

lizmonster

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Marissa's right: read romance widely. And to the extent you can leverage your own personal experiences - whether that's a working relationship, or one that didn't work - that can help, too.

In terms of complimentary traits - I think those often come out of the chemistry, rather than causing it. I have a couple where one of them is very good at understanding others, but bad at understanding themself; the other knows themself well, but doesn't really understand other people. Yet they understand each other - to the point that when they have misunderstandings they don't think to talk to the other, because it couldn't possibly be a misunderstanding. (That last bit is from personal experience!)
 

ElaineA

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Agreeing that nothing can substitute for reading, but I'll offer one other resource. One of the things that makes writing romance so complex is that there must be 2 storylines happening at the same time AND working together. There's the external plot and the romance plot, both equally important. You're going for a similar thing, substituting romantIC for romance, so maybe they're not quite equal time, but it's a similar challenge. Gwen Hayes's Romancing the Beat is a short primer on how to weave plot and romance together (including ways to think about characters and how they interact). It's very trope-focused, so you'll have to decide what to take on and what to ignore, but it may help you recognize what's happening while you read, and may help you understand how to weave in the romantic thread of the story.
 

satyesu

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I'm somewhat familiar with RtB, but thanks. :)
 

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