While I’ve been test driving the theory that clutter aids creativty (more on that in a few weeks), I’ve been struggling with the need for romance between two of my characters. Seems fitting that at the same time we ushered the new reading challenge–the first theme being attraction– that I would also be struggling with how to create attraction in an authentic way.
The more I struggled to rewrite their initial meeting, the more I realized that the problem I was fighting wasn’t the romance and attraction, it was that I worried the attraction was the only thing that made the pair interesting, particularly regarding my female protagonist. Why? Because it felt like a troupe. Like it was all she had to offer the story.
I confess that is the thing I hate the most: sappy girl love stories where the female character is always mindlessly pining. So reading Holly Bodger’s 5 to 1 was a godsend. Without giving away the story, I simply want to note that Bodger did an exquisite job of creating two beautifully rounded characters whose building attraction was wholly organic. And she did all this while allowing her female lead to be a whole character, not a love sick puppy. It was magic.
Before I read 5 to 1, I wanted to burn all the romance between my characters so they could just be “interesting” on their own. But the more I fought the characters’ attraction, the more they kept telling me to give into the natural connection between them. Romance can have substance, meaning, true beauty. I thank Holly Bodger for that reminder.