Tuesday, February 14, 2017

What Not To Do With Your Love Interest

I had a blog entry on fighting scheduled to go up today but then I looked back and realized that if I keep to my regularly scheduled Tuesday/Thursday updates, I have one that will go up on Valentine's day. So, instead of letting that fight blog go up as planned, I'm pushing it back for later and instead going on a bit of a rant about designated love interest characters.

Let's play a game called 'you're probably an asshole if'. (Disclaimer; I don't actually think you're an asshole, I'm being facetious, roll with it).

You're probably an asshole if your character's love interest never does anything in the story except stand there and swoon over them. You are particularly an asshole if your character's love interest is called out personally for something and instead of letting the love interest handle it, you have your character do it instead. If you know me, even a little bit, you know who those shots were fired at (Sword Art Online).

It is not that hard to have your characters show a little bit of agency. If you can't do that you should not be writing a character, you should be writing a blow up doll. Real people don't just stand there when they are being insulted to their face. Okay, some real people do that, but no one is going to mistake those people for bad ass, so do not, in the same breath, sit there and try to tell me that your character is both bad ass and just passively letting the hero save them.

You're probably an asshole if you kill the love interest off just to give the hero a more gripping story line. Sometimes, there's a good reason to kill a character off. Sometimes, though, you just do it because you want your hero to mourn and be super upset and come out stronger for it and all that--and it has nothing to do with the character you just killed off. And when you do that it is painfully obvious and you aren't fooling anyone.

You're probably an asshole if you write a love triangle and you're dumb ass hero chooses the emotionally abusive, manipulative sociopath that has at no point shown they're capable of basic human respect. Do not whine to me and say "but she doesn't love character b" like it's an excuse. Walking away and not getting together with anyone is a totally valid option.

Oh, and you know what? You're probably also an asshole if no one else in the story realizes the sociopathic character is being a sociopath or says anything about it. If your hero doesn't see it because they're in love and looking through gross love goggles that's fine, that happens and can happen to anyone. But their friends and family members aren't going to be that blind about it and you are definitely an asshole if you let your in story world treat the loved ones that call your sociopath out as if they're wrong for interfering in "true love".

You're probably an asshole if you have gay characters but are super careful never to actually show them being gay. Being gay does not mean being sassy and knowing interior decorating (although it certainly can include those things). It means being a homosexual. That isn't an insult. It's not going to make them look bad if they actually get romantic with someone of the same biological sex as they are. This isn't even shocking anymore, you don't have to tiptoe around it.

If your love interest's personality can basically be described as "dark and brooding" and you cannot think of any other adjectives or interests of theirs that appear in the story, you're probably an asshole.

If your love interest is physically abusive and suffers no repercussions for it ever, you're definitely an asshole. If your physically abusive love interest is female and you got to this sentence not thinking it was physical abuse just because she's a girl, you are a rare medically undocumented double asshole.

If you are not specifically writing fetish erotica, and you try to play off noncon as romance, you are an asshole. If you are specifically writing fetish erotica...like shit, you're still toeing a line but at least there's an implied "this is not how it is supposed to work in real life" at work. You might be a taint but probably not an asshole.

If you are using "they didn't say no" in place of a "yes" and assuming that means the character was consenting, you're an asshole.

If your character was drunk and said "yes" and your sober love interest did it with them anyway they're an asshole. If your story treats this like it was totally okay, you are too.

If your characters hook up under the influence of some kind of love potion and you treat that like it's consent, you're an asshole.

If there's some kind of 'zomg destiny' at work and your characters instantly hook up forever because the magic told them to and you treat that like it's consent, you're an asshole.

You are probably an asshole if your character gropes an unconscious person. You are probably more of an asshole if they play it off like they were doing something medical. You're an uber asshole if the unconscious character believes it and the groper gets away scott free--like I honestly cannot believe somebody who was old enough to write in complete sentences was actually unaware enough that I need to say this.

You're also probably an asshole if your main character turns into a useless puddle of goo every time the love interest is around to save them. No seriously why do I see women doing this to female characters most of the time? What about that situation springs you? Honest question. Why would you want to have to be rescued in your own fantasy?

And finally. You're probably an asshole if your character is wishywashy and indecisive about their potential love interests and said love interests just wait around for the hero to make up their mind. Real people don't behave that way. Well. Some of them do. But real, confident people don't.

What I Learned Today: Valentine's Day falls on a Tuesday this year. Hey, just because I learned it doesn't mean it has to be a mindblowing fact, some things you learn are very small.

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