General Discussion

Quackcast 152...ish: All You Need is Love! Please contribute!
Banes at 8:08PM, Jan. 20, 2014
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Ozone and I keep talking about getting the community engaged with our Quackcast topics - The ‘Casts that feature those community posts are always my favorite episodes by far!

So here’s our topic: Romance. Love. L'amour.

How do you approach love, romance and relationships in your comics? Do you find it difficult to write this stuff? Is it easy?

What do you like to see, love and relationship-wise, in the comics you read? Do you like it realistic? Angsty? Or do you like it more fantasy-based?

What do you NOT like to see?

What are some of the fictional couples/relationships you really like? Were there any you thought didn't work at all? Why?

As always, when talking about comics, feel free to talk books, movies, shows and anything else you wish.

Please try to get your thoughts down by January 30th.

Thanks, Ducks!
-Banes
last edited on Jan. 20, 2014 8:15PM
Genejoke at 11:10PM, Jan. 20, 2014
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What I really don't like is when it feels forced, when the characters are put together because the author wants to without writing it correctly.  Example, the star wars preqiels, when Anakin needs Padme again, there's nothing between his boyhood crush and them being in love, it's not convincing.  However once they are at that stage in the films some of the script is a passable portrayel of two young people in love.  Cheesy lines and flirting etc.   Shame about the acting…
 Personally I don't find it easy to convincingly write which is why I tend to avoid it.  In BASO I have the MArgo/Ellis romance, which isn't so much love as attraction and two messed/lonely people getting it on and…. well that's yet to be seen.  I imagine the trick is to write a convincing emotional connection between the characters, something for better writers than i perhaps.
Call Me Tom at 12:14AM, Jan. 21, 2014
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Well do to my Aspergers syndrome (Here a link to Wikipedia because I'm sick of trying to explain it! http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asperger_syndrome)
I can't convey or see emotions that well in real life. So I avoid romance in my comics like the plague! As for seeing romance in comics it depends on wether it fits in with the tone of the story.
ozoneocean at 2:49AM, Jan. 21, 2014
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Well the one “luurrrv” moment I did in Pinky TA was the hazy seduction/implied one night stand scene spread accross tow pages:
http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Pinky_TA/5268023/
and:
http://www.theduckwebcomics.com/Pinky_TA/5278632/
  
Ok, it was part of a ploy to capture Pinky, but lurv was the method of war here! I'm an artist so showing is what I do beter than text. Implying by imagery… People smiling, holding each other, going into a bedroom, their clothes on the floor…
In hindsight I could have made it more implicet with direct looks with fluttering eyelashes, half hodded eyes, slight smiles, held hands, that sort of thing, but I wanted to keep the reader guessing as what was really going on.
I wanted to show that there was some sort of sexual tension between Ace and Pinky all through that capter so that Ace's eventual bretayal had more impact at the end… I think I flubbed that a bit. I didn't want his betrayel to come out of no where, I wanted the reader to suspect it so I made it seem as if Pinky distrusted Ace all though… what I should have done was burned that off a bit (the distrust), as things went along and showed her having growing feelings for him, but it is what it is!
  
Love and romantic subplots are fine in comics, books, and movies. straight or gay I don't mind, as long as it's done well and not cringeworthy. Hamfisted love plots make pretty awful reading/viewing, I hate that in a lot of anime.
Ah My Goddess is a great little series. it's a “harrem” type series, where many diferent women become facinatied by the loser male lead, but the main story is the growing love between Keiichi Morisato and Belldandy. At times it's a but clunky, but when they actually do it right it's very well done and makes you feel for the characters.
 
irrevenant at 2:54AM, Jan. 22, 2014
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What makes you think ‘angsty’ is an alternative to ‘realistic’ in romance? : /

I second Genejoke.  My main bugbear with romance is when it feels forced for plot reasons (I see your Anakin and raise you an “I love you because you have special blood that smells irresistable” Edward Cullen. -_-).

The match-up can definitely surprise you, but it should feel natural when it does happen.  Other than that, I'm happy with most varieties of romance: shy and tentative, new and passionate, time-worn and comfortable, doomed love.  It's all good.

No particular favourites are coming to mind, but I like when they have fun with it.  Beckett and Castle from Castle and Tony and Ziva from NCIS are decent examples.

I have yet to tackle romance in my comic but there's the potential for it later on.  I'm not going to force it, but if it seems like two characters are headed that way, I might pursue it.  I find it very hard to write and assume I will do a pretty crappy job, but the whole point of this comic is to “fail my way forward” so…

Hope some of that is useful to you.
last edited on Jan. 22, 2014 3:05AM
kawaiidaigakusei at 5:22AM, Jan. 22, 2014
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When it comes to on-screen romance in films, I believe Morticia and Gomez Addams take the cake for the most passionate, steamy romance. There is something so pure and honest about Wesley whispering to Buttercup “As You Wish” in the Princess Bride. And the last ten minutes of Amelie have me wishing I lived in Paris and could exchange secret messages with a perfect stranger via a public photobooth.

IN MY OWN COMIC
I have dealt with a romance theme for a good chunk of my own comic. Some parts are based from a real life memory, a conversation I had, a real-world setting and real-world people. A good amount was written as an unrequited love letter to a specific person in mind and the comic was the way to fill the void of an otherwise deferred dream. In truth, real life happened while I was working on certain stories and without that inspiration or passion to fuel the subject matter, I often derailed from the story. Sometimes the dialogue or characters landed too close to home and I had to keep the romance general for the public audience. The real world and made up stuff just blurred together at the end, I know what is real and what is not.

WHAT I LIKE/DISLIKE TO SEE
I generally love watching indie romantic comedies where the main male lead is an architect. I seriously have a thing for architects, most likely because I absolutely love architecture. So the perfect movie for me would be an Indie RomCom with a male architect.
Best Movies/TV Shows: Sidewalls (Las Medianeras), 500 Days of Summer, How I Met Your Mother

I do not enjoy romance where there is an obvious lack of chemistry between the lovers. This happens when the kissing does not look believable or forced. Most of the time it is because I have already placed the male lead on the “friend-ladder” based on character development.

FAVOURITE ON-SCREEN COUPLES

Jareth and Sarah from Labyrinth
When I first saw Labyrinth as a young girl, the relationship between David Bowie's Goblin King and Jennifer Connelly's Sarah was ambiguous an unexplored. I watched the film several times as I was growing up and I feel there was a type of seduction going on between the characters ESPECIALLY during the ballroom scene when the song “As the World Falls Down” is in the background. I mean, he stole a baby for her and constructed an entire labyrinth. Jareth offered to show Sarah her dreams–what more can a woman want?

Darkness and Lily from Legend
Now this may seem like a crazy romance, and anyone who has seen or remmbers Ridley Scott's Legend knows that the romance story was supposed to be between Lily and Jack. I feel there is some serious tension in the scene when Lily enters Darkness chamber and he offers her gifts and his love. The story is similar to the Persephone and Hades myth (Another favorite!!). Not to mention,Tim Curry plays Darkness so flawlessly, it is easy to overlook the horns and hooves.

Winston Smith and Julia from 1984
Here is another unlikely reference: 1984. People love to go on about this story as a cautionary tale about a dystopian future, but they fail to mention the romance in the novel. To me, 1984 is undeniably one of the greatest love stories ever written. Winston and Julia fall in love under the radar of a government that has outlawed “love” and goes great lengths to censor it out of their history. Part II of the novel is mainly about Winston and Julia meeting up for secret trysts anywhere and everwhere in Oceania where they would not be caught. I enjoyed the simple, realistic nature of their relationship–waking up next to each other, reciting the poem “Oranges and Lemons”, and enjoying real coffee and fresh bread–small pleasures we take for granted. The greatest heartbreak was that they were both forced to betray the other against their will at the end.
last edited on Jan. 22, 2014 5:25AM
KimLuster at 7:59AM, Jan. 22, 2014
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I tend to love Romance as sub-plots, but very rarely as the main theme in a story.  Heavy-handed or overly dramatic (with dripping florid language) romances I tend to find distasteful, but I don't mind if characters become ‘mad’ with love, profess their ‘undying devotion’ to each other, etc., because people really do that.  It's just that people often don't really know what they're saying when they make such statements (strong emotions always override reason, it seems).  I think the story should always acknowledge this ‘taint’ in the love process.
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One of the best ‘romance’ sub-plots I've ever came across is from the ‘Elfquest’ comics (haha  don't laugh, and if you've never read them, think a cross between Elves and Conan the Barbarian :).  Cutter, the Main Character, meets a strange elf from another culture, Leetah.  He ‘recognizes’ her (in elf terms it's an overwhelming emotional bond between two elves, basically trying to force them to mate).  Cutter, being more savage, just accepts this as normal, like Animal mating season, but Leetah, is more cultured and is repulsed by him (and by her own feelings).  Additionally, a third Elf, Rayek, wants Leetah himself (and being from the same culture, she'd prefer him too), so a heated rivalry and courtship begins.  Heartaches happen, feelings are crushed, but eventually both Leetah and Cutter see each other in a new light, and truly come to love each other, beyond any force ‘recognition’ thing.  Yeah, yeah, seems like the plot from Twilight (blech) but really I thought it was handled very well in the Elfquest comic - perhaps mainly because it was a sub-plot (the Main Plot of Elfquest, as indicated in the title, is searching and traveling, finding out who they are, where they came from, and what is their purpose), because also because it reflects something deeper.
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See, let's be honest, modern Romance, for it to be appealing to most readers, must involve Sex.  It can be PG, but Romance without Sex… Nahh.  But how the sex is presented really matters.  Straight, monogamous sex, with nary a wayward thought, is often a little boring, but constant booty-calls, flings, and orgies, while maybe titillating to some, is not Romance.  You're writing a different kind of story if this is occurring routinely.  The Best Romance is between two People, but with some tension, temptation (and perhaps indiscretion) involved.  There can be a little voluntary extra-curricular stuff (maybe a threesome here or there) but if there's too much, you've crossed over from Romance into Swinger-Fantasy Land.  And Lordy does bringing extra folks into the bedroom cause problems, even when consensual.  It may be fun at first, but it starts fires that get out of control.  Be extremely cautious about trying it ‘for Realz’ folks.  I think more stories that include Romance with a little ‘extra stuff’ should really acknowledge this.
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Finally, I love Biology and I often ponder the root of some of our Emotions, like Romance.  'Higher' desires often emerge from ‘Lower’ Needs.  Does Romance only exists because of the Sex Drive, which itself emerges from the Genetic Need to Reproduce.  I don't believe Romance is ultimately JUST an Animal Urge.  We humans have made it much more than that (we're talented that way), but it is rooted in it.  I believe, without the base urge to procreate, there would be no emerging Romance.  Yes, we humans can override the base urge (we do it every time we use protection or do non-procreative sex, or hook up with a same sex partner), but the reason we even have it all is because of the need to procreate that's rooted way down there below our thinking level.  Romance is rooted in a True Need, and even though we can make it poetically beautiful, or fight against it (with varying degrees of success), it is, at heart, an Elemental Force that pushes us, sometimes where we don't want to go.  That is part of its Danger, its Thrill, and its Beauty.
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And I got to rambling, but maybe there's a point or two, or something useful nugget… somewhere in that pile :)
last edited on Jan. 22, 2014 8:00AM
usedbooks at 6:29PM, Jan. 23, 2014
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I agree with Genejoke on the forced relationship thing. Not every character needs to have a love interest, and shoe-horning one in is just eye-rollingly unpleasant.  I also hate the “hate is really love” thing some stories do. Which two characters hate each other unreasonably when they first meet? Oh, they are going to fall madly in love. Ugh. It's unbearable.
 
I don't read anything that is strictly or mainly romance (or watch it in movies or whatever), but I am a big softy for a beautiful relationship side-plot. I especially like the relationships between married couples or couples that were already together at the start of a story. I think they are sweet. But I don't want to be subjected to long romance scenes in anything. Kiss good morning and then give me a car chase or something. My favorite couples have been Tommy and Tuppence from the Agatha Christie books (married at the end of the first book, remaining adorable) and Max and 99 from Get Smart (pretty much always coupled, then married). My least favorite couple was probably Westley and Buttercup from the Princess Bride, but that's mostly because Buttercup was a horrible horrible character. I still root for the prince to marry her so Westley can have a happy ending.
 
 
As for my own comic, I didn't want to write romance, but that stuff happens. -_- There are a number of couples in one form or another in my story. One pair are childhood friends, closer than to anyone else but having trouble stepping toward a romantic relationship (if they want to do that). One couple is clearly a couple. They started out just having chemistry and confiding in each other more and more, and now they call themselves a couple. One of the main villains is obsessively possessive of Kaida, so there's that. It's creepy. It's not romantic. (Actually, there are two of those now, because Kaida's life sucks. One is possessive-protective and one is possessive-sadistic.) Kaida also has an ex-husband, and the two of them are probably in love with each other but they are really bad at communication, equally stubborn, and prone to fighting. I avoid “romance” writing as much as I can, and it mostly develops at its own pace. If I try to write it, I fail hard, so I just have the characters interact as naturally as possible whether that is fighting or silently offering a hand to hold. (If they didn't get close in some situations, it would be a forced non-romance, which is just as bad as a forced romance.)
bravo1102 at 4:57AM, Jan. 24, 2014
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I'm an old romantic and find solace in Phillipa Gregory historical novels.  That being said I know that human relationships run a huge gamut and revel in seeing good depictions of most kinds of relationships.  So long as they're well done.

As for my own comics?  I just dip into the big bag of cliches and get out whatever romantic subplot seems the most applicable to the rest of the storyline.  If it is forced I may even have the character remark at how forced it seems but they can't help themselves.  Why? Because shit like that happens.  Whether life follows fiction or fiction mirrors life. who knows, but strange things happen all the time.

Then there was Battle of the Robofemoids where I could just do whatever I wanted because I could create the cultures from the bottom up.  So I asked “what if?” and played around.  Suer it's a stupid sci-fi story about those topless mind-controlled laser wielding babes, but look under the surface at the romantic relationships.  A lot of it is in passing because they live in this culture and take it for granted. Things are different from that primitive planet earth where everyone obsesses over definitions rather than enjoying what is.  I like sci-fi and fantasy because one can take a step back, ask “what if?” and change everything.  And that can provide a penetrating look at how we do things.  But of course being a bad hack author pre-occupied with topless women it sort of gets lost in the sauce.
HippieVan at 9:16PM, Jan. 24, 2014
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Definitely agree with kawaii about Jareth(my first ever crush) and Sarah. :)
“Just let me rule you, and you can have everything that you want. Just fear me, love me, do as I say, and I will be your slave.”
Not exactly a healthy relationship, but definitely an intriguing one.

 
I think my favourite love story, though, might be the episode of The Twilight Zone called “Miniature,” in which a shy man falls in love with a woman in an antique doll house. Here is the full episode for anyone interested. I feel a bit bad about choosing that one as my favourite because the woman basically has no role, but it's still a great story.
 
There's also an excellent episode called “Passage on the Lady Anne” I believe which follows a married couple trying to make things work by taking the long route(ship rather than plane) overseas together. Already-married couples are pretty unusual in TV romances, I think.
 
And another one where a woman uses black magic to win the upper hand in a love triangle, an episode which is surprisingly sweet. Okay, I can't turn this whole thread into Twilight Zone examples. The bottom line is that you should all watch it because it's all about human beings really, and it features a variety of well-written relationships.

 
One of my pet peeves is when every single movie has to have a love story subplot, especially children's films. Movies definitely led me to believe that people spend a lot more of their lives falling in love than they really do. :P And there are so many other interesting relationships that we have in our lives without having to focus on a romantic one in every single movie ever. For instance, I loved how in Brave, the main focus was on the mother/daughter relationship. That spoke to me so much more than just the typical we're-falling-in-love-oh-no-we-can't-be-together-oh-wait-yes-we-can.
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ozoneocean at 7:57AM, Jan. 25, 2014
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Hippie, I agree wih that love story subplot in everything issue! I hate that! Especially in action movies where the female character has her husband die and maybe her kids too and then suddenly they make her fall in love with the hero guy… WTF? In action films people mourn for 5 seconds and then have sex with whoever they happen to be standing next to.
 
If films mirrored reality, every person you spend more that 10 minutes alone with in any situation would  automatically become your soulmate.
- Stuck in a lift? SUCKS TO BE YOU: at the 9 minute mark you're goin to be having sex with one of those people standing next to you, and not JUST sex but you will also get married and be paying of a motrgage together after the credits roll…
- Alone in  the office with just one other person? Soul mates!!!!!
- Working on a school project with a partner? You two will be getting it on in 5, 4, 3, 2…
- You break down and a kind person stops to help you with your car? Best aphrodisac in the universe!

It's funnny, the old meme was that porn films were silly with their setups with the pizza guy, pool boy, nurse, plumber etc, but mainstream films are no different.
 
Because of that, I really LOVE films where there's a male and female lead who have a platonic relationship for the whole film; it's so different! And not just when there's an age difference or something wrong with one of the characters, it's just cool when they are actually friends.
So there's a point to anti-romance… not anti-romantic films, just anti-mandatory romantic subplots as a standard feature.
 
usedbooks at 9:10AM, Jan. 25, 2014
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I also like adventure stories where main protagonist leaves a spouse behind to take care of the kids while he/she goes on a quest. That's love too, and it's great motive for the protagonist. He has something real to fight for, not that chick he just met.
 
I like that about a number of adventure/fantasies. They usually shoehorn a romance in anyway, but it's a side character, so I can ignore the stupid love at first sight or hate at first sight but love the next day nonsense of it.
Banes at 9:30AM, Jan. 25, 2014
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It's so standard to have a love story subplot and the discovery of a soulmate; many writers surely arrange things that way without even thinking about it.

Of course, that speaks to a deep truth in our biologies and psyches - finding a mate is a powerful drive within us…maybe the most powerful (other than not being eaten by some creature out in the dark).

Agreed with Used Books - I really like stories that feature a couple that's already together. Maybe because it's somewhat rare. I also like the opposite, where it's a partnership that ISN'T romantic (maybe with a lot of unresolved tension going on).

Some of the most powerful relationships in fiction have been weakened somehow, when the characters become involved romantically. The old show, Moonlighting, went from a funny, snappy PI show to a painful slog after the leads hooked up. And I've said this before, but I hated Mulder and Scully becoming a couple on the X-Files. Lame!

Trying to think of a couple I like is tougher. Kawaii's reference to Gomez and Morticia Addamms is right on the money! What a great couple! And Sex and the City had some great pairings, too - I really liked tough Miranda getting together with the softie she ended up marrying. They were an excellent match. And Charlotte getting together with the type of guy she never would have considered earlier - that was great.

In my own stuff, I try to have the basic psychology in a romance make sense, even if it's exaggerated a lot. Or there has to be some kind of conflict going on. Or at the very least, I try to make it funny. The last thing one wants is to have readers or viewers rolling their eyes in disgust (I get enough of that reaction in my own romantic life, thank you!).
Banes at 9:41AM, Jan. 25, 2014
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Oh, I can also appreciate a little romantic fantasy in fiction, too. But I notice I can tolerate “bad writing” that caters to my male brain much more than stuff that caters to a female audience.
An old B movie where the shmuck gets together with a beautiful alien princess? On some level I like it, even if it's horrible shlock! Twilight…I couldn't never watch, let alone read. But I think the two are similar, in terms of the fantasies they're playing to.

Or maybe I've rotted my brain with too many shlock movies…
Hawk at 12:57PM, Jan. 26, 2014
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I don't mind a certain amount of romance in stories.  I prefer they remain subordinate to the main plot, though.  Sure, a romance can actually BE the plot of a story, but those aren't typically the kinds of stories I enjoy.
 
One thing I do not like to see in a story is where the writer starts shuffling around pairs and really milking that “will-they-won't-they” mentality in their readers.  If it can be described as “relationship drama,” I seriously consider going elsewhere.  When the story starts to feel like it's catering to “shippers”, for me that's when the story is over.  Some examples include TV shows like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and the Legend of Korra.  The Legend of Korra is particularly awful, considering how much better romance was handled in its predecessor, The Last Airbender.
KimLuster at 12:48PM, Jan. 27, 2014
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usedbooks wrote:
I also like adventure stories where main protagonist leaves a spouse behind to take care of the kids while he/she goes on a quest. That's love too, and it's great motive for the protagonist. He has something real to fight for, not that chick he just met.
 
I like that about a number of adventure/fantasies. They usually shoehorn a romance in anyway, but it's a side character, so I can ignore the stupid love at first sight or hate at first sight but love the next day nonsense of it.
This is exactly what happen in Elfquest.  The main protagonist, Cutter, is drawn to the promise of learning more about his species, why they don't seem to fit in the world, where they come from, and he leaves goes on a long quest, leaving his wife and kids (whom he very much loves) behind.  They eventually reunite, but the point is there's something deeper, more cosmic, they're all striving for.
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In my own comic, the Godstrain, the main theme is philosophical in nature, essentially what do we know to be ‘real’.  And as a strong backdrop, the knowledge that strong feelings (even romantic ones) could occur in a world that's not even real is disturbing, maybe even terrifying. 
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It's makes us feel like we're manipulated on some cosmic level.  I get a similar feeling when I think about the influence my genetics has on me.  How much of my ‘love’ is real vs how much is me just putting a face on an overwhelmingly powerful biological urge to pair-bond?  I can't think about it for long with getting pissed off haha
bravo1102 at 2:00PM, Jan. 30, 2014
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Wait you mean none of you meet a person work with them for a fwe hours and sleep with them by the end of the day?  Wow, I feel sorry for you.  Some people can and do with alarming frequency.  haven't you ever heard of “soulmate for a night”?  Some people close their eyes to that and others can see it happening everywhere they go with a frequency that is startling.  Sure its wish fulfillment and fiction is part wish fulfillment so the writer can't help himself.  He gets carried away and “wouldn't it be neat”  and then they're together.

Crap, wrong trope.  Well can't undo it.  Though there are really extreme ways to undo romances between characters.  Oh look just a dream. *whew*  That hook-up would have spoiled the whole story arc.  Well damn that was forced but do I really want to rewrite the last few chapters to undo it?  Oh screw it let's have it happen and see where it leads.  

Well that sucked massively.  Step into the writer's head and walk around and look at the creative process of how things get thrown together.  We just got to do this!  NO, DON't STOP! Wouldn't it be cool… NO, NO, NO you're totally changing the whole dynamic and you won't be able to unchange it back to how great it was.  Yeah but I have six finished scripts with them hooking up and…

The fans will hate it because they don't want the two characters they know and love to be together because they want to be free to fantasize that they're the off-screen love interest. Or at least that's how I felt in X-Files and Moonlighting.  Jealous that it's Moulder that got Scully and not me… grrrr.

Or you could just have it be like James T Kirk where every woman he meets is an ex.
bravo1102 at 2:12PM, Jan. 30, 2014
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When I was single and frustrated in love I hated to see people hook up so easily in fiction.  Yeech, it's not like that!  Hate it, hate it, hate it.

Then i had a blind date leading to “happy to be stuck with you” forever and I wanted to see that trope everywhere.  It could be the characters reflecting the wishes or the actual changing situation of the writers.  You could follow the career of Nora Ephraim or Neal Simon and see that arc of how they treat romance depending on where they are in their lives.  The Odd Couple leads to the Good-bye Girl.
usedbooks at 6:43AM, Jan. 31, 2014
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But we are writers – who are also viewers/readers. Most of us here KNOW that process. Maybe it is the writer's “wish fulfillment” but I feel like most of the time it's pandering to what they think the audience wants or what the story formula should be. If you watch 90% of Disney movies, you can feel the formula, and the movie loses a lot to that. It's like painting a new face on a barbie doll and considering it a unique figure.
 
Frankly, love stories can be lovely, but it's not the thing everyone is looking for in life or fiction. I adore a story with a female protagonist who doesn't end up with a man at all and is *happy.* Some of us “singles” are not constantly seeking a relationship. Some of us live quite happily without romance or sex in our lives. All of our friends in relationships feeling sorry for us, thinking we're lonely, assuring us we'll “find someone,” or giving us advice on meeting people may mean well, but they are plain annoying. Romance is not a staple of life. But it's a staple of fiction. To some of us, that's a bit annoying. That's like having a mother trying to hook you up with her friends' sons/daughters.
 
Maybe that's why the stories that resonate most with me have a strong single protagonist with a friend who “finds love.” It's fine to be in love. It's beautiful and sweet. But it's fine not to as well. Nothing is wrong with it. Not everyone needs a love story.
bravo1102 at 8:28AM, Jan. 31, 2014
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usedbooks wrote:
But it's fine not to as well. Nothing is wrong with it. Not everyone needs a love story.
You're completely right.  But too many writers think that the love story is what the reader wants.  

People who need to be in realtionships usually have a litany of other issues.  Which can be very fulfilling to write about.  Dysfunctinal people are a bottomless mine of great situations because happy ain't what one often thinks it is.  “Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it.”   No one is original and everyone seems to go for the easy cop-out.  How many romances have that forced unrealistic ending that comes out of nowhere just because everything has to be wrapped up in the last reel?  Hitchcock had several films with decidedly horrible unhappy endings that the stuidos forced him to rewrite to make it all romantic.  “The audience won't accept that.”

Because so many creaters underestimate the audience. Nothing can kill a story worse than a badly done nonsensical happy ending.
bravo1102 at 8:38AM, Jan. 31, 2014
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And all of the above is why I confine myself to dusting off hoary cliches.  So much easier and I don't have to think or define or debate anything. 
usedbooks at 9:35AM, Jan. 31, 2014
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That's what makes reading webcomics and indie stuff fun. You can't necessarily predict the course of events and can be genuinely surprised by turns and endings. The writers don't have to compromise to fit mainstream conventions.
ozoneocean at 9:38AM, Jan. 31, 2014
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@Bravo- hoary old cliches are fine as long as they're handled well. At its best a cliche is a shortcut symbol for a concept or idea (a certain type of scene that indicates falling in love etc); we all know what it means, how it goes and what it's meant to represent so use of them is a good way to quickly get a lot of plot info across very easily. You can also exploit that familiarity by subverting the cliche and have it turn out in the oposite way to what the reader is expecting, which is a very easy and quick way to perk up interest and excite or infuriate people.
  
At their worst cliches are used as primary building blocks of a plot instead of just facilitators, where the writer uses a by-the-numbers apprach and doesn't even bother at subversion.
 
bravo1102 at 6:09AM, Feb. 2, 2014
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As anyone who's read my stuff knows I'm all about subversion.  But by the same path I've found I like the old cliche ridden romances.  Something confy like that old throwcover you can snuggle under with the wife.  The wife and I own all those A&E romance mini series including all the Jane Austen.  Now she was famous for taking the cliches she found in her time and subverting them.  And now they're the cliches for the later 19th Century and subverted again by Henry James et al and so on.

What we see as a cliche was sometimes once a subversion of the standard storyline.  Remember the hoary old cliches of romance fiction go back millennia.  Even the Ancient Greeks were complaining about cliches reappearing and ruining good stories.  Guess that's why so many Greek myths have so many variations among different writers.  One trying to be more original than the last.  Just read an interesting work by Ruby Blondell about Helen of Troy and how she was treated throughout fiction back to Homer.  And how she kept changing and how even the basic story was never quite the same from source to source.  You'd think stock character but it wasn't always so. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16179837-helen-of-troy 
Banes at 9:31PM, Feb. 2, 2014
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Thanks everybody! We recorded a two-part Quackcast with your excellent thoughts. It's obviously a huge subject; we could surely discuss it much more.

Much appreciated! You guys are awesome and this was very interesting, instructive stuff.

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