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Article - 'Romance Development 102' by Death Ritual

An item about Plots/Characters posted on Apr 8, 2004

Blurb

Another article by Death Ritual, and this one is about romance. Very detailed and well-organized, this article just might help spark something in your mind for the romance in your story.

Body

Application of Advanced Emotive Skills Relating to: Romantic Love, Passion and Commitment

For those of you who thought from the article title that this was an article on how to score with some chicks, get the hell out of my classroom.

Just kidding. I'm no Mateui when it comes to teaching, but for this I could sub in for a day or two. Thanks to Kaworu for bringing me out of retirement with that piece of crap he/she called his/her article on "love." Since I already have "Romance Development 101" under my belt, I've decided to go for the 102 course. Stick with me and we'll make it through.

As the title will tell you, this article is going to be very different from the last. While 101 dealt with the kinds of romance, this one will deal with the "how" of everything - how to portray romantic love, and the elements of every loving relationship.


Must You Know?
Some say you can't portray love in game effectively enough unless you've felt it before. As I see it, that's bull, but like much bull, it has its roots in a true argument. Love is a strange enough feeling that without having known what it feels like, the truth is you might never be able to describe or portray it correctively. Fortunately, it's harder than just not having a girlfriend to not know what love is. As Mateui once said, you would have to be a person with no friends, no family, who has never experienced romantic love, and who does not believe in anything.

So . . . pretty much EVERYBODY can attest to having felt love. But not everybody can pull off an accurate portrayal of this beautiful emotion. That's why I'm here to help you.

Portraying Love
Everyone deals with every emotion independently. You probably don't behave the same way when you're happy as I do (and if you think you do, then you're an absolute weirdo.) Love is no exception. Some people find it hard to express. Others are careless about it, flinging the words willy-nilly all about. A third kind of person is the true hopeless romantic (the kind I am), who finds happiness in the feeling itself.

Think about this for a second. Each of your characters should have a distinct personality. (If they don't, they should. Work on it.) Each character will react to feelings of love based on their personality. An extrovert might be flirtatious or very open about her love; a shy character would be more likely to blush and never say a word about it unless extremely pressed. But what about the third type, the romantic? Ah, the romantic would be the subtlest. She might hint at the emotion or take advantage of moments when she is alone with her beloved.

"But DR, you forgot something!"

No, I was waiting for that to happen. How do you start this chain off? Easy. There are many types of love.

Love at first sight - This is my favorite, being a romantic, but that's not to say I use it all the time. Contrary to what Kaworu said, love at first sight is nowhere near a bad love. In fact, it happens a lot in real life. I believe that when done correctly, as it was in FFX or in Romeo and Juliet (fresh from my memory after having read it in English this year), it is wonderful.

Opposites Attract - Yeah, by now I'm encroaching on enemy territory. But really, opposites attract can mean on the most pusillanimous things - whether they like ketchup or mustard (or both!) on their hot dogs qualifies, believe it or not. This is the type of love where the two are usually arguing about everything from life and death to what time it is. Interesting, really.

Big Act - Also known as "Old School," and it's simple. They act like they hate each other, but in reality they'd like nothing better than the other showing some sign of caring about them. This is an interesting kind of love.

Crush - The heartbreaker. Let us remind ourselves that a crush is COMPLETELY one-sided. Shy characters portray the image of a crush better, in my opinion, because they can develop the image of a desperate person whose love is not reciprocated much more fully.

Subtle - They just hint at it . . . but everybody knows they'll hit the sheets anytime. Whoa, did I say that out loud? I meant to say that while they are obviously in love to the rest of the characters, they do not recognize the fact themselves. OR they recognize the fact but don't want to draw attention to it.

Now that we've gotten that part over and done with, let's talk about the three areas of every relationship.

Romance, Commitment, and Passion
From the title, you should be able to figure out that these three things are what every love needs.

Romance is the less carnal part of it, really - it's more the emotions that occur when the beloved's not around. It's also the sharing of special moments, the dinners by candlelight . . . you get the picture. Romance alone is just courtly love.

Commitment is that feeling of trust and honesty you automatically get about somebody you've loved for a good part of your life. Think of old marriages, the ones that argue a lot but stay together nonetheless. That's commitment.

Passion I should not have to explain. It's the carnal part of every relationship, the sex, the kissing, and the physical things the couple does. Passion alone is just a fling.

What if you combined two things of these?

Romance and passion - These two form a relationship heavy on the emotional and physical parts, mostly based on physical attraction. Once that fades, the relationship does not last.

Passion and commitment - This is probably a marriage, judging by the commitment part of it, or a cohabitation. It's marked by some heavy physicality, but there's no romance, there's not really emotion in the relationship. It will last regardless.

Romance and commitment - The opposite of above. Think of a long-distance marriage, that's the closest example. They feel for one another and are committed to one another, but they never get it on, if you know what I mean.

Last but SO not least, the perfect love:

Romance, passion and commitment - With everything, this relationship will survive every test with flying colors. Its integrants need not worry, they are true lovers in every sense of the word.

Conclusion
With that, I think we've pretty much covered a good deal about the subject. I therefore declare every reader of this article to have the credit for the course of Romance Development 101. Professor Death Ritual, signing off.

Above all, remember: this is your world, your masterpiece, and ultimately, you are its creator. There is no greater power.

- Death Ritual’s credo