building bonds

by Chyn

Hi. In a romantic novel, what are some of the techniques to let readers see and feel the tight bond/love between a couple at the start of the story?

In my story, the protagonists will be separated once the conflict starts and would just be together again in the middle of the story, so I was planning to build their strong bond at the first few chapters in order for the readers to understand more of what they actually have. but well, aside from the cheesy lines and stuff, are there other techniques?

Answer: Sometimes rather than have the lovers all head-over-heels, it's better to design the characters so that the reader can see how right they are for each other--how well they work together in handling some problem or situation, how their traits complement each other, even how they can challenge each other in ways that bring out the best of both of them (especially how they challenge each other). You want them to see eye-to-eye on some issues, or hold some values that the rest of the characters do not (creating a you-and-me-against-the-world feeling). At the same time, each should offer the other a different and challenging, but valuable, perspective.

In fact, the two lovers may not even like each other at first, but still get inside each other's heads. Seeing how they interact is more important than cheesy lines or hollow gestures.

In a typical story structure, there are five drivers or turning points. The first is the inciting incident--the event, without which, the rest of the story would not happen. In a romance, this may be the event in which the two lovers meet or their relationship is established in the reader's mind.

The second driver is usually when this relationship becomes romantic. This marks the start of the complication phases or act two. I'm guessing it's right after this that your characters are separated.

In other words, it can work to create a situation where the romance was just getting started when it is suddenly put on hold.

The third driver, sometimes called "the point of no return" causes things to accelerate. This may be where they get together again.

The fourth driver is generally the "black moment" or the relationship crisis (when something happens that threatens to drive them apart). And the fifth is when they find ultimate true love in each other.

Hope that helps.

Comments for building bonds

Click here to add your own comments

Mar 29, 2014
by: Anonymous

Thanks for the explanation~
I will try to incorporate your advice in my novel as best as I can :)

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and submit your own question/topic! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Character Invite.

 Step-by-Step Novel Planning Workbook

NEW! Make Money Writing Nonfiction Articles

"I've read more than fifty books on writing, writing novels, etc., but your website has the most useful and practical guidance. Now that I understand how a novel is structured, I will rewrite mine, confident that it will be a more interesting novel." - Lloyd Edwards

"Thanks to your "Create a Plot Outline in 8 Easy Steps," I was able to take a story that I simply just fooled around with and went willy nilly all over, into a clearly defined, intriguing battle where two characters fight to keep their relationship intact, and try to find a balance in control of themselves and their lives. Thanks to you, I'm not ashamed of the poor organization of my writing." - Nommanic Ragus

"I am so glad I found your site. It has helped me in so many ways, and has given me more confidence about myself and my work. Thank you for making this valuable resource, for me and my fellow writers. Perhaps you'll hear about me someday...I'll owe it to you." - Ruth, Milton, U.S.A.

"I never knew what to do with all the characters in my head, but since discovering Dramatica I am writing again in my spare time. Thank you for making this available. Yes, it is a bit complex, and it does take time, but I love it because it works." - Colin Shoeman

"I came across your website by chance. It is a plethora of knowledge, written in a simplistic way to help aspiring writers. I truly appreciate all of the information you have provided to help me successfully (relative term) write my novel. Thank you very much!" - Leo T. Rollins

"I can honestly say that this is the first website that is really helpful. You manage to answer complex questions in relatively short articles and with really intelligent answers. Thank you for taking the time to write these articles and sharing them so generously." - Chrystelle Nash

"...had no idea that a simple click would give me such a wealth of valuable information. The site not only offered extremely clear and helpful instructions but was a very enjoyable read as well. The education from your wonderful site has made me a better writer and your words have inspired me to get back to work on my novel. I wish to give you a heartfelt thanks for How to Write a Book Now, sir." -- Mike Chiero