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Male love interest or female companion?

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Jabrosky, Oct 29, 2013.

Should my heroine have a male or female companion?

  1. Male love interest

    2 vote(s)
    25.0%
  2. Female friend

    6 vote(s)
    75.0%
  1. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    No offense, but this sounds exactly like something my mother would say. She complains that I fixate too much on the physical aspects of sex and relationships.

    I don't get your oyster ditch and lab rocket metaphor. :confused:
     
  2. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Have you ever considered that she just might be on to something?

    That's okay. Neither did I. :D
     
  3. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    This is where we don't see eye to eye. In the case of the action scene, I believe the story would be injured by not showing the event itself taking place whereas in the case of a sex scene the story can move along just as efficiently and with as much satisfaction even if the act of sex itself is not described. I agree that the description of action makes the story more engaging. I do not see how the description of sex (which, as an aside, has potential for awkwardness in a way that describing fighting doesn't) necessarily makes the story more interesting or engaging. This is a function of my upbringing, no doubt, but it is my honest opinion.
     
  4. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Yeah, I get that, I'm just pointing out (as you note in your last sentence) that it's just a personal feeling on the matter. There is nothing inherent in action or sex scenes that makes that viewpoint necessary, and so there's no reason an author shouldn't pursue one or the other (or both) if his own viewpoint differs. I can certainly see people not liking one or the other, but really it just comes down to personal preference and not something inherently wrong with an author's decision to use these types of scenes.
     
  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I've read great stories that omit the action of actual battle. One in particular that comes to mind, resumed the story on the battlefield strewn with the dead & dying, the immediate aftermath, if you will, yet it never depicted the fighting.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  6. Sam Evren

    Sam Evren Troubadour

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    Maybe write a little scene both ways. Audition your supporting characters, so to speak. See which one you actually enjoy working with more. If you're still not sure, lengthen the audition.

    In the end, I think you need to go with whichever you're happier working with---or maybe the off-candidate gets to make a cameo at some point?
     
  7. Ireth

    Ireth Myth Weaver

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    I'm not sure if this has been addressed or not, but is there any particular reason the male companion HAS to be a love interest? Why not let it be a platonic friendship?
     
  8. Jabrosky

    Jabrosky Banned

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    I created him in the first place precisely so I could have my sex scene. Now of course it's possible for two characters to have sex without being in a long-term relationship---come to think of it, a one-night-stand situation may not be such a bad idea after all. I could have a heroine who's sexually active but doesn't bother with marriage or traditional romance. Monogamy is overrated anyway.

    Or rather, it doesn't have to be the only option.
     
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2013
  9. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    Oh goodness, this caused me tears of laughter. Hilarious. :cool:

    But back to the topic, I like Sam Evren's idea of auditioning the supporting characters. Maybe write a separate scene for each of them with the heroine and see where that takes you.
     
  10. hots_towel

    hots_towel Minstrel

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    this was something that I was curious about with my own story. There isn't really a MAIN character, so much as there are 4 main characters. 1 of which was female, but I really didn't imagine the other three all vying for her attention. So i thought of ways to eliminate them all but 1. I made one of them her cousin (yes, I realize its set in a medieval time period, but being that this is the modern age, not many people would imagine them getting together.) The other is her grandfather. That only leaves one, and I really didnt want to do the whole "do they like eachother, or are they just friends?" thing. Its a little played out in my opinion. So i decided to make them already together as a betrothed couple, to eliminate any needless leading on of the audience.
     
  11. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Is there any reason the female companion has to be just friends? Why not have a lesbian relationship?

    On second thoughts, maybe not.

    On a more serious note, I'm frankly a bit bored with having female characters in fantasy always having sex. Like, there's almost never a female character written by a male author who doesn't have sex at some point with someone. Considering the societies they've been brought up in, in the absence of the Pill pregnancy is a serious issue and a single mother tends, at least in lower class pre-modern society, to be unable to support herself and her child without childcare help from family and friends - there was a reason single motherhood and thus sex before marriage were shunned - it wasn't sustainable in a family- (as opposed to community-) orientated patriarchal society that didn't have welfare provision in place, and would likely result in death or extreme poverty for the mother and child.
     
  12. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    It seems like, in every series I've read where sex becomes an issue, there is always "an herb" that serves the purpose if there's no magical way to prevent her from getting pregnant.

    Though you raise valid points, my thought is that this is fantasy, not historical. I can invent whatever solution I want to solve that kind of problem as long as I do, in fact, address the potential problem.
     
  13. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    The "herb" thing does get a bit old after a while, it's just too convenient. I mean, I know such things existed in the past - and in fact in the case of one herb used in ancient Rome became extinct as a result of overharvesting the wild herb and not farming it. But for a lot of the past, such methods were not so easy to get hold of. One method I used for a story I was writing a while ago involved charmed dragon scales worn as jewellery which also protected against STDs - yes, convenient, but necessary for the story. I do like to see innovative ways of getting around the issue, but I'd like to see a whole lot more "I don't want to get pregnant, so marry me first if you want it and if that's not for you, find someone willing to take the risk". Surely people weren't incapable of saying "no" in the past? But they seem to be in fantasy.
     
  14. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    This seems to be a personal preference issue. I don't have an issue with it.

    Should authors jump through hoops to try to come up with an original concept when there's an easy, well-accepted solution right there? I think those people who love world building would probably say, "Yes!" I'm more of the opinion that, if it's not a major story element, just throw in the accepted cliche.

    Is your objection just personal preference or because the way it's portrayed isn't in line with what happened historically?

    I think that modern culture in general portrays both men and women as likely to have casual sex. I'm not sure it's a bad thing to have your fantasy novel reflect modern society to a great extent.
     
  15. Feo Takahari

    Feo Takahari Auror

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    I actually did read a book once where the girl said no. Chapter 1 was about the hero defeating the ancient evil and marrying the princess, and the rest of the book was about what happened next. The princess wanted to have children eventually, but not just yet, and the hero didn't push the issue. I've never seen that anywhere else, though (not counting stories where it only lasts until the climax.)
     
  16. SmokeScribe98

    SmokeScribe98 Minstrel

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    I'd suggest having a lesbian relationship but from the way you have been describing what you desire I'm not entirely sure that its a wise idea.
     
  17. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    My problem with characters very rarely saying "no" is that, I guess, it's assumed everyone has sex in fantasy stories, often in spite of societal and technological/herbological reasons not to. Once you've got a male character and a female character of similar ages who aren't married, it's inevitable that they'll have sex in a fantasy story. Well, that's a load of bull, especially when no abortifacent is available or societal structure is highly patriarchal. It's bad enough that nobody seems to consider that female characters can have entirely platonic relationships with male characters - there's always one they fall for and it drives me mad to see the same situation time and time again. It's often not plot-relevant too, but rather fanservice, fulfilling the imaginations of adolescent boys. This happens even in books written by experienced writers. And if she doesn't willingly, she gets raped. It demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding of female sexual considerations (which are more complex than lust vs pregnancy or slut vs prude). In fantasy, though, it seems like every female character has almost identical sexual drives, or at least fall into very rigid criteria - the romantic who waits, the slut who doesn't or the out-of-bounds woman who is either too young, too old or too closely related to characters to be involved in sex (and too old seems to be 30 in fantasy).

    You never get "actually, I don't feel like it, I'm not in the mood" or "I'm just not that into you" or even the nervousness, fear, uncertainty and reluctance some real women have even when they are sexually active. You don't get women who don't think the fun is worth the pain (and if it's been a while, there is some pain).

    Fantasy sex scenes are almost invariably, in what I've read anyway, fanservice for male readers and as such very much idealised - even when fumbling and nervous - and never all that realistic, very rarely accurately portraying the female experience of sex. I've had enough of them.
     
  18. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I'm going to suggest something other than a sexual relationship of either orientation. Have you considered a same-sex mentor? A female protagonist with a female mentor is something I'm currently writing in my solo project. It's turned out to be a favorite within the story.

    A sexual relationship could always develop but if you start with the mentor relationship, you'd be free to grow in that direction if you choose. Once you begin with sex, you're a bit more limited.

    Of course, it all comes down to what you, as the author, wants.
     
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2013
  19. BWFoster78

    BWFoster78 Myth Weaver

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    I think we're reading vastly different fantasy stories... :)

    Seriously, besides some of the kind of behavior in WoT, I have a hard time thinking of a series where this was handled in the way that you described.
     
  20. Chilari

    Chilari Staff Moderator

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    Fantast absolutely can portray modern values and society, but it needs to do so through the filter of the world and society the story takes place in, or it feels out of place. The problem with sex scenes as that all too often they don't portray modern society, they portray the male-perspective ideal of modern society's attitudes towards sex, and not the reality, which is complex and nuanced, without taking into account the fictional world it takes place in, so it really does feel particularly jarring.
     
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