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Thread: Avoiding an implied character pairing

  1. #1

    Avoiding an implied character pairing

    So, I'm writing a story with a young guy not really having many people he can call friends around... meeting a girl with a (hopefully) interesting character, who is quite beautiful on top of it. Where's the catch? Yea, it won't happen, they just don't match that well. But they still like each other, simply as friends.

    Now, to the characters, that won't be much of a problem, but I really fear for the readers. Man, I've been so pissed at one or the other pairing simply not happening in other people's stories! I don't want this to happen to my readers.

    I've been thinking about twisting the story to divert attention from the girl in question, but there's not much space in the spotlight at first. The girl is quite certain she's not interested in him that way. But how blatantly can she say that without implying that she's overdoing it and might change her mind later, as what the Japanese call "tsundere" characters always do?

    This is one of the achievements I hand to Harry Potter; in the books, I never saw something between Harry and Hermione possible or reasonable, even though they got along well. Though that utterly failed in the movies, where they changed her from outsider bookworm to a very self-conscious star model that can do anything. Heh.

    Is there something subtle I can mix in to clarify that this pairing just won't happen? Or, should I worry about this at all?

  2. #2
    Making use of the main character's voice in your writing is really the best way to do it without overusing the thoughts of both of your characters. It shouldn't be very hard to point out her lack of interest subtly. If they end up as friends, the character's voice is going to help you there too.

    You haven't given us many details, so I will assume the guy is going to be the one to make the moves and start hoping. In this case, just have the girl put him back where he belongs with some blunt replies. He shouldn't feel offended(because he's the one pushing it, and she cannot regret her move.)

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  4. #3
    I think Sinitar is correct that using voice is a subtle way to show that there is no spark between the two romantically. If you show that the characters have interests in other people that would of course be a way to demonstrate that there is nothing between the two.

  5. #4
    Depending on your story, it could be possible that he looses any form of romantic interest in her. She might have quite a few things that bother him that while he might have interest based on her looks, as he gets to know her, he might actually see things that kills that form of interest.

    Something to think about.

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  7. #5
    Senior Member Ophiucha's Avatar
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    Feb 2011
    Vancouver, BC
    Well, to use your Harry and Hermione example, there are a few things that made the two of those 'just friends'. For one, they both had other love interests. Harry had Ginny, and Cho for a time. Hermione had Ron, and Krum for a time. Obviously if Harry is sitting there pining after Ginny, he isn't pining after Hermione. Another thing would be the idea of it being brought up, and dismissed. In the fourth and fifth book, in particular, lots of people suggest that there is more to Hermione and Harry than just a good friendship. Rita Skeeter speculating on a love triangle between them and Krum, and Cho getting jealous of Hermione while on her date with Harry. And they both react to the suggestion with a mix of apathy and a bit of "no offence, but... ugh, no". I think other factors come into play, as well. Hermione is often treated as "just another guy" by Harry, he rarely thinks of her as his girl friend. They also met when they were 11, bit before he was prone to crushes, so she was already one of his best friends (and sort of "friend zoned") before he started up with the warm and fuzzies. That might not be applicable to your story, though.

    Also, a good third of the readership still wanted Hermione to get with Harry in spite of this, so there's really no way to guarantee that your readers won't see it and won't be disappointed when it doesn't happen. And another third thought he should shack up with Malfoy, so there's really no way to win.
    currently writing strawberries & pearls.

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  9. #6
    Senior Member CicadaGrrl's Avatar
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    Jun 2011
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    Depends on how far you are taking this story and if you are willing to add other characters. Adding someone's romantic interest where the guy and girl talk to each other about it as just pals--willing to give the other advice--works well. This is lame--but make sure you are happy with your characters as are. What would change to make them have at least the possibility of romance? No offense, but people do get riled about no romance. However, I wouldn't want to kill the integrity of the story. Sometimes they go ways we doing expect.

    Mainly, I agree. Use pov.

  10. #7
    LOL Opihucha, maybe there really is no way to win. This post is exactly what I needed, a deciphering of how this worked without having to search the books for examples. Thanks a lot!

    Sinitar's post is also quite true. A character's voice is probably the most convenient way to clarify such things. Actually, her character might come in handy -- she has no trouble being quite straightforward.

    Edit @CicadaGrrl (heh, you responded while I typed this):
    True, I might want to bring in romance ASAP. But that one... meh. Depending on how the characters are, it *could* happen, but neither does it fit the two, nor would it possibly end well. But you have a point that the implication might not be a bad thing, if it keeps people hooked until it's replaced by a more interesting pairing.
    Last edited by Vandroiy; 9-21-11 at 5:25 PM.

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