Recently, I began working on edits for a project I’ve spent a ton of headspace in for the last two years. But I’m never content with just rereading my work – I want to find new experiences and new insights each time.
This time I decided to delve a little deeper on the primary romantic pair. So I bought some index cards and had wrote out two stacks – one for the Male Love Interest (MLI from here on out), one for the Female Love Interest (FLI) – with four questions each:
When did each one catch feelings?
When did they fall in love?
When did they realize they were in love?
How did they react?
I wholly expected just to land a broader understanding of the timeline, but what happened instead was even better – I got a clearer picture of the characters as individuals!
Through the process of writing out the timing of these four stages/events in their relationship, I learned MLI is MUCH more conscious of his feelings than FLI! He caught feelings early, but fell in love and REALIZED it when their lives were emperiled.
However, he reacted by giving her space but still treating her well. This gave me a deeper understanding of his honorable nature, as well as allowing me to get into his head more in other people’s POV scenes thereafter when it pertained to the FLI.
FLI, by the way, caught feelings around the same time, but fell in love MUCH later and didn’t even realize it until weeks after that! I learned that she can be a very active denier of her feelings, even if they’re staring her in the face, because she has a certain standard of right and wrong that she holds herself to.
All this to say it helped me learn more about them as people – how they love and how self aware they are – and it’s helped me tighten up their reactions to one another, now that I know when and how aware they are they they’ve fallen in love!