Long time ago, I wrote a list of my fictional crushes. This list hasn’t changed much throughout the years, though, because I don’t often find a lot of fictional love interests that are believable.
Most of the time they seem more like the author’s fantasy of a romantic partner rather than an actual human being. And instead of being swoonworthy, these characters just fell flat. Can we agree that perfect people are boring? At some point I just stopped caring because they always do all the right things and say all the right stuff. They never mess up, so what’s the point?
The reason I’m saying this is because last week I filled out a character sheet for my protagonist’s love interest, and later, I found out in horror that I was guilty of the same crime.
In my previous writings, romantic relationship never played a major role in the storyline. Only when I decided to add a little romance to spice things up did I realize how hard it is to create a believable love interest.
I decided to rewrite the character, but until now I can’t even get past his physical characteristics. He needed to be flawed, but how much? Describing him with adjectives like “tall, dark, handsome” just felt dry. I find myself struggling with describing physical appearance without boring myself to death with eyes and hair details.
Leigh Bardugo did a fantastic job describing Kaz in Six of Crows:
Kaz shook his head, dark hair glinting in the lamplight. He was a collection of hard lines and tailored edges – sharp jaw, lean build, wool coat snug across his shoulders.
And how Inej saw him in her POV:
Inej knew the moment Kaz entered the Slat. His presence reverberated through the cramped rooms and crooked hallways as every thug, thief, dealer, conman, and steerer came a little more awake. Per Haskell’s favoured lieutenant was home.
Can we have a moment of silence to appreciate how powerful this sentence is?
I’m no Leigh Bardugo, though. So I better start working on it soon.