In the course of writing the first four books in my unpublished sci-fi/fantasy series, I’ve come across two types of characters: those with a scripted romance and those without one.
Characters with a scripted romance (or a scripted heart, you might say) seem to fall in love immediately; once they meet their counterparts, everything about each of them points to how they are made to love their other half. They are Romeo and Juliet, Robin Hood and Maid Marian, two parts of the same whole, and without diminishing their depth as characters, a huge part of themselves is wrapped up in being the sort of person who loves their partner.
Those with unscripted hearts, on the other hand, can be highly exasperating. They can meet an entire cast of characters without any indication that “this is the one.” Despite many matchmaking schemes on my part, they go from partner to partner without revealing their soul mate, their final destiny to me…and they cause a great many discarded novel drafts in the process.
Frequently, I have to go back to square one and change something because the couple I’ve been trying to put together doesn’t work. With a scripted heart, I may have to make changes to my depiction of a character, to the words he says or his actions, but his destiny remains the same. If Robin doesn’t fall for Marian, then I’ve got Robin written all wrong. With unscripted hearts, it’s quite different. The characters can choose who they love, and often stubbornly refuse to work along with my plans. I can only force them into being a couple at the loss of their characters (or their happiness), molding them to my will rather than recognizing that they simply aren’t “made for each other.”
I’m pretty sure many of these unscripted hearts will eventually fall in love with someone, but it may be a character that I haven’t yet created…or it may be one of the characters they’ve already met. They may have experiences to go through that will change them into the sort of person that will love ___, but right now, they are unscripted, their hearts a mystery to me—and I think that is part of the mystery and joys (not to mention frustrations) of being an author.
(I’m not sure if this applies to real life, but it has certainly been part of my writing experience. Sometimes I know my scripted couples before I even write the first draft of the novel; other times, I come across them by accident, but either way, they have this depth of attachment that instantly lets me know that no other character will ever “be the one” for them. They are in love, once and for all, and I have to write their story accordingly.)
Copyright 2014 Andrea Lundgren