Marissa Lingen (mrissa) wrote,
Marissa Lingen

Love interest question from a friend

A friend of mine was talking about a work-in-progress yesterday and asked what I/we look for in love interests in urban fantasy, and I'm afraid conversation turned and I didn't really answer. So I'm putting it here because I feel contrite and hope that someone else will answer too and help her out.

I don't think my answer is different for urban fantasy than for anything else. If there's a clear main character who has one or more love interests in a book, first and foremost I want them to be people with their own agendas and problems and interests. And second I want it to be clear why at some point they might have wanted to hang out together. They don't have to still be good to hang out together, because all sorts of things shift and change in people's lives, and all sorts of people who once loved each other or even still love each other are not really good at spending time in the same room any more. But I like to be able to see how at some point they were.

I feel like if something is going to not work for me in the "love interest" department of a book, it's quite often having characters who supposedly have "chemistry" in a physical/sexual sense but don't actually like each other. I can almost never pick that up off the page. I mean, I expect there are lots of people who could hypothetically have reasonable sex if they wanted to but don't like each other enough to find out. This does not interest me, and having a character I'm otherwise supposed to want to spend an entire book worth of time with going, "Yes, we have nothing in common and I feel like punching him every time he opens his mouth, but he is Such A Hottie," makes me far less sympathetic towards that character. The world is full of quite reasonably attractive people who don't make one feel like punching them; go find one. (I will very very occasionally make an exception for this if the characters have a long history that does not consist entirely of wanting to punch each other. Complicated relationships are okay. Antagonism and sex: no thanks, not for me.)

Beyond that, there's a mishmash of things I'm a sucker for in any character and the sorts of things I look for when my friends start dating someone new. It depends on the book whether my answer is "good with a soldering iron" or "good with an axe," but "good to random old people" is probably on the list. May be less likely to show up in a novel than axes or soldering irons, though....
Tags: full of theories, my friends rule, random questions

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