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 romance in roleplays, patient, kind, but… is it important ?
 
romance: love it or hate it ?
love it [ 2 ]  [14.29%]
hate it [ 0 ]  [0.00%]
depends [ 12 ]  [85.71%]
other [ 0 ]  [0.00%]
Total Votes: 14
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alyeska
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 07:47 PM
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Let's talk about love !

How do you all feel about writing romance in your roleplays ?

Is it an important and/or necessary thing that happens ?

Do you prefer insta-romances and talking it out beforehand, or letting it build up 'naturally' depending on the chemistry between characters ?


BONUS QUESTION ! please answer for a cookie !
  (i cannot actually promise u a cookie sorry i lied)

QUOTE

12 Jul 15, 07:23 PM

xander: broad philosophical inquiry: how would you define 'chemistry' in a roleplay?



BONUS BONUS QUESTION !:

QUOTE

12 Jul 15, 08:54 PM

poette: how many people define sex as part of romance (a necessity, sometimes, not in the definition)?


thank you @ poette and xander for inspiring this thread to begin with ilyboth.
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ten
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 08:45 PM
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This is my personal hornet's nest. I'm... still working out my thoughts on the subject.

On the one hand... I don't dislike romance itself. Or rather, it's not an obstacle to me enjoying a roleplay. Some of my favorite rps have centered around relationships that turned romantic or have shades of romantic character.

What I hold against its sheer prevalence as a rp element is its upfront centrality in how people plan out their roleplays with new partners, to the point that basic statements like "I'm willing to do platonic rps" are an absolute rarity (and you can't just take it for granted). And yeah it's fine for people to only pursue what they want etc. etc. but consequently, I feel like in my own roleplays have been affected in that I've gotten a lot fewer opportunities to explore the breadth and nuances of nonromantic relationships.

And... this is mostly my own personal issue to work out, but... I've noticed that as long as our characters' genders comply with a pairing that the other player is interested in, our roleplays tend to undergo "romantic creep" in that their relationship starts veering toward romance as if drawn by gravitational pull, no matter what (and I don't know how much of that is the other roleplayer's expectations wrt romance improving every roleplay or if my characters are just irresistible or what). And I could put a stop to it by having my character turn the other down, but if the other roleplayer is good and I like their character, then... I'm weak-willed and soft-hearted and I want them to be happy, I guess.

And I absolutely cannot get away with writing unrequited attraction on my character's end because... it always ends up reciprocated, somehow. Even when it seems kind of weird and implausible in context.

I could try to discipline myself to write more aromantic characters, I suppose, but... I have a feeling that would cut down even further on the roleplay partners whose interests are compatible with mine.

Also, this thread may have been about romance and not sex/sexuality (although who am I kidding, most people collapse the two anyway), but if you ever write a character who enters a romantic relationship with someone and later realizes they're asexual... brace yourself, that's all I'm gonna say.


P. S. I think Xander's question is interesting but have no idea how to go about answering it.
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XANDER
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 09:30 PM
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QUOTE
if you ever write a character who enters a romantic relationship with someone and later realizes they're asexual...


question: do you mean the character realizes, or that the writer realizes?


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ten
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 09:34 PM
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QUOTE (XANDER @ Jul 13 2015, 02:30 AM)
QUOTE
if you ever write a character who enters a romantic relationship with someone and later realizes they're asexual...


question: do you mean the character realizes, or that the writer realizes?


Character realizes.

Though I suppose the advice applies either way.
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Poette
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 09:44 PM
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IT DEPENDS

Some characters click; some take way more time to develop into the people who might actually have a thing for one another. It is vitally important to me that whoever I write with understand the boundaries between the rp characters and the authors themselves. What has grown into one of my biggest pet peeves are rpers who take what you write personally.

With anything, I like to do plotting. I will stay up late plotting whatever till dawn but when it comes down to it, the person who writes my posts is me. It is of the utmost importance that when I get down to writing, I’m not following outlines, but actually figuring out with the character what the next set of actions are. Personally, I don’t see the point in just following guidelines. If someone can’t react to a twist, then they are not someone who I will enjoy writing with. Some of the best writers follow formulas—there’s nothing wrong with that, but the nature of the game I play, is that the element of unpredictability is always a part of it.

That being said, it’s the same with romance. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe characters fall in love in plotting but turn out to hate one another. Plotting does not equal writing, is not set in stone, and will not be the last word on what happens in a rp.

And sometimes I twist a plot because I’m not feeling up to what we planned. It’s the flexibility and openness to work with what is given, not what has been planned. We all have our bad days when a certain scene is not going to work.

As for actually writing romance, I will confess it can be a guilty pleasure. I will soak it in the kerosene of sensuality and light it up. Though to be perfectly honest, it’s everything leading up to sexual scenes (as in, it doesn't have to end in sex, sex doesn't actually have to be the goal of the interaction, etc) that I find more interesting—and more what I define romance to be. Smut is a whole other topic devoted to a whole other board topic.

BUT

For fucks’ sake (yes, just for the double meaning), you find a lot of people don’t know the difference between romance and sex— or rather, who broadly define them together. So instead of finding someone who can work in the ‘grey’ space between ‘our characters don’t know they like one another’ and ‘bam they’re going to have sex,’ it’s just one or the other. Writing sex may be very important to some people—I don’t discount this, but I think that there’s a world of actually romancing and well-written sensuality that gets ignored.

And I love that shit. Of course, I’m the sick bastard who would devote entire rps to a format of love letters between characters who never meet because I think hyper-romance and/or the development of the intricacies of attraction when written excellently can be quite enjoyable. It’s not ‘sex or no sex’ because seriously how is that interesting? If a rper isn’t pleased with romance that doesn’t explicitly involve sex—I mean, what’s the point? Romance can be a component of sex, or sex can be a component of romance, but both exist separately for a reason.

And I often find that the people who can write romance write better sex because they know how to write more than two bodies fucking. Romance is about the build-up of intimacy, the testing the waters, the getting to know the characters.

But please please please

Characters in rp =/= The Rpers Themselves.
What happens in RP, stays in RP.
Seriously don’t go creepy on me. I’m here to write a story, not fulfill your wildest fantasies on demand, so don't throw a pouty party because things didn't go your way.

And frankly I do not care if it ends up in sex. There’s something weird about the rp world where people must define their Sex Limits in terms of:

No Limits (except ___, ____, ___)
Or
Fade to Black

Why aren’t there more people who just outright say, ‘our characters are not going to get sexual, and if you have a problem with that, don’t contact me?’ Because I’ll bet you there are a few of those ‘Fade to Black’ people who wish they could say that but are afraid to admit it. Or—as Ten said, offer up platonic rps.

I have this general outlook when it comes to limits that they may or may not be tested. Most of the time violence and language aren’t even close—it’s sex that becomes a problem because people use sex in rps for other personal means. They don’t usually use violence and language to the same degree—I suspect.

I would like to believe I’m pretty laidback when it comes to romance—that I’m someone who can take it or leave it, but the truth is that I find pushy romance repulsive and neediness in rpers disgusting. When romance and sex become ‘plot,’ then you’ve lost the point of a story. Romance and sex should be elements of a plot (that one can take or leave), but not the plot itself.
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alyeska
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 10:30 PM
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QUOTE (Poette @ Jul 12 2015, 09:44 PM)
shh... there was nothing here to begin with

long story short: i am a grouch who likes her romance a certain way, such that I might not like romance at all depending on your definition.


hey now… :c *pouts*
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XANDER
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 10:32 PM
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QUOTE (Poette @ Jul 12 2015, 09:44 PM)
IT DEPENDS

Some characters click; some take way more time to develop into the people who might actually have a thing for one another. It is vitally important to me that whoever I write with understand the boundaries between the rp characters and the authors themselves. What has grown into one of my biggest pet peeves are rpers who take what you write personally.

With anything, I like to do plotting. I will stay up late plotting whatever till dawn but when it comes down to it, the person who writes my posts is me. It is of the utmost importance that when I get down to writing, I’m not following outlines, but actually figuring out with the character what the next set of actions are. Personally, I don’t see the point in just following guidelines. If someone can’t react to a twist, then they are not someone who I will enjoy writing with. Some of the best writers follow formulas—there’s nothing wrong with that, but the nature of the game I play, is that the element of unpredictability is always a part of it.

That being said, it’s the same with romance. Maybe it happens, maybe it doesn’t. Maybe characters fall in love in plotting but turn out to hate one another. Plotting does not equal writing, is not set in stone, and will not be the last word on what happens in a rp.

And sometimes I twist a plot because I’m not feeling up to what we planned. It’s the flexibility and openness to work with what is given, not what has been planned. We all have our bad days when a certain scene is not going to work.

As for actually writing romance, I will confess it can be a guilty pleasure. I will soak it in the kerosene of sensuality and light it up. Though to be perfectly honest, it’s everything leading up to sexual scenes (as in, it doesn't have to end in sex, sex doesn't actually have to be the goal of the interaction, etc) that I find more interesting—and more what I define romance to be. Smut is a whole other topic devoted to a whole other board topic.

BUT

For fucks’ sake (yes, just for the double meaning), you find a lot of people don’t know the difference between romance and sex— or rather, who broadly define them together. So instead of finding someone who can work in the ‘grey’ space between ‘our characters don’t know they like one another’ and ‘bam they’re going to have sex,’ it’s just one or the other. Writing sex may be very important to some people—I don’t discount this, but I think that there’s a world of actually romancing and well-written sensuality that gets ignored.

And I love that shit. Of course, I’m the sick bastard who would devote entire rps to a format of love letters between characters who never meet because I think hyper-romance and/or the development of the intricacies of attraction when written excellently can be quite enjoyable. It’s not ‘sex or no sex’ because seriously how is that interesting? If a rper isn’t pleased with romance that doesn’t explicitly involve sex—I mean, what’s the point? Romance can be a component of sex, or sex can be a component of romance, but both exist separately for a reason.

And I often find that the people who can write romance write better sex because they know how to write more than two bodies fucking. Romance is about the build-up of intimacy, the testing the waters, the getting to know the characters.

But please please please

Characters in rp =/= The Rpers Themselves.
What happens in RP, stays in RP.
Seriously don’t go creepy on me. I’m here to write a story, not fulfill your wildest fantasies on demand, so don't throw a pouty party because things didn't go your way.

And frankly I do not care if it ends up in sex. There’s something weird about the rp world where people must define their Sex Limits in terms of:

No Limits (except ___, ____, ___)
Or
Fade to Black

Why aren’t there more people who just outright say, ‘our characters are not going to get sexual, and if you have a problem with that, don’t contact me?’ Because I’ll bet you there are a few of those ‘Fade to Black’ people who wish they could say that but are afraid to admit it. Or—as Ten said, offer up platonic rps.

I have this general outlook when it comes to limits that they may or may not be tested. Most of the time violence and language aren’t even close—it’s sex that becomes a problem because people use sex in rps for other personal means.  They don’t usually use violence and language to the same degree—I suspect.

I would like to believe I’m pretty laidback when it comes to romance—that I’m someone who can take it or leave it, but the truth is that I find pushy romance repulsive and neediness in rpers disgusting. When romance and sex become ‘plot,’ then you’ve lost the point of a story. Romance and sex should be elements of a plot (that one can take or leave), but not the plot itself.


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XANDER
 Posted on Jul 12 2015, 11:26 PM
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QUOTE (ten @ Jul 12 2015, 09:34 PM)
Character realizes.

Though I suppose the advice applies either way.

argument: characters realize nothing, as they are inanimate objects and creations of the writer. characters tell nothing, as they are imaginary figments of a writer's imagination, and they can only 'say' what writers put into their mouths. a character cannot think anything that their writer does not think first.

writers develop feelings, tendencies, or new ideas towards their characters or narratives: they decide a certain spin, angle, or story is better, even in the middle of other stories, even if it contradicts the history of the character.

example: the character does not decide to be asexual, or reveal they are asexual. you as the writer are aware of this from the beginning and reveal it selectively, or you as the writer decide you want to write the character as asexual, and do so.

to answer questions:

how do you all feel about writing romance in your roleplays? is it an important and/or necessary thing that happens?

romantic pairings in roleplay are like orange-colored candies: super reliable! you know what to expect! you can bank on them! if i can trust literally nothing else about where a roleplay goes, i can trust whatever sketchy romantic set-up i have agreed to prior to writing. orange-colored candies are orange-flavored. if nothing else, my character will presumably try to smash their character's face on your character's face, or vice versa.

ideally, this will happen in a way that makes sense for the characters and their personalities; it will make sense given the historical and emotional context; it will still be fun and surprising and i will not be able to predict literally everything your character is going to say/do (i am very good at this.) but no matter what BONUS TWISTS are there in the orange-colored candy - bonus creamsicle twist! liquid center! chocolate surprise! - it will have an orange aspect.

platonic roleplays are like yellow-colored candies: is it LEMON or is it BANANA or is it PINEAPPLE? is it GOOD FOR SURE or DISGUSTING or I'M JUST NOT IN THE MOOD FOR IT? do i want to take a chance on you, roleplayer equivalent of yellow-colored candy? probably not, because i'm old and grouchy and short on time.

do you prefer insta-romances and talking it out beforehand, or letting it build up 'naturally' depending on the chemistry between characters?

insta-romances bore me to tears, and i will not do them. i generally agree to things like 'DETECTIVE x DOCTOR' and leave everything else to chance.

how would you define 'chemistry' in a roleplay?

the natural rapport between characters, defined by the ability of the writers to craft believable but enjoyable conversations, circumstances, and follow-up interactions, as well as specifically write their characters in a way that allows the plot to self-generate. people who stick to their characterization so hard that characters have no reason to talk to each other again are the opposite of chemistry. people who stick to their romance plots so hard that they make their characters' histories and personalities into play-doh are also the opposite of chemistry.

how many people define sex as part of romance (a necessity, sometimes, not in the definition)?

not me, but my life is already filled with romances that don't resolve into sex so i generally do not want to write that shit out again
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Lucyfer
 Posted on Jul 13 2015, 12:27 AM
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QUOTE (XANDER @ Jul 12 2015, 11:26 PM)

argument: characters realize nothing, as they are inanimate objects and creations of the writer. characters tell nothing, as they are imaginary figments of a writer's imagination, and they can only 'say' what writers put into their mouths. a character cannot think anything that their writer does not think first.

writers develop feelings, tendencies, or new ideas towards their characters or narratives: they decide a certain spin, angle, or story is better, even in the middle of other stories, even if it contradicts the history of the character.

example: the character does not decide to be asexual, or reveal they are asexual. you as the writer are aware of this from the beginning and reveal it selectively, or you as the writer decide you want to write the character as asexual, and do so.


THANK YOU

-cough-

Now...

Since romance and pairings is a thing that frequently frustrates me in RP, I thought I'd go ahead and respond...

I'm going to be using examples. I'll spoiler them and try to summarize the gist of the spoiler for people who don't care about examples all that much.

~***~

How do you all feel about writing romance in your roleplays?

I do not mind writing romance in RPs.

Is it an important and/or necessary thing that happens?

As in life, romance is an important thing.

However, as in life, it is not necessary.

I have examples of RPs I’ve liked that have various romances (or not)

The first (Platonic):

One of my favorite RPs forever involved a Male and Female in a business relationship that was, more or less, hate-hate to start with. It grew as the characters developed into one of mutual respect, and mutual understanding of roles in life, and to each other. The male came to understand he was more of a follower, and not so good at leading. The female became secure in her leadership skills, and understood she actually needed people who would help.

It was fantastic, and romance was never even considered with these two. It lasted 3 years, I think.

  One of my favorites I’ve been in that lasted to the end involved the main characters Seren Vesper and Vastien Ba’al. It was a Faustian Contract situation, and so initially the two of them disliked each other. The relationship was based on a power struggle between the Contractor and Contractee.

They both, very much, had pride as a vice.

Their relationship developed from there, over time. The demon got acclimated to human society, and the human learned not to take him for granted. However, it never progressed to romance. They became friends, and they loved each other as friends, and as respected partners. Vastien learned to be a follower, and Seren became a true leader, and they had mutual respect for each other in those roles and didn’t look down on each other for what the other lacked. In the end, with the contract complete, the demon took the human’s soul but didn’t eat it. He chose to store it in a gem that would forever shine.


The second, a platonic and a build-up:

Basically, I'm playing a bromance on one side, and a build-up to a relationship on the other. The bromance was a thing my partner and I knew was going to happen from the outset, and the characters have worked for it. There's been no forcing it between them.

The romance was a bit of a surprise, and not discussed. As we played the characters out, we saw how well they got on. There were moments of sensuality as they both enjoyed dancing, they had similar tastes in lifestyles and likes, and their ability to "play" off each other--what became seen as chemistry. They've impressed each other, they've joked, they've shared, and they're falling for each other.

  An ongoing RP based on the Doctor Who fandom, nearing 2 years old. On one side, I’m developing the bromance between the Doctor and his companion, Donovan. No romance. It’s the lovely story of two men becoming like brothers to each other, and no romance is ever intended (the sexuality of Donovan is written straight, and River is involved in the Doctor’s story). Writing for the Doctor, and having him discover a male friend he can keep around has been one of the most enjoyable things ever, because I don’t have to write a Doctor that is inevitably going to fall for his companion. The character development here has been fantastic.

On the flip side is the Master and Maya, my OTP forever. It wasn’t discussed beforehand, and we didn’t develop the characters to be a match (read: we didn't develop them together or plan for a match, we made characters and threw them into the story together; they weren't created to be "not a match", either). Maya is a “triple threat”, actress-singer-dancer who met a Master without the drums in his head. Long story short, they’ve been falling for each other, and when the other writer and I noticed it, we started to actually plot it out. They had “chemistry”, and characters in the story have been noticing it. The Master and Maya, however, have yet to actually inform the other. Maya isn’t looking for romance, and the Master, having not experienced this while sane, doesn’t actually understand it just yet.


The Third (“insta”) was not my favorite, at all. My partner loved romance, and needed romance in the story, so she had it set up already that the main characters were going to get together. I played it out, but I always felt limited by the options, because I knew my partner wouldn't be happy if this didn't happen. As such, I sometimes altered the reaction of the character I played so that things wouldn't be too complicated.

This has also been the only RP where sex occurred, though it was a 'fade to black'. Though I enjoyed the story, the romance subplot didn't impress me. I played a lot of side characters in this >.>

   This was a part of the Royal series my partner and I did. My partner was very much into romance, which has become a problem in RPing with them. Though I do not regret it, I did find the Desiree and Cane story to be a bit unrealistic. I could tell my partner wanted them to hook up, and so I started to alter how I wrote Desiree for the sake of the romantic plot which…well, was frustrating. I’d redo quite a bit to make it more plausible. I’d redo a lot of that story to make it more plausible, though, mostly with some of the important side characters.

Oh Matthew, my love, you are and will forever be my favorite villain. “Isn’t that cozy?”


The Fourth (The One-Sided) was a tabletop "romance". My character basically impressed a GM NPC, and the two of them started off on a path towards corruption. Or the DM used his NPC to corrupt the hell out of mine, manipulating everything so my character fell in love with the NPC, to the point others were questioning: "Why are you doing that for him?"

It ended in tragedy, because the GM NPC was manipulating her the entire time. As such, he had to die when this was discovered.

  This occurred in a tabletop with Adria and Victor Vallenfort. Adria was adopted into the Vallenfort bloodline, and was in her own way, madly, and confusingly, in love with Victor Vallenfort, to the point she threw everything else to the wind. It was not instant, but developed. Victor Vallenfort saw the potential for a new toy, and he cultivated that through favors and apparent love—which Adria craved.

Then it all blew up in Chapter Two and I laughed and yelled at the DM for it, because Adria had to move through betrayal, indifference, and then into utter hatred, leading to the group letting her perform the coup de grace on Victor Vallenfort (the Story boss). And even before that twist to hatred, Victor had a chance to turn Adria back to him, and he squandered it. The chemistry was there, too.


Do you prefer insta-romances and talking it out beforehand, or letting it build up 'naturally' depending on the chemistry between characters?

So, based on those experiences, I prefer the build-up or no romance. Or, you know, the twisted, corrupt as hell romance that was the one-sided thing, because that was the most fun I ever had in a tabletop and I still yell at the GM for it (I can't wait for chapter 3).

The build up has been the only good romance I've played so far, and considering that RP is nearing two years old now, when I say build-up, I do mean build up.

Of course, this is true in the non-romance ones, too. There was a lot of character development in all of those good stories, that the Insta just didn't have, because things had to adapt to make sure the "main couple" would end up together.

I also don’t like to talk it out beforehand. It always feels forced. I want to see how the characters get on. I want to see if they have "chemistry".

Now then, as for the “bonus” question about Chemistry, and about Sex….

For the chemistry one:

Chemistry comes in many flavors. In life and in RPs, I tend to define it as the way that two people “play” off of each other. There are many ways to have chemistry, and not all of them are romantic. I have chemistry with my friend Jason, because we both know how to make the other facepalm, and we both know how to make the other become excited. We know how to continue jokes, in a way that makes us both happy.

We play. Chemistry is all about play.

Platonic spoiler:

  Seren and Vastien played off of each other in a beautiful way. Vastien deferred to Seren in public, and in private he did so sarcastically. Sarcasm made up about 75% of their chemistry, and it was how they “played”. It was where the sparks were. The other 25% was in mocking insecurities to build strength, and then comforting each other when one went too far. It was in coming to understand where that line was, and it was in supporting each other when one was weak and the other was strong. It was in the growing respect that came with accepting their individual places, and having respect for themselves. It was in the power dynamic.


Build up spoiler:


  The Master was the first to notice the chemistry when Maya and the Master were leaving Rome:

“Job well done. I think you and I make quite the team, don’t you? I daresay that we have got a natural chemistry.”

These two have chemistry in the way they play off of each other, moreso than Seren and Vastien. It helps they have similar tastes in luxury, fashion, and way of life. Mostly, they play a game of anticipation and expectation with each other. They’ve been able to figure out what the other wants, without it being said. In moments of crisis where they can’t discuss strategy, they’ve been good at giving each other cues to bring about the best actions. There’s been a lot of sensuality in this, too. Maya as a dancer has been dancing with the Master and teaching him more styles, and learning styles from him. This has also helped them in their “game”, since they’ve learned more about the body language.

The problem with this (that is coming up) is that their relationship is “shallow”—the past is never discussed, they live in the moment. In the present, it is clear they like who the other person is, but they don’t know how they’ve become that person.

The past was brought up for the Master, with the drums. The way we’re playing the drums in this thread is that they did, of course, drive him insane—but the Master without them is not so insane. So when the drums returned for a brief while, he lost it and became more like Harold Saxon. When he had a grip on his sanity again, he was able to explain, and Maya was able to understand.

The past of both is going to be explored more in the RP, because no one gets to escape it, and because the tourist-y shallowness of their relationship was going to end no matter what. They’ll build on the past scars, regrets, mistakes, and look to the future, and who they are now.


Insta Spoiler:

  Desiree and Cane didn’t…really have chemistry. There was one-sided affection that I then played into. As such, it’s never felt good. Cane and Desiree didn’t really play off of each other. They never really got to a point of understanding each other, and it always seemed the same mistakes were being made. The growth that would lead to that chemistry never occurred.


One-Sided Spoiler:

  Adria and Victor’s chemistry was fantastic. It was definitely King and Queen, the power-duo, even if they were to each other like Father and Daughter. There was a shared debauchery, and a shared love of power. Adria was willing to kneel for it, and Victor gave her someone to kneel to, and he rewarded that with power in all its forms: money, weapons, and souls (souls were a thing; my character ate souls—yes, it was absolutely frowned upon, and no one ever knew). They shared secrets, like the soul-eating thing. And that they had literal demons. However, Victor shared only what he needed to in order to earn Adria’s trust and affection. The secrets he kept ended up being his downfall when they were discovered, because, well…Adria killed him.

But when they had scenes together, everyone could see the powerful dynamic. The other players, in-character, commented on it. Scenes in the throne room, where Adria took her seat to the right of Victor, were always powerful. When the powerful Ivan was killed, Victor gave the soul to Adria rather than take it for himself. He manipulated things splendidly.

At the end, when he informed Adria she was a “nobody”, and the chemistry became explosive in hate, it was the most fun I’ve had in a combat situation. I used skills Adria normally didn’t use (weakening Victor to fire, utilizing the “good” throwing daggers, frenzy rolls). The hate made chemistry, so much so it ended Victor’s life when Adria caught his attention by doing the most damage with one, single, flaming dagger. He grew demonic claws, and nearly killed her on the spot—but the DM rolled poorly and he instead slipped in the mud and fell on his face, which had me pass my next turn because Adria was consumed with laughter. The coup de grace she was allowed, was given by the notorious Jimmy—a player known for being the troll of the group—and she killed Victor with his own sword.


On the matter of sex and romance:

Romance does not require sex. However, most of the time, romance leads to sex as a natural progression of becoming intimate and getting to know your partner better.

Sex, of course, doesn’t require romance.

So, I wouldn’t define sex as part of a romance, though romance usually won’t stay “chaste”. I don’t need to write it out, either. Most of the time, it fades to black with me in my writing. Sex is a part of life, I expect most of my characters will have it. I don't care to write it out 99% of the time, unless something about the sex is going to be important to the plot.

TL;DR?

1. Romance is fine, but it must build up.
2. Platonic shit is awesome. Or one-sided things. Or hate. Power Dynamics are fun.
3. Don't make me write sex unless it's important.
4. Insta-romance sucks.
5. Planned romance sucks.

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alyeska
 Posted on Jul 13 2015, 12:55 AM
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I am writing this all out of order because this is a very complex and broad subject, I know- and as a side note, I am super glad we all have a place like bm to discuss subjects like this. thank you lovely mods for your hard word and everyone for your participation woo. <3

~

OKAY SO. it's BACK (>:/)
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I am going to try (and probably fail) to keep my feelings on this separate between romance and sex. I have very complicated feelings about them both in general- and this could quite honestly pose it's own thread about the separation between writing and real life, and where each writer draws that line.

For me, personally, romance and sex are not mutually inclusive.

Romance is one of those things I am just not. good. at. (In fact, the same goes for 'smut', which probably attributes to my general dislike/aversion of both.) And I don't say this to be self deprecating, either. IRL I am very much a cynic when it comes to love and romance, and it shows in my writing.
No, sorry, all your friends hate you, and everyone you love either betrays you, or dies. Maybe both. Bonus points if it's by your hand.
(By Xander's analogy- my relationships are red flavored candies; maybe you're hoping for cherry, or strawberry, but it winds up more like cough syrup, or it's actually cinnamon flavored, and either way you're left with nothing but the taste of disappointment and regret.)

That being said, mandatory romance is one of the fastest ways to get me backing out of anything, right under mandatory smut, and I detest when these two go hand-in-hand.
  
not all sexual relationships are romantic not all romantic relationships are sexual not all sexual relationships are romantic not all romantic relationships are sexual !!!!


When you tell me that you need my character to love yours, whether now or ~down the road~, what I actually hear is: "I don't give a shit about your character."
Whether it's intentional or not, you have, with a single demand, managed to reduce my character down to "love interest." It doesn't matter what type of person they are, what their own personal feelings on love are, or what the plot is, what twists get thrown in, what character development gets sparked by any chain of events... Whatever happens, our characters are going to be interested in each other, and going to end up together.

And I'm sorry, I really am, but WHAT.

People change- and (y)our characters should too. If throughout the course of our roleplay, either of our characters remain static, I have obviously failed at presenting compelling or meaningful enough plot twists.
But even if, by the grace of some gods somewhere, I managed to come up with the most mind-blowing plot twist that is sure to knock your socks off, it still wouldn't matter.

Because, at the end of the day, nothing matters.
No matter what, the end result will still be the same.

Which poses another irritation to me in and of itself, because I am then faced with the daunting task of deciding.
Do I sacrifice genuine character development for the sake of romantic wish fulfillment ? Do I forgo oh-so-tempting plot twists so that our characters ? Or do we write completely disgenuine, improbably love, between two completely incompatible characters ?
(Obviously not, because I assume one of us {mee} will have ditched long before that point arises, but my point remains~)

And I'm not saying all of this, trying to come across awful romance monster who will eat everything that you love and shit out cough-syrup candies of despair.
I am so not opposed to following romance and seeing where it leads. I am down to traverse any road that a roleplay may come across.
I am not down for making it the one and only road that gets traveled, Robert Frost be damned.

When romance becomes the plot, it gets too… boring for me. Especially because, in my experience, it seems to devolve into this mushy, faux-Nicholas Sparks type thing, which downright makes my skin crawl. (Again, though, I am sure that reasonable amounts of this can be attributed to the fact that I am bad @ writing romance.)
Still, there are far more interesting things I would like to see played out inside of our imaginary world before we default to some strange arranged marriage type set up for our characters.

  A (short, non comprehensive) list of dynamics I am way more interested in exploring than mandatory romance;
  • reluctant allies fighting for a common goal
  • sworn enemies forced to work together
  • sword enemies fighting against each other
  • "evil" vs "good" when both sides have the same motive
  • friendships soured by distrust, betrayal, secrets, scandals, time in general, etc
  • "you have something i need and vice versa"
  • "i hate you but i'm stuck with you"
  • alliances of convenience or mutual need (which i guess could fall under the 1st)
  • unrequited love and bonus power imbalances
  • actual arranged marriages between completely incompatible strangers who may or may not already be in love with someone else


What I'm saying is, I think there are an overwhelming amount of "pairings" out there with a wealth of potential that go completely unexplored simply because they happen to be platonic, or at the very least not explicitly romantic or sexual. And I understand that everything I listed could go both or either way, as well, which is fine. If/when it happens. It's when it becomes necessary that I become ready to climb out of my skin and fly far, far away from whatever set up I have foolishly agreed to.

For me, the build up is important, and if it turns out that our characters ~just don't like each other~, I do not want to be left feeling as though somewhere, the roleplay "failed", or that it has to be over, simply because of a development in the way our characters feel (or the way we as writers have decided our characters will feel, I suppose).

Either way, it is irritating as hell to me, and if you even try coming @ me with that instant-anything, I will fly into the sun on frail wings of vanity and wax~

So, I guess, to answer my own questions, no, romance is neither important nor necessary. (And sex is even less so...)
And I know this whole thing makes me sound like a huge grump, but… I honestly appreciate them as, like, side elements ? But I have to agree with Poette: I think you lose out on very important points of a story when you literally force the plot to revolve around romance between characters as a necessity.

okay, now xander really needs to take away my edit/WRITE post option.

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TLDR;
I am a grumpy old person and I will eat your mushy romance bullshit.

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bird
 Posted on Jul 13 2015, 12:35 PM
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tl;dr -- I agree with xander (mostly) and otherwise contribute little to the discussion


1. to be honest it's not a huge necessity for me?? but i suppose it depends on ~how you define romance~.

let me go on a quick tangent here though with some personal anecdotes:

for a long time i avoided most romantic pairings entirely because i was kind of tired of getting pigeon-holed into writing a certain role a certain way to meet the expectations of my partner, which seems a sentiment that isn’t too unusual. roleplaying in general is definitely a give and take sort of thing but, at the time, i got frustrated not with writing romance in and of itself, but from the really static nature of a lot of romantic plots i was seeing in the communities i hung around in at the time. i just wasn't that excited by a lot of romantic plots that i'd see, and the sort of pre-determined, instantaneous romances had a lot of beats that i wasn't too interested in exploring or just felt really false or unrealistic to me. (which is not, in and of itself, a criticism of romance in writing, but at the time i got so frustrated that i would knee-jerk and drop most romantic stuff like the plague).

and at the time i think a lot of this was partially me being a bit of a snob too: let's keep it platonic, i said! i want to write serious plots, i said! realism is the most important thing, i said, writing hilariously stunted, stilted characters (please look back on the early days of the thread that xander and i had, c. 2010). truly the only legitimate writing out there is the kind with alienated, hard-bitten characters who grimly tolerate one another and have shitty, dysfunctional sex lives, because that’s what felt realistic to me. never mind that *that* is a dumb trope in and of itself, and plots with romance in them aren't necessarily uninteresting or unserious. but, you know, i was a butt about it and keen to be a SRS WRITR. i didn't want to be stuck writing some weird christian grey proxy or a hot dominant manly muscle man to you to smooch; i didn't want to just be like, idk, the seme to your uke~~~ or whatever else i was writing up until that point. at a time when most people you'd run into on the boards were teenagers, and especially teenage girls, and especially teenage girls trying out relationship dynamics and sexuality and stuff in the safe comforting space that is the internet, i folded my arms and declared myself to be ~above all that~ and ~not like everybody else~ and set my sights on writing stuff that was honestly no less (perhaps more) derivative or silly. in my quest to avoid dumb, formulaic romance plots, i failed to realize that platonic roleplays can be just as dumb and formulaic.

in the last five years or so my writing and my *views* on writing have changed a lot. i also write a lot less and generally don't trawl ads as much as i used to, and i got over a lot of my own internalized bullshit re: legitimacy, sexuality, and all that dumb stuff. also i realized: writing affection is fun! writing characters who care about each other, romantically or otherwise, is fun! i might be bad at it, but that's no reason to try, and that's no reason to assume it can't be interesting. romantic relationships are incredibly variable beyond two coffee dates and a jump in the sack (or whatever de rigeur is for you kids), and, also, i think that it's easier to imagine long, messy, intense romantic relationships for most people than it is to imagine long, messy, platonic relationships because that's kind of the way we tend to structure our lives. i guess, most of the time, i just want relationships between characters -- romantic or otherwise -- to be a little bit more grounded in realism -- although, if we WERE being realistic a lot of romance would consist of people cruising tinder or hanging out playing video games for hours together or getting mad because it's the boyfriend's turn to do the laundry this week and he fucking didn't -- seriously, again with this, Steve?! -- and nobody wants to write that.

to circle back to the original question: in xander's analogy, i am now an unabashed candy eater of all stripes, even if i still kind of shy away from romantic plots where romance is the backbone of the plot, and a lot of the stuff out there i just don't find that personally titillating. i still hate writing the Designated Love Interest but it's not as if it's an either/or thing, and most writers i know now hate that as much as i do. generally speaking, i am cautious around orange candy, because i got a few bad ones and maybe a few gave me an allergic reaction, but my palate has changed and now i know where to look for all sorts of orange-related flavours i can enjoy. i think that i also enjoy the ~surprise~ of yellow candies a little more than xander does; i still love most platonic roleplays and i generally treat most plots as platonic first with the possibility of things getting weird or emotionally messy later. to conclude, i don't mind romance now; i just don't actively seek it out.


2. insta-romance is boring for me, personally, unless i really like you as a writer and i know where you're going with it. in any case it's more fun for me to write people who grow together or change together and like (or dislike) each other more over time than it is to sit around and guess what your character might find attractive so that the resulting relationship feels believable.


3. personally, i don't. and on a related note to (2), i find characters who are sexually attracted to each other from the get-go a lot more plausible than characters who are romantically attracted at the start, but that might be me projecting my own personal experiences of relationships and attraction on things. as a result, i think that i'm more likely to write sex without romance than romance without sex because that just feels truer for *me* to write based on my own experiences. also -- ffrankly -- i'm more likely to like writing smut than i am writing two people gazing dreamily at each other from across a table in a coffee shop. i will save my dreamy gazes for real life, where i am awkward, and also not a mentally unstable giant russian or a spaceship captain or a cat burglar in the future or whatever else i am writing when i am trying, trying so hard to be realistic.

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bird
 Posted on Jul 13 2015, 01:54 PM
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XANDER
 Posted on Jul 13 2015, 01:58 PM
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QUOTE (bird @ Jul 13 2015, 12:35 PM)
tl;dr -- I agree with xander (mostly) and otherwise contribute little to the discussion


1. to be honest it's not a huge necessity for me?? but i suppose it depends on ~how you define romance~.

let me go on a quick tangent here though with some personal anecdotes:

for a long time i avoided most romantic pairings entirely because i was kind of tired of getting pigeon-holed into writing a certain role a certain way to meet the expectations of my partner, which seems a sentiment that isn’t too unusual. roleplaying in general is definitely a give and take sort of thing but, at the time, i got frustrated not with writing romance in and of itself, but from the really static nature of a lot of romantic plots i was seeing in the communities i hung around in at the time. i just wasn't that excited by a lot of romantic plots that i'd see, and the sort of pre-determined, instantaneous romances had a lot of beats that i wasn't too interested in exploring or just felt really false or unrealistic to me. (which is not, in and of itself, a criticism of romance in writing, but at the time i got so frustrated that i would knee-jerk and drop most romantic stuff like the plague).

and at the time i think a lot of this was partially me being a bit of a snob too: let's keep it platonic, i said! i want to write serious plots, i said! realism is the most important thing, i said, writing hilariously stunted, stilted characters (please look back on the early days of the thread that xander and i had, c. 2010). truly the only legitimate writing out there is the kind with alienated, hard-bitten characters who grimly tolerate one another and have shitty, dysfunctional sex lives, because that’s what felt realistic to me. never mind that *that* is a dumb trope in and of itself, and plots with romance in them aren't necessarily uninteresting or unserious. but, you know, i was a butt about it and keen to be a SRS WRITR. i didn't want to be stuck writing some weird christian grey proxy or a hot dominant manly muscle man to you to smooch; i didn't want to just be like, idk, the seme to your uke~~~ or whatever else i was writing up until that point. at a time when most people you'd run into on the boards were teenagers, and especially teenage girls, and especially teenage girls trying out relationship dynamics and sexuality and stuff in the safe comforting space that is the internet, i folded my arms and declared myself to be ~above all that~ and ~not like everybody else~ and set my sights on writing stuff that was honestly no less (perhaps more) derivative or silly. in my quest to avoid dumb, formulaic romance plots, i failed to realize that platonic roleplays can be just as dumb and formulaic.

in the last five years or so my writing and my *views* on writing have changed a lot. i also write a lot less and generally don't trawl ads as much as i used to, and i got over a lot of my own internalized bullshit re: legitimacy, sexuality, and all that dumb stuff. also i realized: writing affection is fun! writing characters who care about each other, romantically or otherwise, is fun! i might be bad at it, but that's no reason to try, and that's no reason to assume it can't be interesting. romantic relationships are incredibly variable beyond two coffee dates and a jump in the sack (or whatever de rigeur is for you kids), and, also, i think that it's easier to imagine long, messy, intense romantic relationships for most people than it is to imagine long, messy, platonic relationships because that's kind of the way we tend to structure our lives. i guess, most of the time, i just want relationships between characters -- romantic or otherwise -- to be a little bit more grounded in realism -- although, if we WERE being realistic a lot of romance would consist of people cruising tinder or hanging out playing video games for hours together or getting mad because it's the boyfriend's turn to do the laundry this week and he fucking didn't -- seriously, again with this, Steve?! -- and nobody wants to write that.

to circle back to the original question: in xander's analogy, i am now an unabashed candy eater of all stripes, even if i still kind of shy away from romantic plots where romance is the backbone of the plot, and a lot of the stuff out there i just don't find that personally titillating. i still hate writing the Designated Love Interest but it's not as if it's an either/or thing, and most writers i know now hate that as much as i do. generally speaking,  i am cautious around orange candy, because i got a few bad ones and maybe a few gave me an allergic reaction, but my palate has changed and now i know where to look for all sorts of orange-related flavours i can enjoy. i think that i also enjoy the ~surprise~ of yellow candies a little more than xander does; i still love most platonic roleplays and i generally treat most plots as platonic first with the possibility of things getting weird or emotionally messy later. to conclude, i don't mind romance now; i just don't actively seek it out.


2. insta-romance is boring for me, personally, unless i really like you as a writer and i know where you're going with it. in any case it's more fun for me to write people who grow together or change together and like (or dislike) each other more over time than it is to sit around and guess what your character might find attractive so that the resulting relationship feels believable.


3. personally, i don't. and on a related note to (2), i find characters who are sexually attracted to each other from the get-go a lot more plausible than characters who are romantically attracted at the start, but that might be me projecting my own personal experiences of relationships and attraction on things. as a result, i think that i'm more likely to write sex without romance than romance without sex because that just feels truer for *me* to write based on my own experiences.  also -- ffrankly -- i'm more likely to like writing smut than i am writing two people gazing dreamily at each other from across a table in a coffee shop. i will save my dreamy gazes for real life, where i am awkward, and also not a mentally unstable giant russian or a spaceship captain or a cat burglar in the future or whatever else i am writing when i am trying, trying so hard to be realistic.


quoted so you can't edit into oblivion either
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bird
 Posted on Jul 13 2015, 02:01 PM
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XANDER
 Posted on Jul 14 2015, 01:19 AM
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(please look back on the early days of the thread that xander and i had, c. 2010)

my roleplays last longer than some marriages

that's how committed i am to shoveling orange candy into my face
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