Decision Making for My Characters

I hit a pause button on my novel while I was finishing up my summer poetry project (a collection of poems by myself and several other poets from my writing group, publication pending.) And my children’s novel took center stage while I was trying to figure out what to do with the artwork. I knew that while these other projects were going on, my novel would suffer if I attempted to write while so distracted. As I’m sure you noticed, I had to put a pause on my blog as well.

But now my poetry project is all but done, and the fall session of my two writing groups will be recommencing this week, so I am un-pausing on both my blog and my novel.

As I re-read what I was working on with my novel, I remembered why it was so easy to pause in the first place.

I have a choice to make for my characters, and for the content of my story. I’m struggling with what feels like a natural development between two of my main characters. My story revolved around a male character named Jeremy. There are two other characters who tell parts of the story that Jeremy is not present for, both female. One is entirely too noble and old to be a love interest. The other works very closely with Jeremy, and is young and interesting enough to develop a romance with. The recipe for love, or at the very least lust, is already there, but honestly the story does not need it. It might be interesting to explore, but it would not impact the story one bit if the two characters never envisioned one another naked. It would be complete if they were simply friends.

But it still begs the question. Would it be a benefit to the story to add a love interest for Jeremy? Does it really expand the story? Is it too cliché?  It would certainly add another layer of conflict to the story being that she is human and he is not.

I hesitate to add romance because it seems very commercial. There is a boy and a girl, and they are in love. YAY! I want to be taken seriously as a writer, and I don’t want the love story element to overpower the storyline I originally came up with. But as a serious writer, and on the advice of many other writers I know, I want to let the characters take their own course. So I suppose the real dilemma I am faced with is how I want my characters perceived by the reader. Will making my leading lady a love interest make her feel ditzy and frivolous? Will it take away from her independent personality? Will it take my story from being in the sci-fi/Fantasy genre and place it firmly in the romance section?

Feel free to tell me what you think in the comments section below.

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