I usually create the hero first. As I mentioned last week, I follow these steps:
- I choose a personality from one of several personality types. I don't follow this exclusively. I sometimes combine personalities or I add characteristics of my own. But this gives me a baseline to start with.
- Next I give my character a great backstory! I do this by interviewing my character, by filling out a character chart and listing good and bad qualities.
- I find a picture that matches what I thnk he or she looks like (I usually just browse online or go to a royalty-free photo website)
- And lastly I create both a spiritual arc and character arc for my character.
So now I have my hero. What about a heroine to match?
To create an interesting relationship, you need sparks, chemistry, problems. Let's face it, as nice as a great, loving relationship is, it doesn't make for an interesting read. You want your couple to face problems, both with each other and with the world. They must clash. There must be tension between them, obstacles to overcome. In fact, there must be seemingly unsurrmountable obstacles to overcome! Otherwise, your reader will lose interest. I'm not sure why we humans love conflict but hey, that's a topic for another post.
So how do I choose my heroine? In the case of the book I'm currently writing, Forsaken Dreams, my hero was a Colonel in the Southern army. He lost his brother in the war and his entire family in the Atlanta fire. He suffers from Post traumatic stress syndrome and is bitter, unforgiving, and angry. He hates the North and anything to do with the north.
So, I created a heroine who was married to a Northern General. Though her husband is long dead and her marriage was loveless, she hides this small fact from everyone because she knows her fellow Southerners would ostrasize her as her family has already done.
So of course they fall in love. Talk about conflict! Especially when my hero discovers the truth. But wait, I've also chosen my heroine this way because her past will help my hero learn forgiveness and learn to release his bitterness to God and receive healing for his heart.
Choose a heroine who in some way is in direct opposition to the hero.
- A goal that clashes with the heroes (Think Charlisse and Merrick in The Redemption)
- A past that the hero cannot accept (Think Hope and Nathaniel in The Blue Enchantress)
- A past act that keeps them apart (Think Isabel and Kent in The Restitution)
- A heritage that makes them an enemy (Think Rose and Alex in Surrender the Night)
- A past that causes intense mistrust (Think Cassandra and Luke in Surrender the Dawn)
Once you have a general idea of your heroine, you can follow the same steps to flesh her out as I used to create my hero.
And voila, you have the makings of a very electric romance!