This isn’t what it looks like… But how do I show readers that?

Forums Fiction General Writing Discussions This isn’t what it looks like… But how do I show readers that?

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  • #121789
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    Ahh, the love triangle.  Peeta or Gale (I always voted Peeta on that one. Sorry, Gale)? Westley or Prince Humperdinck (well, that one’s not so hard)? Luke or Han Solo (again, not so hard, considering that Luke’s her brother, but I guess Leia didn’t get that)?

    Buuut, that’s not what I’m going for. In fact, I’m trying not to include much/any romance because I don’t feel mature or ready enough to write it.  Nope, I’m not trying to do a love triangle.  Small problem, though. It really looks like I am in my WIP.

    I took a step back, looked at it, and realized, This looks like a love triangle, through and through. 

    But, again, that’s totally not what I’m aiming for! I was going for something more along the lines of a friendship between two guys and a gal that goes through times where they feel like murdering each other at one point, crying on the other’s shoulder, annoying one another to death, betraying each other, but eventually sacrificing everything for the other.

    But, due to certain stuff that happens, it really does like I’m making the gal choose between the two guys. I bet it’s hard to advise someone on this without knowing the characters, details, or plot (maybe even impossible), but do any tips come to mind that could help me in my predicament?

     

     

    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    #121790
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    *it really does look like… etc. Sorry! Typo

    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    #121826
    The Fledgling Artist
    @the-fledgling-artist

    Hmm, is adjusting their ages out of the question? If the girl is significantly older or younger than the guys readers may be less likely to consider shipping anyone. (The bigger the age gap, the less likely, haha. Might need to be more than a couple years) Personally, this is my favorite go-to when I don’t want characters to get shipped together. 😂

    Or.. she could be related to them? Cousins maybe? I realize that this might not be a possible option for you, so I’ll let you know if I think of anything else. <.>

    Or, yk, you could just write them how you want and not stress about whether or not readers ship them, haha. If you don’t want it to be romantic, then just don’t write the characters with romantic feelings, haha. Right??

    "Though I'm not yet who I will be, I'm no longer who I was."

    #121845
    Zee
    @zee

    I don’t really know anything about your story, but just off the top of my head, some possible solutions might be–make them all siblings (or like @the-fledgling-artist suggested, cousins could work too, in some cultures.) Or you could make all three characters guys. Or girls. Unless having them be different genders is vital to the story. Good luck!

    #121852
    Josiah DeGraaf
    @josiah

    I like the suggestions you’ve received so far. Age gaps or a family connection both seem like a good solution to this problem. Alternatively, you could also just say that there’s nothing you can do to keep readers from shipping them together, but that’s on them, not you, and you can just ignore whatever they may or may not read into it.

    Lit fanatic. Eclectic reader. Theology nerd. Writing fantasy at https://josiahdegraaf.com

    #121920
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    @the-fledgling-artist @zee @josiah

    Wow, every single one of those suggestions is SUPER helpful.  Thank you guys so much!  And that’s very true about readers shipping characters whether you meant them to or not.  I’ve heard people put the strangest couples together from books I love, even if the author couldn’t have made it clearer that he or she didn’t want them to go together.  I suppose readers will always twist things around.

    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    #121942
    Lona
    @lonathecat

    @mischievous-thwapling

    I’d agree with the ideas people have given so far; make an age gap or make them relatives.

    But, if you’d like to keep the ages as they are, or would like to have them not related, then here is yet another idea. 😀

    Really close friends tend to act like they are related. So, the more your characters act like siblings, then I think the less likely your readers are to ship them. For example, the guys could ruffle the girl’s hair, or the girl could tease the boys about pretty village girls. Another example would be that all three couldn’t care less about what the others think of them, at least in terms of appearance (meaning, like if the girl doesn’t brush her hair for three days she won’t worry about if the guys will think less of her for it, or the guys be worried that they have to be all macho manly to show off in front of a girl.)

    Hope this is useful. 😛

     

    #121974
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    @lonathecat

    Wow… that is REALLY smart.  Thank you!! That’s super helpful! I actually have the perfect situation for the girl teasing one of the guys about a pretty girl… I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to include it, but now… I totally will! (Obviously) Thank you so much, Lona.

    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    #121992
    Lona
    @lonathecat

    @mischievous-thwapling

    Happy to be of service! 😀

    #122000
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    @lonathecat

    Yeah, thank you for lending your time to my predicament! 😛

    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    #122019
    Zee
    @zee

    @mischievous-thwapling, I can see why it would be frustrating/annoying to have your story misinterpreted like this, but in a sense, that’s a big part of the fun of being a writer who actually has readers. Once your story is out there in the world, it’s not entirely yours anymore–suddenly you’re sharing it with loads of people you’ve never met, who may have completely different backgrounds and points of view than you do…

    This happened to me recently with my latest book, when an early reader saw it as the story of a guy faithfully pursuing a hardened, abandoned woman. (It actually was a romance, BTW.) I could see that interpretation made sense, but I meant it to be (among other things) the story of a discouraged and overall lame guy finding courage and new purpose in his determination to protect this woman.  In a way, she’s supposed to be his shining ideal, rather than the other way around.

    So has anybody else had readers come up with new, unexpected interpretations of your stories? Or just read them completely (infuriatingly? hilariously?) wrong? @lonathecat? @josiah? @the-fledgling-artist?

    #122062
    Mischievous Thwapling
    @mischievous-thwapling

    @zee

    You’re right! Having people see something you created in an entirely different way than you could’ve imagined really is part of the fun.

    Wow, that sounds like an awesome book! That is interesting that the reader saw it in such a different way than you intended. But you’re right again; everybody has such unique back rounds and POVs that no one can truly tell beforehand the reaction someone might have to something…

    Never be afraid to trust an unknown future to a known God.
    ~Corrie Ten Boom

    #122080
    Lona
    @lonathecat

    @zee

    I agree with Thwapling, your book sounds really interesting!

    I haven’t had anyone interpret a whole story as something other than what I wanted them to, yet. Though, what has happened way too many times is my sister or friend will nag me over and over again about the side characters who have no love interests. They’ll say I need to make them fall for each other and then have one of them die a dramatic death. Meanwhile I’m just thinking “there are two main characters in love with each other! And one of them comes very close to dying! You’re supposed to care about them! Not these side guys!” Every… single… time… 😛

    #122083
    Zee
    @zee

    Then maybe you just need to write a series and have them feature as main characters in another book, @lonathecat. (But you could leave out the dramatic death, of course.)

    #122115
    Lona
    @lonathecat

    @zee

    Hmm, maybe so. 🙂

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