Write realistic relationships

I love to browse psychology-today and my brain always tries to apply new epiphanies to story writing. So this post is about something that bothers me in fiction on a regular basis. Relationships – mostly romantic ones. How easily they are build between characters that have nothing in common, except that the author wants them to be together.

Based on two different articles, this post will have to parts. Why characters might be attracted to each other and why they might finally fall in love.


When the article “The 11 Reasons We Fall in Love” appeared on Psychology Today, I made a writing article on the book platform I was active on back in the days.

You may search for laws of attraction and find many interesting articles. I recently came across a video from Psyc2Go “6 Weird Things Others May Find Attractive About You”. Just think about the many reasons, why your characters may notice each other for the first time.

The characters in question

The post is titled with relationships. This isn’t exclusively romantic ones (I would have use the word romance then). Attraction and relationship may also build between friends, allies and – yes – lovers. Of every gender and fictional or non-fictional race.

These are no complete lists. I may add to them later and you can post additions in the comments.

First attraction

  • There is attraction, when the other person reminds your character of their parents – especially when they have a good relationship. For stories, the parent in question should be introduced first.
  • Watching a horror film together is a bonding experience for your characters. For sure this also applies to a horrific real life experience, as you will see in the next list.
  • Characters seem more attractive, when they are musicians, as music is associated with a high intellect. Bonus points for a bard or rockstar, right?
  • There is attraction towards a character, that gets anxious, whenever the heroin approaches. It makes them feel special.
  • A characters ovulation produces attractiveness – in both directions. The heroin might get attracted much easier, but she also is more attractive to potential partners.
  • Eating your fruits and vegetables makes you more attractive. The explanation includes a healthy body odor. So maybe your apple eating villain is therefore more attractive than his cop twin brother with a coffee to go.

Building the bond

This is meant for falling in love, but I feel it’s as good for platonic friendships. I also only list six of eleven points that to me fittet best into the writing world, but feel free to explore the rest of them.

  • Similarities make a bond. Being in the same school, class or company, as well as being a misfit or sharing a weird hobby.
  • Being physically close to each other helps feeling close to each other. Neighbors, colleges, people that meet on a regular basis. This also means to spend time together, on a cruise or the stories adventure. So put the princess into the crew instead of rescuing her!
  • Simple, superficial attraction, cause by good looks, intellect or other desirable attributes. A selection of nature and good genes.
  • When another character shows her affection, chances are that the heroin grew fond of her. Being liked makes you like them back – it’s as easy as that.
  • Social influences. This is everybody else being convinced that two characters would perfectly fit each other, as well as being paired up by friends or even being married by their parents. This for sure is no guarantee, but feelings may follow naturally.
  • The extraordinary. The mysterious, riddles and open questions that surround this particular character. Anything that makes them interesting, even if it’s an obscure hobby.

Apply the lesson

Whenever two characters are meant to end in a relationship (platonic or romantic), ask yourself WHY. This has to be sold to the reader to not feel forced or artificial. Even love at first sight must build on attraction and the building of a relationship better follows right away.

Give the characters a reason to bond. Even by reading the list above, my brain creates funny or unusual reasons why two fundamentally different characters might end up with each other.

This posts reminds me, that I have to check in at psychology blogs more often in the future. Writing advice is everywhere!
How do you create your couples and friendships?


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