So this is building on what I talked about in last week's entry, which was based on the two entries before it. Next week's entry will be about the entirety of five and a half years of blogging here.
No, probably not.
Today I'm talking about what seems like the next level up from arranged marriages: plot devices that give two (or more) characters some sort of unbreakable bond, including but not limited to them falling in love with each other. This can be instant or build over time, it can be subtle or ridiculously blatant, so on and so forth - there are dozens of variations I can think of right now and I'm sure the rest of you could come up with hundreds more. This sort of thing has been around since the early days of storytelling and anyone who's heard more than a few fairy tales is surely familiar with it.
And, like arranged marriages, it's a trope I like but have no idea if I actually want to work with it. Some of my reasoning is the same, largely the part about not forcing characters together. Yet this concept can lead to so much conflict, meaning it can fuel a great many stories.
It also can make things ridiculously uncomfortable, especially if the bond involves attraction and/or love. I can see it being played for laughs, but being attracted to someone not because you want to be, but because you're somehow compelled to be? Up to and including being in love with that person? Something about that just rubs me wrong.
It should come as no surprise, then, that my last attempt at this didn't go well. Last year, in an attempt to make one of the too-damn-many things I was working on actually work, I decided to spend a month on one story idea. The basic idea was that people in that world who bonded with familiars (magical animals) gained additional abilities, so it was a desirable thing. The plot started with three characters accidentally bonding with each other as familiars. There are a lot of reasons why it didn't work out, and one of them was that I started feeling more than a little iffy about the relationship between the three main characters.
I thought that bringing the three of them together would lead to interesting conflict and character development, ultimately ending with something fulfilling for them that made their lives better. Instead, it felt like a glorified plot device that only made them all mad and uncomfortable.
So, yeah. I'm still not sold on this one, and I doubt I'll use it again, at least not as a driving thing. But Tonja brought up a good point on last week's entry: if something's important to the story, then it needs to be in the story. It's one of those things that seems so simple, but it's easy to forget. While there are things I won't write, just being iffy about an idea shouldn't be why I decide not to put it into a story, especially if the story absolutely needs to have that thing.
This has been a bit more of a ramble than I expected, and I'm not sure if I actually made the point I was hoping for, so I'll cut this off here. See y'all next week for IWSG.