Steel Accord

Romantic sub-plot

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So I'm revisiting my old fanfic that I never finished. Specifically my first ever. Let me start off by saying Jesus Christ I was bad! I mean I'm ashamed to have written this crap and this is like my third draft of it! With that out of the way, there are parts of it I'm actually impressed with myself about and I think hold up even by my current and admittedly meager standards of quality. Near the top of that list is the love interest character Saffron Sets.

Having come from an emotionally abusive household with an absentee mother, Sarah fled her alcoholic father to go to Equestria and begin her life anew. While ponification didn't solve all of her problems, it was a step in the right direction as she makes her own friends and connections that give her a sense of self-worth she never had before. Now, as Saffron Sets, she's even accepted into Celestia's academy for gifted unicorns to explore and develop in her passion of mathematics. After something of a falling out with a dear friend of hers, said friend manages to track down Saffron's mother, now a pony living in Appleloosa and the two of them share in a tear-filled reunion and reconciliation that finally lets Saffron grow out of the arrested development she had been in since her mother left.

So . . . yeah. I fully fleshed out character with an arc that is observed by but not dependent on the main character, her love interest, to be there for its inception or completion.

Now though, I'm wondering. Is this a character I should keep? I mean as much as she is a three-dimensional character, she doesn't necessarily need to serve the plot. She's introduced as early as chapter three and her and the main character's relationship develops very quickly. Which on the one hoof, is kind of refreshing. Instead of dragging out the build up of a relationship between two characters and having them get together near the end with a big damn kiss accompanied by an orbital camera shot; meet cute, first date, first kiss, first fight, make up, here's the rest of the story and these two are an item throughout.

On the other hoof, it means that potential love interest characters and teases are effectively locked out as the story develops. Canon AND OC. It also might be fair to consider that maybe Saffron's story sounds a bit too . . . Oscar bait to put it in terms.

So I suppose it simply comes down to what makes a better story? An early met, quickly established romantic relationship that lasts the whole story or wait for the adventure to begin and the romance is part of the overall quest?

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Is the main character the friend who helps Saffron? If not, you might need to involve them more.  There's probably some way to work them in even if they aren't technically necessary for Saffrons arc.  Maybe think less about how the MC contributes to Saffrons arc, and more about how Saffrons arc affects the MC, and how what they learn from it is useful in the main conflict.  In any case, I don't think there's anything wrong with a relationship that spends most of the story in a completed state.  Romantic subplots have a way of swallowing the main story, so there's real danger in trying to jam one in for extra drama.  Also, a decent love interest is a fantastic supporting character that the main character can play off of.

Its difficult to say more without knowing the themes, tone, and general plot.

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On 11/22/2018 at 10:29 PM, Adderbane said:

Is the main character the friend who helps Saffron?

Oh yeah it is, I was just trying to sort of demonstrate how Saffron passes "the Mako Mori test" of love interests being complete characters outside of being love interests. As for the rest of the plot, here's the general run down.

  1. Conversion Bureau story. If you know what that is already, skip this. If you don't, it basically means Equestria has opened up clinics on Earth for humans to "ponify" and go to Equestria.
  2. Family wants to ponify and go to Equestria. One of the brothers doesn't want to even though doing so is the only way to save his life from a terrible disease.
  3. Main character goes through with it and ends up pulling off a heroic act that gets press coverage in both worlds.
  4. Brother goes AWOL in an attempt to find the cure.
  5. Main character tries to track him down and they both end up encountering a web of conspiracy that could end both worlds.
Edited by Steel Accord

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It looks like a chunk of the story involves mc trying to reconcile with his brother. This ties directly to helping Saffron reconcile with her mother.

Saffron and her arc definitely passes the story relevancy test.

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@Adderbane

Well about that. Saffron’s reconciliation arc is meant to sort of be “done” more or less by halfway through the story. Although I suppose I could stretch it out, maybe send them to some mother-daughter counseling with Glimmer.

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