I’ve got a question for you.
I recently came up with a plot for a story, and (of course) I’d like to have a cute lil romantic subplot as well. The main character is going to be bisexual.
Which would you rather? The choice to have ONE female or ONE male love interest (you pick at the beginning of the story), or one male and one female love interest for all readers?
PRO of choice A: one LI, which is my preference, so you can get closer to them and really develop a romantic relationship with them and them alone.
CON of choice A: branching! It’s going to be difficult to redo the scene and make sure each branch has everything done correctly. Because branching will be difficult, I may have to reduce the number of impactful choices the reader makes as well.
PRO of choice B: easier to code, allows for me to not have to worry about branching & I will therefore be able to focus on other choices (and other aspects) within the story.
CON of choice B: two love interests, and I don’t want anyone to feel forced into having one that they “should” be with. Also, I tend to prefer single-LI stories, so that you can really develop a relationship solely with them - with two LIs, you can’t do that as easily.
I mean, it depends. How long is the story? If it’s on the shorter side, let’s say under 15 episodes, it makes sense to have only one LI. Though my preference would be to also have a non-romance option but only because there are a lot of LIs I don’t like. Which is my main issue with one LI stories. So I guess it depends on how your LI is characterized. But I do agree you have more opportunities to develop a deeper connection with only one LI.
The other thing to consider is, if you have two - are you using characters that are already part of the story? If so, I like 2 LIs so I can get to know each of them. But I wouldn’t recommend creating an entirely new character for the sake of offering 2 LIs. If you have 2 LIs and they aren’t equally as important for developing the characters and plot, I’d stick with just the one.
But if you’re going to take on the branching of 1 LI with gender choice, it’s important to make sure you’ve developed the character in such a way that they make sense as either M or F. I’m in the minority of people who prefer more than one LI generally because the romance aspect for me is just a fun like…side project lol. But if you want the romantic subplot to be important for the development of the main plot, one LI makes for a more believable relationship.
I’ll also say that I feel like having two complex and three-dimensional potential LIs is a lot less likely to come across as the MC just being bisexual for diversity clout. Not that it would feel like that necessarily; I’m just saying a lot of fake ally authors do this exact thing - aka make the route be the exact same except for pronoun changes.
The best solution for any individual story really depends on the story length too.
Well, regardless of the MC’s choice, she has an ex-girlfriend & a crush on a guy. She’s bi. Period.
I’d hate to be an author that uses queer characters for clout. I hope I didn’t come off that way!
I’m just debating…
To be frank, the story idea just popped into my head. I’m not sure how to start it, how long it’ll be, or even how it’ll end! I’m gonna need help with all of that. I just wanted to create this thread for y’all’s opinions.
Originally, I hoped to make a nonbinary love interest. I decided to make that non-binary character belong elsewhere in the story. However, they have some similar traits to this LI. The LI would be a little bit different based on gender choice - in terms of the way they speak, dress, and their interests - but has some basic characteristics that are flexible for both females as well as males.
I’d love to add a non-romance option, but then the branching is just too much for me. I haven’t the talent for that stuff, lol.
On that note, though, what about so many LIs do you dislike?
Well… I did imagine the MC as a hopeless romantic. It’s not particularly useful to the story, but I often enjoy stories from other genres to have a bit of romance sprinkled in, lol. It’s a sci-fi / mystery / drama story, so the LI is the MC’s “partner in crime” (or partners, if I do 2 LIs) & they end up with a “happily ever after” that the MC dreamed of.
I mean, if you envision your character as a hopeless romantic, id argue a romantic subplot with a believable relationship dynamic is quite important to the story because the characters should always drive the plot. So seeing her romantic view of the world would help readers understand her better and be invested in her personality, therefore wanting to see where the plot goes.
It sounds like you have one LI planned, so in this case i would just stick to the one. No sense in creating an extra character just to be a LI even if they world all be working together. I’m glad to hear you’re planning to put in the work to make the LI believable as M or F, acknowledging there would be some differences in how they behave. I think if your MC is bi, you can still develop aspects of what its like to be bi and exist in the world and have those elements as part of her characterization, regardless of what gender LI readers choose.
Heh this is just based on a multitude of experiences reading rather than you or any other author as individual writers, but it’s sort of two-fold. Sometimes, the LI just has little personality outside of liking the MC and that makes it hard for me to be invested in their relationship. But I think this happens more when authors and readers are more interested in a certain trope than in the characters themselves. And many LIs, even if I started out liking them, end up possessing qualities that I dislike, such as extreme jealousy without addressing what it means and how to deal with it or emotional repression. I do like a generally aloof LI who has some passions they care about a lot and is soft for the MC. But in a lot of LIs that emotional repression manifests as just being a jerk lol or some other thing I’m not impressed by. I can just be a bit particular since I like romance well enough but I don’t seek it out in stories to read. But I think if you have a clear sense of who your MC and LI are and what their dynamic will be like, then you’re probably fine. But yeah I think in this case, one LI may be the best fit.
Personally I don’t like the idea of two love interests so I’d prefer to choose gender for one than have two. The point of two love interests is to have MC share same feelings for both of them, but if the reader prefers females to males it’s pretty obvious who they are going to pick at the end, and the guy would only be a side prop.
No, not really. It’s just something I feel is good to keep in mind when having alternate gender routes for the same LI - especially if the default is male.
For me, establishing canon previous relationships and attraction to multiple genders while avoiding harmful stereotypes (“bi means promiscuous”) can go a long way. And when making promo, I’d really like to see both routes utilized; I see favoritism for the male version a lot when the author’s just writing it for clout.
Reading your responses to Hibiscus, I also think a single LI would probably fit your story purposes better.
(For some reason, it won’t let me quote you, so I’m just listing my responses)
I might change the hopeless romantic bit. This story idea was on a literal WHIM. I have no clue where to take it.
The MC is bi no matter which gender the reader chooses (if I do it that way) - she has an ex-girlfriend and a crush on a male classmate.
I’m a sucker for slowburn. I like deep, meaningful, complex relationships. I don’t fully have any characters developed, in all honesty, but I know they’re all going to be complex. I feel you on what you said about many stories - LIs are people too!
Thank you for your time, patience, and help. You’re an angel.
Bisexuals are not promiscuous. I hate that stereotype with a fervid passion.
I don’t picture the MC with a male when she comes to mind. In fact, I can hardly picture an MC. I’ve got looooots of work to do, hahah.
Thank you so much for your patience and feedback, lovely. You’re a gem!
Having two love interests meaning separate personalities, separate ways of showing affection, different chemistry. I definitely prefer multiple love interests, and even ones that aren’t expected at the beginning because it gives a more immersive experience as if we’re controlling the MC’s decisions. And to be blunt, it sucks when there’s only one LI and you’re not the least bit interested in him/her. A character that you describe as charming and confident could come off as annoying and dominating in another person’s view, and so on. Multiple LIs for the win, except when you have a fixed plot that most certainly requires a relationship to happen between MC and the LI.
I too have a bisexual MC: the reader has 3 possible LI to choose from (or not), but they will become parts of your day to day life despite being LIs, which makes more logical sense and is generally more organic.
Although, having only 1 LI makes your life so much easier and Dara Amerie has a template for LI gender.
It’s really up to how much work you want to do.
Have a good day!
No problem at all! I think the number of LIs will fall into place once you’ve gotten farther along in the writing process too. Hell, one of my WIPs was a fantasy romcom before I developed it further and it became very much not that if that tells you anything about how much stories can change.
I totally agree with this. I feel like I’m part of the minority who prefers multiple LI because so many times when there’s only one I don’t like him and it’s sucks if I enjoy the rest of the plot because then any romantic scenes feel like I’m suffering through a LI being forced at me. At that point I’d just rather have a single option.