Today we re-open the book of love! After answering a reader’s email about YA romance with a break-down of the first kiss, I promised a follow-up on the love interest story line. Let’s take a look at this topic through our favorite lover boys’ eyes: Peeta Mellark from The Hunger Games and Edward Cullen from Twilight.
Tip 1: Choose a girl you sorta want to kill.
- Peeta and Katniss think they have to kill each other to survive. “Peeta is planning how to kill you, I remind myself. He is luring you in to make you easy prey.” (HG Ch.5).
- There’s a very real possibility that Edward might slip up and suck Bella’s blood. “And so the lion fell in love with the lamb . . . ,” he murmured.” (TW Ch.13).
Tip 2: Deny how attracted you are to each other.
- Katniss realizes that Peeta knows more about her than she thought. “Like the attention he’s paid to my hunting. And apparently, I have not been as oblivious to him as I imagined, either.” (HG Ch.7).
- Edward did not want to give in to the scent of Bella. “To me, it was like you were some kind of demon, summoned straight from my own personal hell to ruin me. The fragrance coming off your skin . . . I thought it would make me deranged that first day.”(TW Ch.13).
Tip 3: Take a turn for the antagonistic.
- Peeta gets a rise out of Katniss by telling all of Panem that he likes her. “Peeta has only just stepped from his car when I slam my palms into his chest. He loses his balance and crashes into an ugly urn filled with fake flowers.”(HG Ch.10).
- Edward is antagonized by Bella’s presence in his class. “He stared at me again, meeting my eyes with the strangest expression on his face — it was hostile, furious.”(TW Ch.1).
Tip 4: Find a way to be forced together.
- Haymitch forces Peeta to spend time with Katniss. “’One last thing. In public, I want you by each other’s side every minute,’ says Haymitch. We both start to object, but Haymitch slams his hand on the table.” (HG Ch.7).
- Edward is forced to spend time with Bella because of their high school biology class. “He was trying to trade from sixth-hour Biology to another time– any other time.” (TW Ch.1).
Tip 5: Get to know her through contrived questions.
- Peeta and Katniss force conversation to keep up the facade of friendship. “‘All right, I’ll keep smiling pleasantly and you talk,’ says Peeta. It’s wearing us both out, Haymitch’s direction to be friendly.” (HG Ch.7).
- Edward and Bella take turns asking questions about their backgrounds. “’Tomorrow it’s my turn.’ ‘Your turn to what?’ He smiled wider, flashing his gleaming teeth. ‘Ask the questions.’” (TW Ch.12).
Tip 6: Recount the first time you saw her.
- Katniss asks Peeta when he started to have a crush on her. “Oh, let’s see. I guess the first day of school. We were five.”(HG Ch.22).
- Edward asks Bella if she remembers the day they met. “’Your number was up the first time I met you.’ I felt a spasm of fear at his words, and the abrupt memory of his violent black glare that first day . . . .” (TW Ch.7).
Tip 7: Add a dash of jealousy.
- Peeta nonchalantly tries to figure out if Gale is Katniss’s boyfriend. “Your friend Gale. He’s the one who took your sister away at the reaping? . . . I thought he was your cousin or something.” (HG Ch.6).
- Edward is jealous when he overhears Bella’s dad ask her about a boy at school. “But jealousy . . . it’s a strange thing. So much more powerful than I would have thought. And irrational!” (TW Ch.14).
Tip 8: Go back to gazing at her.
- Peeta is a natural at being romantic. “Then he smiles as if he’d be happy to lie there gazing at me forever.” (HG Ch.19).
- Edward looks deep into Bella’s eyes. “Flickers of the electricity I’d felt this afternoon began to charge the atmosphere as he gazed unrelentingly into my eyes. (TW Ch.11).
Tip 9: Have a sleepy sleepover.
- Katniss falls asleep next to Peeta in the cave. “’Go to sleep,’ he says softly. . . He’s still stroking my hair when I fall asleep.” (HG Ch.20).
- Bella falls asleep next to Edward. “More tired than I realized, exhausted from the long day of mental and emotional stress like I’d never felt before, I drifted to sleep in his cold arms.” (TW Ch.14).
Tip 10. Declare your love for her.
- Peeta declares his love for Katniss again when they are the last two tributes standing. “And he goes on about how he loves me, what life would be without me . . .” (HG Ch.25).
- Edward declares his love for Bella when she is suffering from the vampire bite. “Bella, you’re going to be fine. Can you hear me, Bella? I love you.” (TW Ch.23).
Why it Works
In The Hunger Games and Twilight, the “star-crossed lovers” theme is taken to the extreme– these couples aren’t just supposed to stay away from each other– they might actually kill each other! The constant tension of are-we-lovers-or-enemies adds a layer of depth to action-heavy plots.
The use of contrived questions to get to know each other adds a realistic adolescent touch: no teenager knows just what to say, so they are happy to have a pretense to keep connecting.
I added 5 index cards to the master outline to cover the love interest: “Star-Crossed Lovers” in Chapter 7, “Couple forced to spend time together,” in Chapter 8, “Love Interest Q&A” in Chapter 9, “Sleep NEXT to love interest” in Chapter 17, and a “Declaration of Love” near the end in Chapter 19.
Happy Valentine’s Day!