From Writers Helping Writers:
Successful stories are driven by authentic and interesting characters, so it’s important to craft them carefully. But characters don’t usually exist in a vacuum; throughout the course of your story, they’ll live, work, play, and fight with other cast members. Some of those relationships are positive and supportive, pushing the protagonist to positive growth and helping them achieve their goals. Other relationships do exactly the opposite, derailing your character’s confidence and self-worth or they cause friction and conflict that leads to fallout and disruption. Many relationships hover somewhere in the middle. A balanced story will require a mix of these dynamics.
. . . .
There are many kinds of romantic relationships; this one is all about a protagonist who’s crushing on someone. It may be a far-off person who doesn’t know the character exists (a celebrity or someone at the office) or a person with whom they’re already in a platonic relationship (their boss, a best friend’s sibling, or a friend-of-a-friend). Sometimes the other person is oblivious to the protagonist’s infatuation while, in some cases, it’s obvious despite the character’s best attempts at hiding it.
. . . .
Dynamics of a Healthy Relationship
- Admiring from afar
- Trying to catch the crush’s attention in non-intrusive ways (attending a get-together they’re attending, finagling an introduction via a mutual friend, etc.)
- The protagonist purposely looking their best when the crush is around
- Mooning over the crush to the safe people in the character’s life
- Seeing the crush in a positive light; recognizing and valuing their positive traits and attributes
- Learning about the crush’s hobbies and taking an interest in them
- Seeking to impress the crush (through the character’s performance at work, by highlighting their own strengths, etc.)
- Mentally replaying small interactions and analyzing them for interest
Dynamics of an Unhealthy Relationship
- Using intrusive means to catch the crush’s attention (by sabotaging their current relationship, crashing a private party, etc.)
- Being unable or unwilling to see the crush’s flaws
- Being so desperate that the protagonist will accept even negative or harmful attention should the crush offer it
- Not taking no for an answer
- Obsessing to the point of neglecting healthy relationships
- All other romantic options paling in comparison to the point that the character is unable to entertain other possibilities
- Not being able to properly perform at work or school due to distraction and daydreaming
- Being so nervous or flustered around the crush that the character is unable to function
- Becoming so obsessed with the crush that the character believes life isn’t worth living without him or her in it
Link to the rest at Writers Helping Writers