The change should be very gradual and should most importantly make sense. This type of dynamic relationship is rare in reality and for a reason. There has to be something that the two of them share initially to at least create a spark. After all, no one wants to be around someone they dislike for a long period of time unless something makes them stay around one another.
And please… please… please… please
This is personal preference, but I absolutely hate the “well I’m a dick because of this past trauma” argument. It’s not particularly realistic to almost any sort of trauma. If you do want to go that particular route, it can be done, but RESEARCH IS IMPORTANT IN ALL WRITING!
While writing Shattered Stars (still in progress) I’ve put in hundreds of hours of just research. Everything from brushing up on my military knowledge, to psychiatry, to engineering to medical knowledge? Researched. It does not make me an expert by any means.
But say for example, you have a story that a character gets shot in. Alright… that’s fine. That happens. But… where did they get hit?
Gunshot wounds take a long time to heal from. Weeks at best and even years at times depending on:
- The person’s immune system (which yes, factors into healing and recovery more than just infection)
- How active the person is
- Body armor (obviously if it does not penetrate, then duh, but if you are hit in the chest with a rifle caliber and wearing armor that stops the bullet you’re probably going to break your ribs if you’re lucky and you can STILL die from internal injuries due to impact trauma)
- And MUCH more!
Now imagine you’re writing a fairly realistic story. If your character gets hit in the face with a bullet, there will be consequences. It’s going to shatter bone, rip and tear muscle and flesh and cause bruising to the surrounding area. You’re probably going to have a brain injury (the FACE is very different from the HEAD) even though you weren’t hit in the brain simply due to shockwaves caused by the bullet passing through tissues and the like.
It won’t really make sense that the character shrugs it off and just “lol I’m k” afterwards. And if they do it removes the sense of danger and excitement from the story. People like Superman not because he is invincible. People like Superman because of supporting characters like Lois Lane and others that make him more “human” for lack of a better term.
Now using this same approach and logic…
These two (can be) attracted to one another because:
- They share an attraction on a physical level (this can at least get the concept moving)
- As time progresses and the relationship becomes established, the other character starts to be friendlier
- Alternatively, some people just need to be given a reality check. Sometimes it’s enough to tell someone to shut the hell up and be respectful. It works more often than you’d think or like.
- TRAUMA IS A LAZY EFFORT! And if you decide to go the trauma route, what trauma causes this sort of behavior? It’s not going to be childhood abuse most likely. The majority (and yes, I can generalize because this is how statistics and psychology work) are very timid and uncertain, often anxious and very scared. Getting over this trauma takes years of intense psychological care either from a professional or at times a loved one (yes, I’ve lived that exact story and no, I’m not a professional and no, I was not abused. Or at least not in that way).
- They will need to share values. What values? Who gives a damn? Maybe they’re united in a cause?
- A friendly, joking sort of assholery is fine. That’s even expected, to a degree, of friends.
- TONE! TONE! TONE! What is said is less important than how it is said! Make sure to utilize this. I’ve seen a lot of COG/HG (mostly HG) where there are just words on the page and little indication of the tone in how they are being said. “Hey you’re kind of an asshole” is very different from “hey you’re kind of an asshole” if the tone changes in how the message is delivered. Imagine being slapped in the face and being called an asshole then imagine being hugged and being called an asshole. It’s two very different messages.
I’m not saying don’t go for it. By all means, do. I encourage it. In fact, I actually like this concept in stories when it is done correctly. And by correctly I mean psychologically correctly. I’m a very realistic person.
And sure, there will be people in the thread below that are, ultimately, going to disagree and say that trauma is the best option or whatever. Frankly, I don’t care. We all view the world through an imperfect lens and nothing will ever change that. But we can sharpen the focus with research and observation.
Science is your friend.