Ok, so, for context, i've been working on a sci-fi story for a while now, and one of the main things i wanted to do with this was to try and write romance better (to challenge myself, as a sort of exercise). The main romance has gone through several rewrites however…

Initially the protagonist was going to defect from his side because he fell in love with a girl who worked for the rebels and he couldnt bring himself to actually pull the trigger as it were. He was going to have a love triangle, where he loved the rebel girl and another girl, one from the protagonists original side, was in love with him. The idea felt… bad; i've never been a fan of love triangles, and quite frankly i didnt feel like writing that sort of melodrama into the plot. There was also a slightly creepy angle that i failed to notice while conceptualizing: the rebel girl reminded the protagonist of his dead sister, which is why he felt drawn to her in the first place (i frankly don't know how i didnt realize that sooner, holy shit it's creepy). After realizing this, I lost all desire to write the love triangle.

So I modified the whole thing even more; i made the rebel girl way younger than the protagonist, and remade their relationship to be much more asexual, this time the protagonists is essentialy the girl's surrogate big brother. This left me to write the romance between the protagonist (Harriff) and the other girl (Mary), the latter being a character that i enjoy writing a whole lot more. Mary is a snobby, self-centered girl; she has an obsession wth being recognized and being the center of attention and, thanks to her incredible drive and persistance, has been able to get almost anything she wanted (imagine a spoiled brat, but they're self-made instead of being created through the way they were raised). She's had feelings for Harriff for a long time, but he (despite being nice to her and tolerating her behaviour), just isnt emotionally available, he's still haunted by the death of his sister and can't exactly put himself in a mindset where getting into a realtionship seems like a good idea. Mary does everything she can to attract his attention, but being raised in a laboratory with almost no normal interactions with other people, has a very "romance book" approach to getting Harriff to like her.

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After Harriff defects, she spends a good chunk of the book following Harriff, hunting him down personally because of her romantic frustration (a sort of "You left me for them" mindset). Eventually, after being defeated by Harriff, she is captured by the rebels, where she is finally able to start interacting with Harriff again. She starts realizing, after talking with the rebel girl and other characters, that her approach to getting Harriff wasnt ever going to work, because she saw Harriff as a prize to gain instead of an actual person with his own problems and issues. This starts her sort of reformation and eventual redemption.

Now this all sounds well and good on paper, but how could i write this sort of arc in the nitty gritty sort of way? I dont want her redemption to feel like a switch being turned on, i want it to be something gradual and more realistic; besides, i dont really know how im going to handle Harriff's side of the equation here…

What do you guys think? I'd like to bounce off some ideas and discuss how to make this plan of mine work better. I always find that discussion makes me see alternatives that i never would have seen by myself.

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