While not a character that exists in all stories, a Love Interest for your protagonist is another way for audiences to see a different side of them.  These characters can be a catalyst for change in the Hero, giving them motivation to succeed and renewed dedication toward their goal.  The Love Interest can be someone the protagonist meets during the story or someone in their life prior.  No matter how they come into the story and hero’s life, they can be impactful.

A Love Interest for the protagonist often “[p]rovides care, understanding, and sensuality that can make someone a complete and happy person” (Truby 70).  Jack Dawson in Titanic is Rose’s Love Interest, giving her a fresh perspective on the world and showing her a life beyond class and social expectations.  Jack brings out a side of her that the audience wouldn’t see without his presence, making him a crucial character in her story arc.

In the movie Captain America: The First Avenger, the protagonist Steve Rogers finds love and motivation in Peggy Carter, who swiftly becomes his Love Interest. Her presence in his life, both before and after his transformation into Captain America, serves as a driving force in his journey, highlighting the profound impact a Love Interest character can have on a protagonist’s development.

In the movie Love, Simon, Simon connects with an anonymous Love Interest online, eventually deciphering their true identity and connecting with classmate Bram by the end of the story. 

One thing must be considered when looking at this important character: “An effective screen romance causes major emotional changes and challenges for the Hero” (Edson 63).  If they don’t provide any growth in the main character’s life, they aren’t a true Love Interest.  Their presence should illicit and motivate change in the protagonist. 

If you are looking for a good subplot for your main character, a tried and true one is a romantic subplot with a compelling Love Interest.  This is why “if a romance main plot or subplot is a natural extension of the story your wish to tell, then by all means include one” (Edson 67).

Who are some of the memorable Love Interests from movies you enjoy?  What makes them true Love Interests for the protagonist?

In your own story, does your main character have a Love Interest?  Would they benefit from having one?  What aspects of the protagonist’s personality could be revealed by adding a Love Interest?    

See you next time!


Edson, Eric. The Story Solution. Michael Wiese Productions, 2011.

Truby, John. The Anatomy of Story. Faber and Faber, 2007.

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