Analysis: Single Woman Seeks Good Man
How to generate a plot when the love interest is a good guy, and therefore she needs to neither reform him nor lose her common sense to have a happy ending:
- The heroine is initially attracted to the Bad Boy, but does not see the scale of the issue; he is one of The Pirates Who Don't Do Anything, or she sees only trivial faults, or she believes what he says about past behavior. Or she believes she can change him with the power of like-OMG true love — after all, Reformed Rakes make the best husbands. Then he actually does something bad, and she is shocked by his behavior. Or a crisis arises and the Miles Gloriosus fails where the hero rises to the occasion; this is a frequent complication of The So-Called Coward plot. This can also occur when they get together, and a Romantic False Lead appears to create complications.
It does not have to be a romantic rivalry; the Mad Scientist's Beautiful Daughter often feels conflicting loyalties between the hero and her father, and has to learn the extent of his evil before she is willing to support the hero whole-heartedly.
- The heroine may not be good, and have to reform to win the good man; never underestimate The Power of Love.
- She may have been seriously burned by the first love, and think Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!; The Power of Love and/or Silly Rabbit, Cynicism Is for Losers! will have to overcome her reluctance. Or it was with a Bad Boy and she is confused; she thought she felt love when it was really adrenaline, and is now Oblivious to Love that doesn't come with danger packaged in.
- Conversely, the man may have been seriously burned by his first love, or life in general, and think either Silly Rabbit, Romance Is for Kids!, or worse, Silly Rabbit, Idealism Is for Kids!. She will have to persuade the Hurting Hero or a Knight in Sour Armor to join the fight, or learn to love again. (This plot does risk turning her into the Manic Pixie Dream Girl.)
- They face no internal problems, but external forces try to tear them apart. Star-Crossed Lovers frequently fall under this, as does It's Not You, It's My Enemies. This was particularly popular in the 1700s when romantic comedies were typically not stories about falling in love, but stories about getting married without being written out of the will.
- The hero or heroine (or both) face difficulties in admitting their attraction. One of them might even be in a preexisting relationship — and since he's such a nice guy, he's not going to stomp on his current girlfriend's heart or go after someone who's already taken.
- There may be some romantically unrelated obstacle to their relationship. The two of thema are effectively "together" but they can't take that last step until this obstacle is removed. For instance, there's a war going on and one of both of them are fighting in it, or he is Unable To Support A Wife and thus seeking a fortune. Maybe there's an Engagement Challenge of some sort.