Tweet of the Day: Writing Excuses: Making Your Descriptions Do More Than One Thing
Shippers, those who pair one character with another, not only exist outside of the pages in your hands, gentle reader, but also inside them. Matchmakers abound in all types of stories and for all types of reasons. After all, everybody can see it?
Most of the time the paired couple (by the shipper on deck) don’t know or don’t want to be paired. Authors do it for two reasons:
- Provide the basis for the official couple. If done well (read: subtly!) the reader accepts the shippers arguments and wants the couple to end up together. Many times it goes awry because the qualities ascribed to a character/couple by the shipper on deck only exist in their minds and either never revealed in story or the character simply doesn’t have them. If this happens it feels like the writer wants to ram the coupling down the readers throats regardless of precedent or character development.
- For comedic/dramatic purposes. Having an active shipper on deck can add all kinds of complications to a pairing, starting with said shipper acting as match maker for the wrong couple or doing it for the wrong reasons. But if overused it can be both annoying as well as distracting.
As I wrote above, most shippers on board are merely examples of “everybody can see it” which reinforces whatever the writer already put upon the page.
More often than not the shipper in question is either part of a Beta Couple (who wants their friends to be as happy as he/she/they are) or is attracted to one of the members of the pairing and end up in a Pair the Spares situation. If the author is particularly brilliant (or not) the shipper might end up being the missing link in the pairing, after his/hers shipping attempts failed because the third party was really a romantic false lead.