Your Guide to Creating a Ship-Worthy OTP

Is a fandom complete without a One True Pairing™? Known as an OTP, shipping characters is important. Basically, what’s a fandom without a heartbreaking sob love story? Creating shippable pairs is also fun & hard. I mean, some characters are not supposed to be a thing. Ever.
And I think sometimes authors and readers disagree? I mean, if an author kills of a ship, than they are officially the worst™. But I will probably still buy and read their books, and then go read happier fan fiction. That’s what fanfic is for, right? 

So, back to my original question – how do you write a fandom worthy OTP? And look, guys, I’m going to be super nice and even provide examples! So this post is part fangirling about my favorite OTPs. 

Hate to love, or childhood friend to life-long love, deep gut wrenching emotions are very, very important.

An OTP can’t have mediocre emotions. Nope. Their emotions must be super intense, and will probably break readers hearts.

One couple with super intense life-long emotions are Julian and Emma from The Dark Artifices. Not only are these two parabatai, but they feel deeply for each other. In fact, they’ve loved each other for as long as either of them can even remember. Lots of feels.

And hate-to-love is so popular. And well done? Probably my all time favorite is Darcy and Lizzy from Pride and prejudice. I mean, you can hardly get better hatred to deep feelings. And amazing character development.

  

The whole story in two quotes

If your two lovebirds are instantly able to love and live happily ever after, are we even reading a book?
Anything that tries to break apart an OTP is important. It makes you root for your couple. And enables character growth for them.

But, um, no love triangles, please. (Unless you’re Cassandra Clare) Love triangles just make you roll your eyes at your OTP. You know who their soul mate really is. How are they taking so long to just make up their mind? There are a few vary rare well written love triangles, but most of the time, I just want to throw them all out. 

I can think of so many great roadblocks.

Anne whacking Gilbert in the head with a slate and holding a grudge for 7 years. I mean, this is the ultimate OTP and the ULTIMATE roadblock. 

Peeta being brainwashed by the Capitol to kill Katniss. Who wasn’t cheering for Peeta to heal and be back with Katniss? My poor tortured boy. 

Simon being bullied and blackmailed and unable to find Blue. So sad and cute. 

Insta love can be super aggravating. Especially if all logic seems to be thrown away in favor of instant romance. 

Or it can be absolutely adorable and worth reading. It’s hard to explain the difference from when it’s completely obnoxious and when it’s just right. I don’t think I can, it’s such a gut feeling thing. If it doesn’t feel real, than it doesn’t seem right. 

One insta love couple that I just ADORE, is Cress and Thorne from the Lunar Chronicles. Cress has been mooning over Thorne ever since she saw him on the world wide web, and when she meets him, it’s pretty much instantaneous love. His feelings, on the other hand, are murky about the whole situation.

But what I love, is that this insta-love is built into both of their character journeys. As they grow, their feelings grow deep. And that insta love? It was really just a crush, while their actual feelings are so much deeper and better.

 Will my OTP even survive?

So this is the ultimate roadblock + cruel author device. Ending the book right after everything goes horribly wrong for your OTP. And you have no idea if things will work out?

Will my OTP ship sink to the bottom of the ocean of bitterness and tears?

At least, you’re still invested in the story. I mean, will I keep reading a fluffy happy book where everything is just perfect? (Probably, yes) But then I’ll complain about the lack of character development, so I don’t know what I really want. 

Anyway, a current story I’m super duper invested in and left completely hanging, is A Torch Against the Night. I have no idea what’s happening to my poor child Elias Veturius. And A Reaper at the Gates will probably hurt my poor darling even more. I just want him and Laia to be HAPPY.

Is that too much to ask? 

Light Public Displays of Adorable Affection is a treasure that must be protected at all costs. I’m serious.

I think some authors are throwing out adorableness for just smut. and that is not ok. It just really doesn’t work for YA and is so frustrating. And makes me hate an otherwise likable OTP.

Me @ Overdone PDA

Can’t we just stick with intense emotions, and the rare kiss? That kiss that just makes everything so perfect at the end of a book? Or even fingers barely touching kind of smoldering affection. 

I’m thinking of Kaz and Inej in Six of Crows. They go through SO MUCH to be together, and they both have trauma when it comes to PDA. And I love how respected their feelings are treated. They can barely touch, not without being overwhelmed by memories and feelings. 
So when they do show PDA, it’s significant to them both. It’s precious. And heartbreakingly beautiful.

Ok, are you ready to write a shippable OTP? Or just ready to critique all the other OTPs in the bookish world? Because, critiquing OTPs is super fun. Especially, critiquing pretty much ALL the ships in Harry Potter.
I’m pretty chill about agreeing with authors and their OTPs. As long as I can see both characters growing together & falling for each other, I probably ship them. Harry and Ginny? I just don’t see it. #sorrynotsorry

lets chat

Who are your favorite OTPs? Are you constantly shipping characters? What makes you ship characters?

Do you have a least favorite OTP? 

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9 Comments

  1. May 12, 2018 / 9:47 am

    Wow… you kinda covered so many of my favorites in this post…. Darcy Elizabeth… Kaz Inej.. Simon and Blue… such adorable OTPs 😍😍😍
    Lovely post!!!

    • May 14, 2018 / 5:02 pm

      Thanks so much! I love all these ships so, so, so much! It’s so fun to chat about them!

  2. May 12, 2018 / 11:49 am

    omg hate to love relationships are my FAVORITE–not only is there great relationship growth and development, but usually includes great individual growth as well. I also love to go back and read my fav couples absolutely hate on each other, because it’s so fun when you know how they end up. And Cress and Thorne are SO CUTE AND PERFECT, I love them so much. And when authors do something horrible to your OTP at the very end…quite possibly the worst/scariest/most frustrating thing ever (but also so good because you’re so invested in the story). This immediately makes me think of that (literal) cliffhanger at the end of The Mark of Athena from The Heroes of Olympus. Anyway, really loved this post!

    • May 14, 2018 / 5:01 pm

      Oh, gosh, the literal cliffhanger in the Mark of Athena is the literal WORST! And I love Annabeth and Percy so much in the Heroes series!
      Haha, yes! I love rereading snarky moments knowing they’re going to fall so hard! And Cress and Thorne are everything and goals! And I’m reading Winter right now and dying for those two!

      • May 14, 2018 / 5:05 pm

        omg Cress and Thorne in Winter is my FAVORITE THING—now I want to go back and reread all their moments together 😂😂

  3. May 14, 2018 / 3:39 pm

    Ohhh I didn’t even realise Cress and Thorn is kinda insta-love, because it was just written so well haha. I absolutely love this post – you used so many of my favourite ships as your examples. I aspire to write ships like Simon x Blue, Anne x Gilbert, Kaz x Inej… Also YES why do some authors think we want (graphic) smut in YA??? Like listen mate not wanting smut is one of the reasons I read YA and not NA and adult?? I’d much rather have adorableness

    • May 14, 2018 / 4:54 pm

      Yes, Cress and Thorne are both written so well! I am reading Winter and just loving those two and their adorable awkward feelings. gah.
      AND yes, NA and YA are different for a reason!

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