purple heart event

A Wish Fulfilled

So, this is a most unexpected but welcome event, and everyone is jazzed to get started. We decided recently to go full throttle on this ‘Stan is gone’ theme - and what I mean by that is Stanley, meaning this blog, is gone. All interactions are currently put on hold unless they pertain to the event. Or I get bored or forget both can happen really.

He’s currently stuck in a limbo of sorts, fading away piece by piece.

But you can reach him.

He will still respond to asks or posts he is tagged in pertaining to this event; only…you may not like what you see. And you may not be able to hear him clearly.

Do what you will

Pacing your Romance

How many of you guys have played a game in the Harvest Moon series?

In this game, your romantic interests have a “heart level.” It starts from black, then as you give them gifts, interact with them, do events with them, buy from their store, etc, etc, the heart level goes up from black to purple to blue, green, yellow, orange, and finally, red. When their heart is red you can marry them, as long as you’ve bought the upgraded house and the large bed.

Along this road to winning them over, there are certain “heart events.” They’re basically scenes in the storyline where you and your love interest have a special moment. Sometimes the conversation is about the relationship, the love interest’s past, their passion, a secret—it really depends. But it’s a one-time intimate moment that brings the two of you closer.

Depending on the heart level, what that person says to you will change. At the black heart level, their lines are generic. They’ll mention something random, work-related, genetic—nothing with depth: “My mother minds the store, and my brother looks after the chickens!” As the heart level increases, the things they say will be more specific to you. They aren’t things they would say to absolutely anyone. Like Gray, at his green heart level: “Grandpa and I are very impressed by you!” And we can assume by that, he really means “I’m impressed by you” and he’s using his grandpa because he’s embarrassed by how much he likes you.

Now think of this way of pacing, and apply it to your own stories. This is how Harvest Moon tends to organize things:

  1. Black heart event: This introduces you, the player, to the love interest. It’s a first impression to who they are, their personality, their family, their role in the town, and so on.
  2. Black heart: Your characters might start off with a black heart if they hardly know each other. Conversation is shallow, boring, and generic—more like small talk. In the picture, you can see that Gray even starts off a little rude.
  3. Purple heart event: Typically in the purple heart event, the player will be given a choice between the love interest and another character—usually not something serious. For example, “I want to send him roses, and my mom wants to send him daisies. Help us pick!” Obviously, you need to pick your love interest’s side. This is probably when the love interest notices or recognizes the player as a friend.
  4. Purple heart: The conversation will get a little friendlier.  Not much in the way of flirting yet.
  5. Blue heart event: In the game, the love interest gives the player an item, but obviously you don’t have to stick to that.
  6. Blue heart: At the blue level, things are definitely at or ever-so-slightly beyond the friend stage. Conversation is no longer generic—it’s tailored to you. There may be some minor flirting.
  7. Green heart: Flirting. All the flirting. They will compliment you and want to spend town events with you.
  8. Yellow heart event: The event is more serious than at the blue or purple level. The topic may be more solemn, such as their father leaving or angst in the family. At the end of the event, the love interest may admit they like the player (as a friend, or maybe more).
  9. Yellow heart: We’re starting to get sappy. Major flirting.
  10. Orange heart: Conversation is romantic. Probably goopy. At this point, the love interest is definitely into you. They may start asking what your future plans are.
  11. Red heart: They’ll marry you if you propose. I’m sure you can imagine what a game character madly in love with the player would talk like.

Obviously you need to tailor these levels and events to you story. And even if your characters are too young to think about marriage at the red heart level, that’s fine. The point I’m trying to make: you should occasionally have “heart events” between your two characters, ranked in order of seriousness—they shouldn’t mention love until the later heart events. Between events, their relationship will be more friendly or comfortable than it was at lower heart levels.

At the same time, you don’t want to mash in a heart event every other chapter. They need to be spread out with lots of romantic tension between so that your readers are aching for your characters to reach the next level!