I know it’s a pet peeve, but I can’t stand characters who don’t know why they’re falling in love. And I don’t mean stupid people, but a smart hero or heroine on the verge of committing right here and now—irrevocably forever moreover to die for the other, or kill themselves, or do some horrific act they wouldn’t do otherwise.
She didn’t know why she loved him? He didn’t know what drew him to her?
Seriously--somewhere deep down inside, your character knows what’s going on.
In all fairness, it might interrupt the story flow. A fast scene shouldn’t slow down for introspection. But if they’re just standing around with nothing to do, wondering what it is about the other person that makes dying for love a viable option, it wusses out on the emotional understructure of the story.
Character is always true to him or herself, which means in any given situation, there are a limited amount of outcomes--to go back to the ball pit analogy; there are only so many balls. True chaos, despite sounding messed-up, is a “determined system”, which means minor changes create huge numbers of totally different paths, but every path must make some kind of sense when looked at as a whole. In other words, the balls are in a confined area—even if it’s a really big confined area—courtyards and hallways can’t just appear. They’re either there and accounted for, or not. There are limits to what can and can’t happen.
Character-driven stories are about characters, what they’re doing and how they feel. Sometimes they don’t want to face their feelings and that’s significant in itself. I had a “something about him” scene--and so do lots of people. It’s only recently I’ve started breaking them down into "the writer knows what’s going on and is really deep in the character’s head", and "the only reason these two characters are in love is because the author said so."
Back that up—
--this is not about rough draft.
If anything it’s a layering issue for when the writer goes in to tighten the story.
She didn’t know what it was about him that drew her, but she was desperately afraid she was falling in love. TAKE ANOTHER LOOK MAYBE EXPAND
Maybe when the rough is finished, a good hard look says the best way to get Keira’s emotional state across is to leave her oblivious, because you “want” her to be pole-axed at a later date. In which case, this works with a little polish.
Or maybe you want her to be a little more self-aware and throw in a little foreshadowing to make a coming scene crank emotionally? Then you’d take another look—this time at the actual words.
“…she was desperately afraid…”
On some level, even if the author won’t admit it, she knows what’s up.
Desperately afraid? Of what?
Why is the growth of this relationship a bad idea? Is there something about the hero that terrifies Kiera, even while it draws her close? Is she protecting someone, is she worried she might betray her family? Is the hero a bad influence on someone she loves? Does he touch something in her that’s outside the norm or wrong for her time period?
Maybe Keira is a werewolf and her dad is the alpha. Maybe she’s falling in love with the alpha of the pack moving into their territory. Maybe leaving to follow her heart will start a war with the potential to kill everyone in her family.
Why not— (warning. I am not good at writing paranormals, but for some reason I've been feeling the urge, lol...)
John's strength drew her. (what pulls her to him) He crossed into the Pack’s territory and watched her with hot green eyes. (a little bit of foreshadowing. He’s trying to take over the territory and now he’s not just right up against Keira, he’s inside her family’s boundaries) She stepped closer (she’s drawn) and lifted her chin (submission and defiance because she’s torn). “Promise to leave the Valley and I’ll go with you.”
…her big issue. Need and desire vs. loyalty and fear of losing the people who—until now—have meant everything to her.
Exploring the issues behind not-knowing takes time and thought. Even making the deliberate choice to leave it short right now, still leaves a hole for exploring the issues later. Being deliberately blind, or unwilling to put in the work cheats not just your characters, but your reader.