(Small disclaimer: this is a post on shipping from a girl’s perspective. I don’t know how boys think in regards to these same things. I also do not mean “all” to be all-inclusive. If you think differently, that’s cool. Let me know in the comments, if you wish.)
Alright, can I just say something crazy?
When fans decide that two people go together, they throw time out the window. Or if they’re particularly young fans (young children watching Disney movies), they don’t care about the timing.
In real life, it’s not practical for a couple to get engaged (or married) the same day they met. Or even a few days. But in a *cough* Disney movie, we don’t care if that happens. It’s sweet and ship those characters so hard! They were obviously meant for each other!
I think it’s safe to say that we all ship some couple at least once in our lifetimes. That perfect couple in Whatever Fandom We Subject Ourselves To (or in a fandom we don’t take part in, even. Example: there’s a show my baby sister likes. There are only two skunks in the entire show and the male started acting really nice for the female. I shipped this right away
and then later found out the skunks are cousins and he was being nice because he was making up for a mistake he’d made, but that’s not the point.)
But this isn’t a post about what makes us ship characters… or is it? We throw time out the window, not caring if it’s been one day or 3 months since our OTP (one true pairing) met. Why?
Because we’re all hopeless romantics. …Okay, maybe not.
We throw time out the window because we feel that these characters are so perfect for each other that in order for the story to end well, these characters must end up together. They don’t collide; they click. (They call this chemistry. I have no idea why.)
I also think that we all have an idea of “true love” ingrained into our minds, similar to Anna’s from Frozen (Thanks, Disney). Even if we won’t take it so far as to get engaged to the guy we just met (I should hope none of us would take it that far), there’s still that little bit thinks “We are so alike! We finish each other’s sandwiches!” When we see two characters with mental synchronization, our minds decide there’s one explanation. This couple was just meant to be. Because that’s what we hope for us. We want to see our OTP together, because it’s something we want in our lives.
By this time, we’re so invested in this love story that we don’t care how long it’s been since they met. These two have to be a couple and we prefer by the end of the movie. And since movies don’t usually take place over months of time…
So. Here’s the writing bit of all this. Can you pull this off in a book?
Yes, I believe you can. Why couldn’t you? In fact, I’m going to go so far to say that you may be able to pull it off better in literature. Words take up time and space. If your story only takes place over a period of one or two days or even a week and you only mention the date a few times (why would you mention the date twice on the same day) or don’t mention any dates and only mention the days and nights so that the readers have to keep track themselves…
So, what makes you ship characters? Is there anything I missed?