“We’re all fools in love.”
I used to be a romantic. Now, I consider myself a realistic dreamer. I don’t plan on getting married or having kids. If it happens, it happens and I’ll thank God, but I’m done hoping and wishing for it. Most of my friends – you can tell who they’re going to end up with. And I hate them [/mild sarcasm]. I think I’ll just end up being a crazy cat lady one day. Let’s be honest: I’m not a fantastic people-person. I can hold a conversation most of the time, but I’m always freaking out that I’m asking too many questions or boring them or not being clear or whatever.
At the practice speech and debate tournament I went to on Saturday, a kind boy said hi (you know when you never really feel like a very noticeable person and then someone starts talking to you out of the blue and it’s one of the most touching things?). I ended up asking him about fifteen+ questions. Way to go, Rana.
Oh! And I also discovered that little girls are fascinated with pantyhose. I was wearing some and they kept touching and rubbing my legs. It was one of the most awkward moments of my life.
ANYWAY, I like love as a sub-plot in my novels. And I thought, “hey, why not do a post on love in stories?” So here we go. Some of my “rules” for love in literature:
#1: Insta-Love is an Insta-No-No
Just don’t do it. Please. It’s cheesy and not realistic. In this post, we went over whether or not to make things up or make them realistic. Although fiction is fake up to a certain point, it should also be believable. We read to see ourselves. Books are like verbal mirrors. If we can’t see ourselves reflected through a character’s actions, personality, or journey, we’re not really going to like the book. So, as far as love in concerned, I would steer clear of love-at-first-sight.
In Desensitized, Cael and Ashland end up becoming super good friends and fall in love eventually. But at first, they hate each other. The character arcs change throughout the story and that’s important to me. I like to see people get better. Love helps with that. (Not the cheesy, romantic love, but pure, selfless love.)
#2: It Should Be Significant in Small Ways
So, without Cael, Ashland would probably die – not in a ‘oh-I-can’t-live-without-you’ way, but just that she’s going through a ton and needs support. Without Ashland, Cael would probably continue to be a heartless leader who isn’t concerned with anyone’s quality of life, but just that they’re alive.
They change each other for the better and that’s what love is about. Love in literature should serve as a means of communicating that no man is an island. We’re social creatures and that’s not a bad thing. Also, it’s not all about the feelings.
Essentially, if your story isn’t impacted by the love sub-plot, then it doesn’t need to be in there. It needs to be significant, but not so that the whole focus is on the love.
#3: It’s not all about the feelings
Love is sacrifice. It’s willing to give up your personal, instant pleasure for the good of someone else. This is what we should see. We need an accurate portrayal of love in a world that constantly tells us that it’s nothing more than a //feeling.// Guys, it’s so much more than that. Writers have the ability to tell the truth without getting hated (as much as we would if we said our message to someone’s face).
#4: Don’t make it easy
Okay. It doesn’t need to be Romeo and Juliet level difficult, but it shouldn’t be – forgive me for being cliche, which I warned against in #1 – Bella and Edward easy. Love is a horrible, beautiful thing. It hurts, it feels good, sometimes it feels like nothing, but requires a choice (not a love-triangle choice, mind you, but a choice that’s either going to help or harm the other member in the relationship – think of a parent and their child – the parents gives up a lot for their children and we call it ‘love’).
Love is full of heartbreak and pain, but it’s worth it. Show that. Don’t make it a Ferris-wheel ride (I went on one maybe once or twice and they’re flipping scary. The dude running was like, “I can’t put more people on. I have to balance it out or I could kill everyone on this thing.”) with cotton candy and moonlight kisses. That’s not love. That’s a feeling. And love isn’t a feeling.
Well, I’m sure there’s more, but that’s what I’ve got for you for now.
I hope this helps and if you have any more to add, I’d love it! 😀