I’ve been watching LOST.
Don’t tell me to stop before it’s too late.
It’s already too late.
Now, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the premise: a plane on its way from Sydney, Australia to L.A., U.S.A. crashes on an island in the South Pacific. People from all over the world are stranded. There are Americans, Aussies, Koreans, Canadians, Arabs, Nigerians… A rescue plane hasn’t come, so they need to figure out how to survive. Unfortunately, they’re not the only ones on the island and the other people aren’t all that friendly.
You get my drift (when you watch the raft scenes, you can laugh at my pun).
Now, as I was watching, I realized that there are different types of love we can utilize in our novels. Let me share some using the LOST couples as examples:
(NOTE: There may be spoilers.)
Claire + Charlie = Innocent/Naive
I think this relationship is born out of a mutual need. Let me explain.
Claire, a pregnant single mom, is kind of avoided by the other members of her flight once they crash. Why? Because she’s pregnant. She’s a “ticking time bomb of responsibility” I think was how she put it. When Charlie, a drug-addict and kind of self-absorbed “rock god” befriends her, she begins to like him.
Who wouldn’t, right? She doesn’t know he’s an addict. And when you’re lonely/shunned, someone sweet to talk to is not unwanted.
Mutually, Charlie likes Claire. He’s used to being adored by fans. Now, he’s just another one of us. Attention wouldn’t be unwanted when that’s what you get your energy from and are used to.
They satisfy each other’s needs.
Bernard + Rose = Faithful
Rose is religious. I assume they were traditionally married in a church and pray a lot together. They are a very committed couple. And something Rose said early on to Charlie struck me…
“There’s a fine line between faith and denial. What I’ve got is better.”
She doesn’t need Bernard. But she loves him. She’s faithful to him. To me, it’s clear that she loves God more than Bernard and that’s what keeps her sane. She has faith that He will guide her through her trials.
Michael + Walt = Family
Yeah, they’s been through a lot of rough crap. But as the show goes on, we see Walk begin to look up to his father and Michael begin to put his son before himself. They begin to enjoy each others company and look forward to working with each other.
Sun + Jin = Loyalty
Jin begins to put his work before his wife all the while justifying his actions by the fact that he loves her. And she loves him. But when things start to get in the way of your marriage, I would assume it ain’t easy working things out. But what would I know about that, right? My family is perfect.
The bottom line is, they do work it out. They love each other and they learn to do that more perfectly.
Jack = Work/Commitment
Oh, Jack. I really do love his character. He’s probably one of the most consistent characters in the show. He’s constantly putting others before himself and shows that he cares by his actions. He’s also very committed.
Boon + Shannon = Kind of shallow, but hopeful and sort of protective/supportive for a bit
Boone and Shannon are step brother and sister. He loves her. She’s a brat. He wants to care for her because he loves her but he’s kind of fed up with her bratishness. It’s probably not something that would last, but it’s sort of hopeful and, dare I say, cute.
But here’s what’s not cute: love triangles.
Jack + Kate + Sawyer = the wretched love triangle of doom
Kate’s character bounces between interesting and uggggggggggggggh. Her back story is her only salvation really. And if she could choose between Jack and Sawyer, maybe she’d be really awesome. Or maybe, if she could become independent and then choose, it’d be fantastic. But she can’t choose and Jack’s fed up and Sawyer’s in love.
Sayid + Shannon = Mutual need
I think Sayid needed to be whole again and Shannon needed personal validation although I also believe that they did love each other.
I’m sure I missed some couples or types of love, but I hope this helps. And here are some things to keep in mind as you write love (but also keep in mind that this doesn’t come from a professional, so use your discretion):
Rule #1: Some relationships are shallow and should be used only if they’re going to add to the plot or character arch. Love triangles should generally not be used in my opinion.
Rule #2: The relationship you utilize should add to the story plot/a character arch (this is essentially how the character grows/changes throughout the story).
A good rule of thumb for using anything in a novel is if you can take it out and the novel still works, then you might want to consider just leaving it out. 🙂