Friday, February 10, 2017

Love is in the air...

It's only a few days away from Valentine's Day, so there's no better time to talk about the wonderful, scary, sweeping world of love.

Despite what people think about genre, you can actually write about love in many different ways, and it has its place in all genres. Alright, enough preamble, let's take a look at this, shall we:

1) You have your all-consuming romance. The epic love, the sweeping drama, the "one", the soul mate, the "I can't live without him". Oh the feelings, so rich and deep and evocative! Can anyone say Bella and Edward Cullen?

2) You have the slow burner. This gradually filters throughout the story. It could be like Katniss and Peeta, brought together through trials and tribulations. A thriller of such intensity that our love interests are pushed together. A survival story where they must beat the odds.

3) The love to hate you. This is seen a lot in romance novels, but can come up in all sorts of genres. You'll see it in "detective gone bad, but beautiful woman brings him back from the brink". They hate each other - she his drinking, dangerous, gluttonous self; he her airs and graces. But as the plot progresses, they begin to respect each other for who they are by unwinding the orange peel and seeing the true person within.

4) You have your "already there before the book started" romance. These characters might break up and make up. They might stay the course nice and steady throughout the book. They might break up and never make up. But these characters know each other. They understand each other.

5) I don't know who I love. There are plenty of books out there that look to characters who don't know who they feel for (take Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith for one, which is also a great book on sexual orientation. Who does he love? His friend Robby? Or Shann?). These kind of love dynamics are fascinating.

6) Familial love. No, I'm not talking that kind of love (though you can if you want. Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma is a great example). The complexity of familial love (or lack thereof) can be a huge pull in a story, no matter the genre. Maybe the horrible villain is the sibling of a good character (take Caul in Miss Peregrine's, Library of Souls. He's the good Mrs. Peregrines' brother, and look how he turned out to be!). Maybe the parents are overbearing in their love. Maybe everything is happy families. There are any number of variations you can use here.

7) Friendship. Yup, These can be present in every and any book. That bond, that deliberately chosen extension of self to someone else, that caring, loving feeling. It's just as potent as romantic love, and can see people through the toughest of times, because it's made of empathy, compassion, understanding, and, yes, love itself. There are endless examples: Ron, Hermione, and Harry. Lyra and Will. Blue, Ronan, Adam, Noah, and Gansey (this last one a fantastic extended group). I need not go on.

8) Hopes and dreams. Or the lack thereof. Hopes and dreams fill people with love for the world, with desire and passion, with the need to strive for connection. They love what they dream about, and this love can be as all-consuming and complex as any other. But if they don't achieve their dreams or don't have any, does that mean love doesn't exist for them? Not necessarily so. People can hate love. They can lust after love. They can feel what love is without having experienced it (an oxymoron, I know). But they can. We don't just feel what we've experienced. We feel what we wish we could experience, too. Therefore, even the darkest, friendless, loneliness can have love of a sort.

Phew. So there you go. Not a comprehensive list, but at least something to get you started! Now go forth and love! :-)

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