The first story I wrote and shared with others was when I was about 13 and I showed my father because at the time I thought 20 pages single spaced was a big deal. The story was written in first person and was about a character in a medieval battle fighting off orcs and frog men. Multiple times the character got knocked unconscious or fell asleep to move the plot forward in time. I shared this story with my father and I was surprised that although he liked it he mentioned something to me that took a few years to really set in.
He said that my story didn’t contain love. My character experienced things, hardships, and found victory but he didn’t love anything. Dad was a war veteran with PTSD who only really expressed anger and neglected his other emotions. He went on to talk to me about how most stories had some amount of love in them and that love itself was a key part of life. (Honestly not the kind of conversation we normally had. Generally we talked about movies or I would listen to war stories he didn’t realize he was telling me.)
It didn’t set in at first but he had a point. Much of our lives is made better by having love or searching for love. Often times when people are sad it is because of a lack of love. Love is a driving force in reality and in many of the better stories I have read. When I looked at my favorite movies I found love in them as well.
Does having love in a story make it a romance? No. But having a story without love takes away a layer of characterization and drive that could easily turn a good book into a great book. Love does not have to mean a marital affair. It could easily be the love for ones children or pets. The love of a close friend. It has to be felt.
Love is one of the basic human needs.
Who in this world does not feel love?
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