When we talk about love in writing, you might think of romance novels, but there are romantic elements in many genres as a secondary plot or interest.
In Shawn Coyne’s Story Grid, he talks about the need for obligatory scenes, which are those scenes that are necessary if a love story is going to be satisfying to the reader.
- The lovers meet without which there is no story.
- The inciting incident, which kicks off the story and challenges the status quo.
- At least one of the lovers refuses to respond to the other.
- A confession of love scene, where one or both lovers admit to their deepest feelings.
- A first kiss or sex scene.
- The lovers break up or are forced apart by events.
- The all is lost moment where it seems that the lovers will never get together and have a happy ending.
- The proof of love scene where one love it sacrifices for the other without any expectation of the gain.
- The lovers reunite.
- The protagonist receives their reward (commitment or intimacy or desire) for having faith and making a sacrifice.
A secondary story can provide some scope for innovation in the love story as the challenge is to tell a unique story.
The protagonist can act as one of the lovers, while the antagonist can be seen as the other when he or she acts in opposition to the wants and desires of the protagonist.
The way that we see romantic relationships has been affected by previous novels and writing. Marie Charlotte Carmichael Stopes was a British author and campaigner for eugenics and women’s rights. Her book Married Love changed women’s expectations of sex after marriage.
Love means different things to different people – write down four words that come to mind in connection with love and compare with someone else. Are they very different or are they the same?
Let us know your thoughts on what love means to you in writing.