L – Love
"Hatred ever kills, love never dies" Ghandi
Where would we be without love? More to the point where would our writing be without it? For in one way or another it features in most works of fiction. When I say love I’m not just talking about the romantic notion of love, I am talking about the emotion of caring for something or someone in an unconditional way.
For me the notion of love is intrinsically linked to its opposite, hate. This dichotomy is the engine which drives most rollicking good stories. There is nothing readers like more than to ultimately see love (and other similar admirable qualities) triumph over evil. Whilst I may not write particularly romantic stories, love always features (in some form or another) in all my fiction.
Love is one of the most basic of human emotions and we have all experienced it at some point in our lives. It is so strong that artists over the ages have written about its power in songs and verse. It is the very bedrock of human happiness and without it we would all be hard put to survive.
The most primitive and basic form of love is that of mother and child. Love is the protective umbrella that we are all reared under and mother love can - quite literally - achieve almost impossible tasks.
What a fabulous premise to underscore a great story! And what a great adversarial emotion to stand against a destructive protagonist…
In my supernatural thriller writing, ‘love conquers all’ is a frequent theme – it may be parental love, it may be romantic love or it may even be love of a belief, place or group of people. ‘Love thy neighbour’ is also a common theme when one or more people are racing to save a population or even the whole human race. I have often heard of great sacrifice in order to save one single pet! So love at its best is a very admirable human quality that most of us understand.
Whilst some may think it a simplistic theme, it is a mighty powerful ally in the structure of a modern story. And far from being solely the thematic concern of the romance genre, it ought (in my opinion) to suffuse all our fiction.
The antagonism of love and hate makes for rich pickings in terms of rising tension and suspense and, as fellow human beings, we can all empathise with and cheer for the main characters who think it worth fighting for.