The Fiction of Love
Love is not fiction, but love makes good fiction. Readers want to be moved; they want to leave the mundane of their life when their life does not leave the mundane. Of course one of the most assured ways to get your readers there is by writing about love. Perhaps what inspires us the most in life is love, wallowing in it when you have it, looking for it when you want it, recovering from it when it's gone. Everyone can relate and almost every story, no mater the genera, at least taps into this theme. One need not write a romance to write about love.
Love is also especially useful for creating the necessary "page turning," "can't put it down," that keeps readers hungry for your books. Will he find love? Will she ever get that guy? Will he ever finally get a divorce and be with the one he truly loves? Will they ever stop fighting and enjoy their love? Will she ever tell her co-worker she loves her? Will love heal the pain of his past? etc.
One of the best vehicles for using love to create suspense is the friends/coworkers/neighbors who just can't quite seem to ever get it that they are in love. The reader figures it out early on but the characters, or one of the characters, is clueless. There is flirtation that is not recognized or acknowledged by those involved. There are excuses to get together that they believe are innocent. There is fluttery stomachs and nervous laughter that are written off as a reaction to the burrito at lunch and being over tired. When will those two ever see what we see? When will they finally figure it out? Will they both figure it out at the same time? Will they ever stop laughing at their friends when they try to clue them in? Oh, we can't wait for the moment when they finally fall into each others arms. But every time it seems there is a glimmer of recognition, they look away and start talking about their kids baseball game, or suddenly notice that it's pouring rain and run into their separate cars.
Love is also good as a backdrop to other story lines. Love causes characters to make that fatal mistake that messes up their best laid plans to become stockbrokers, or rob a convenience store, or finally do right by their long lost child. The loss of love drives characters to commit gruesome murders, or to become overly involved in their children's lives, or to debauchery, or world travel.
Yep, love is a writer's best friend... or wait, is it really just friendship, or the beginning of a torrid romance?