By Nichole Giles
I am a lifelong romance fan. Books, movies, real life, I love it all. Yeah, guys, it’s probably a girl thing. We can’t help it, you know? And having been such a fan, I have learned to appreciate a great variety of the different types of love one character can experience.
Real, true feelings aren’t simple or straightforward, and never, ever are they easy to explain in a handful of words. That’s the thing with love. Even the experts don’t understand it. So how then, are we—the writers—supposed to convey it?
Don’t get me wrong, it can be done. It is possible to write a complex love story, one where the characters involved are torn in several different directions. These are the stories that become classics, bestsellers, and someone’s favorite book. But really, there is no right or wrong method to doing this.
Take for example Romeo and Juliet. Love? Definitely. Complex? Absolutely. Happy ending? Sorry, no dice. Tragic.
Or Sense and Sensibility. Love? Yes. Complex? As much as possible. Happy ending? Oh yeah.
But what about the complex relationship between two friends? The compelling, supportive, unconditional I-love-you-even-though-you-drive-me-crazy kind of friendship? Does that not also constitute love?
Now you’re probably wondering, what is she talking about? The thing is, you can write a good love story with well thought out characters, a great plot, and the perfect ending (happy or sad) but if you have left your story without those complex friendships, it will always be lacking that one important element.
Think about it. How different would your life be if you had chosen not to have relationships with your closest friends? Or if you were to move away and not keep in touch with them. What would it be like if they weren’t just a phone call, or a car ride, or an email away? Would their absence leave a hole in you? How would your life be altered? Now ask yourself what difference these friendships make in your other relationships.
I have come to the conclusion that, just like in real life, the more complex a character’s relationships, the more compelling the story becomes. I guess what I’m saying is, it’s okay to let your characters give pieces of their hearts away to many different people. It’s the best part of life, and so will become the best part of the story.
These are the relationships that make life worth living. These are the relationships that make stories worth reading.