Updated: Dec 31, 2022
As we learn, every story has three key parts: Character, Setting, Plot. There are infinite possibilities here depending on the writer's imagination. But what is the secret to all successful and irresistible stories? The answer might seem pretty obvious...
The saying, "Love conquers all" is quite true when it comes to stories. Whether platonic or romantic love is a staple to all successful stories. You might think you need some intriguing worldbuilding or characters to grab your reader's attention, but that is not the case! The simplest stories have made it from book to screen with great success because they focused or featured LOVE!
Teddy and Jo in Little Women
Little Women by Louisa May Alcott is a beautiful book with two movie adaptions, where the main character, Jo becomes best friends with her neighbor she calls Teddy. Here, we fall in love with Lord Laurie as soon as we meet him as he is genuinely kind to the March family and has a wonderful dynamic with Jo. As readers we hang on to see if they end up together, but no. Though it is clear the two love each other, it wasn't a romantic bond, but a bond that entices and confused readers into wishing otherwise.
Luce, Cam, and Daniel in Fallen
Can anyone scream, LOVE TRIANGLE?? As personally annoying as love triangles are for me, 99% of humankind will think otherwise, haha.
Love triangles, squares, octagons, and so forth, are powerful because it showcases two conflicting sides of the main character. Apart from the attractiveness of both Cam and Daniel, Luce is drawn to Cam because he is mysterious, charming, and on more than one occasion a good guy which keeps her and the readers guessing.
Daniel, on the other hand, is usually aloof, standoffish, usually disappears, and on all forced occasions, he is a good guy. We as readers are so engrossed by him that we stay around to learn why he acts this way, and why Luce feels so drawn to him.
There are several other triangles worth mentioning:
1. Bella, Edward, Jacob - Twilight, Stephanie Meyer
This plays on Bella's human side vs. the side she felt never fit in, which leads her to believe she is born to be a vampire.
2. Katniss, Peta, Gale - The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
This plays on Katniss's sensitive side (Peta) vs. her values (Gale). While she and Gale always wanted the same things, she shares her compassion with Peta.
3. Alina, Mal, General Kirigan - Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Now, this is an interesting one! Here Alina, the symbol of light to the world is torn between her childhood best friend and the man who is the symbol of darkness— who she balances.
Rather than choosing between two halves of the self, Alina must decide to stay where she is needed (with Kirigan) or with the person who has always been there for her.
Kirigan also offers her a luxurious life in which he tells her how he understands the feeling of being different and the importance of making a difference in the world using your supernatural gift. Mal, an orphan soldier can only give her his protection, devotion, and companionship.
Romeo and Juliet, Anna Katerina, The Great Gatsby, Endless Love, Brokeback Mountain, and more!
There are so many prime examples showcasing two characters who love each other, yet their circumstances, situations, values, familial backgrounds, religions do not connect and therefore they cannot be together. Their union is regarded as "wrong", and the storyline is usually sad and frustrating. This is the one type of love I do not like to watch or read about, but it does sell if the love prevails.
Whether or not your readers like reading about love, love is something everyone wants to experience. This ultimate bond between people is the strongest force in the world. It is where goodness, compassion, and true strength derives from. It is that force that allows a mother to lift a car above her head to save her child. Or the force that brings one to their knees when they learn someone they loved is no longer alive. Or the force that makes you feel like you can accomplish anything beside the one who supports you. As a writer, it is your ultimate weapon! Use it well.
J.K. Noble is a published author of the new YA Fantasy Book, Hale: The Rise of the Griffins! She is also the illustrator of Hale: The Rise of the Griffins Graphic Novel! Want to read them? Find the free previews at Hale-fantasynovel.com !