Love, much like religion, is a bullshit pursuit that leaves those that believe in it and strive for it feeling worse off than if they had never heard of the word or concept. That is why it is perfect for stories. Love is simply just another way of saying the word conflict and conflict is the life blood of any and all stories, fiction or otherwise. Love and love stories are meant to have us feeling good and full of hope but really they are the bill of goods that drives conflict around the world, and at home as well. Let’s think about that for a second or sixty. People love too much? Conflict. People aren’t loved enough? Conflict. Love triangles? Triple the conflict! Forbidden love? Stories that involve people with names like Montague and Capulet and possibly illicit conflict! Unrequited love and all the pathetic adoration that comes with it? Conflict with lots of masturbation!
I could go on for a while about the stupidity of love, so let’s focus on the writing aspect with a bit more depth, specifically with respect to unorthodox and/or unique love stories. Yes, traditional “boy meets girl, they love, they fight, they fall apart and get back together” stories will never fail but at the same time they are as stale as the PG under-the-covers-bra-still-on-missionary-guy-must-have-a-really-long-penis-to-be-in-that-position sex that occurs between their pages or credit scenes. What about adding a LGBTQ element? Or a sexual fetish? What about an age difference? Or a non-sexual fetish? Using fetish twice in the same post is enough I think, so what about adding or subtracting something to or from the story. Adding something more than one person’s unwillingness to commit or a character’s need for maturity can only enhance the love story and, by extension, the story overall. A romantic (love) subplot with a non-traditional or unorthodox element can be a brilliant move for a story because it fleshes things out while keeping things
fetish, I mean, fresh.
In the last 5-7 years, I have noticed more films being made with the non-traditional love twist. Food, cars, running, addiction, tattoos, height, weight, multiple partners, open relationships, pegging, voyeurism, and BDSM are all becoming more a part of the mainstream with respect to sex and love in non-pornographic film. At first I was reluctant to watch some of them because I need to relate to characters in the media I consume. In books, because there is more internal thought taking place, I can relate to a character that lives in Barcelona and grew up the son of a bookseller. In film, because everything is much more visual with less time for intense introspection, I find it harder to relate to characters with more unique tendencies. Regardless of how I relate – because remember, who the fuck am I? – adding what used to be called “spice” to your characters’ lives, relationships, and sexual antics will only enhance the story because it adds depth and will speak to more people than you think.
Love is bullshit. No, wait, love is conflict and conflict is awesome so I guess love is awesome then as well. There has to be some faulty logic there. Before I search for the logic gap, I’m off to read Savage Love – an amazing column coordinated by Dan Savage – for inspiration but also provides great insight into what really goes on in people’s hearts, minds, and bedrooms. Thank you Dan!