I’m in the process of revising a story about a guy whose fiancée dies. The story covers from when he learns of her death to the funeral. The writing group I’m in critiqued the first draft, and one of them commented that they wanted to know more about the relationship. And I had realized that was something I had glossed over. I think I just had one scene of him remembering how they met. So I started looking at spots where I could add in additional details, and I realized that writing about love is weird.
Part of it is that “love” seems to have been so overused that it’s losing its meaning. Just saying you love someone now is just Step One. Step Two is having to expand on that by explaining how much you love them. Sure I could have my main character give a long, impassioned speech about how his love for her would be as eternal as the stars, and while that might have been something a couple of centuries ago, now it feels more like a ninth grader copying something off Wikipedia for their report due the next day. Besides, real love – at least as I imagine it – is composed of ten thousand little details that by themselves are insignificant, but as a whole is something wonderful. For example, someone could be having a bad day and a friend/coworker/stranger tells a bad joke that makes them laugh and five years later they’re married. If you’re writing a story about this, you can’t just have, “I laughed at their bad joke five years ago, and now we’re married.” The reader would realize that a great deal was missing. But on the other hand, just listing these ten thousand minor details that build up to love would be unimaginably boring.
If this was an action movie love story, then having one character saying, “Our love grew after they saved me from time traveling ninjas,” would make sense. But I wanted my story to be more grounded. In the end, I’m just having him remember a half-dozen or so of these minor details and hoping the reader will understand that’s just the tip of the iceberg as to the reasons he loved her.
Image from Pixabay.