As you may or may not have noticed from some of my fiction posts to this blog, I write a lot about sad topics and inner monologues. I write fantasy and dystopia and contemporary with a twist, but very rarely to I write about love.*
I don’t write about love because I know very little about it. Having never been in love (romantically that is), I find the experience impossible to fabricate. I can’t find words for it because, simply put, I don’t understand it. I don’t get it the way that I get anger and fear and happiness, because it’s an emotion that I’ve never felt. Love is insubstantial. Its indescribable in a way that makes it special and unique to everyone and “you just know it when you feel it.” So how can I write about that until I do?
I know that lust is different than love, that people are supposed to be angry or hurt or devastated after a breakup. I know that some couples are cutesy and others are best friends. But I know these things because I’ve been reading books and watching movies about love for as long as I can remember. Not always outright romances, but almost everything I’ve ever read or watched has had some subplot about a relationship and that’s because it is one of the most universal human bonds that an author can build for their readers. People connect with relationships; they either see themselves in one character’s love for another, or attempt to put themselves in that character’s shoes so they can be a part of the journey. I know all of this, but I can’t manage it in my own writing yet without sounding insincere.
I’ve never been in love with anyone I’ve ever dated (or crushed on) and that shows when I try to write break ups and romantic scenes. They feel forced and fake, more like scripted banter than actual emotion and I don’t want that for my writing. If I could only feel it for just one moment, be in love for just one second, I know my perspective would change. But I haven’t been. Not yet, anyway.
*Truth and Lies might be an exception, but I felt very pressured to write contemporary fiction over fantasy when I submitted that piece for class. If I hadn’t, I may never have written it at all. Which leads to an entirely different discussion about the need to teach both high-concept and genre fiction in universities, a discussion that I will not get into just now.