My apologies HFAs for not posting this past week. My sister’s husband suddenly died and I flew to be with her and her children. Death is a terrible part of living, but loving is the greatest. So in memory of my brother-in-law and the great love he had for my sister I am dedicating this post to him and to their love….the Heart Will Go On.
What do the following Love Relationships have in common?
- Sir Lancelot & Guinevere of The Once and Future King
- Jane & Mr. Darby of Pride & Prejudice
- Claire & Jaimie of The Outlander Series
- Ayla & Jondalar of the Earth’s Children Series
1. Barriers to Each Other
Each of these amazing lovers had something (or someone) in the way that acted as a barrier for the lovers to be with each other. For Lancelot it was the King – that’s a big one! For Jane it was their social standing. For Claire it was both being married and from another Time Period. For Ayla it was both language and cultural upbringing that posed as the barrier to their love. What do we learn from these examples? We learn both as a reader and as a writer that love does not come easily. There are circumstances, people and social constructs that will oppose love. Therefore, as a reader we can find solace in our own lives that love will find us, we just need to find a way past the barriers. As a writer, we must ensure our characters face and fight barriers to love.
Now, I know you are thinking, “Duh! That’s an obvious one. Tell me something I don’t know.” Yes, our lovers are attractive, often very beautiful people, thus the physical attraction. However, the attraction I speak of is more character driven. For example, Claire Randall, of Outlander. Claire (married to Frank Randall in the 20th Century) describes herself as having wildly large and unruly hair, tall and awkward. Not exactly Vogue model material, don’t you think. Then there is Jamiee Fraser, a Scottish soldier and landowner from the eighteenth century who is a very tall, handsome, red-headed, nntelligent man with broad shoulders and plenty of muscles. (OK, so he fits the physical attraction portion of most romance novels.) So what is it that attracts Claire to Jamie and Jamie to Claire? When Claire was forced to marry Jamie there was no attraction, only preservation on Claire’s behalf. However, Jamie was attracted to Claire from the start. Why? First, in my humble opinion, Jamie was attracted to Claire’s spunk. She was unlike any woman Jamie had met. Claire was outspoken, stubborn (not an obviously attractive characteristic), independent, intelligent and an exceptional healer. These characteristics are what drew Jamie to Claire. What attracted Claire to Jamie, besides his great physique? Again, we go back to character. Jamie was brave, loyal, sweet, a respected leader, old fashion, patient and tender. These characteristics are the magnets that brought Claire and Jamie together.
As readers we love seeing characters with seemingly opposite personalities discover, cherish and love each other. As writers we want to learn to craft characters that our readers will cheer for their union. Therefore, we must write characters that have personalities and characteristics that will be attractive to each other (and to our readers).
Now this is a given. No surprises here. A great love must have passion. However, I am not only speaking about the kind of passion that happens under the sheets. I am also talking about a passion that unites them. Whether that passion is a common cause, common foe, or a common struggle, our great lovers must have a passion to focus their energy and time together on.
Let’s look at Ayla and Jondalar from Jean Auel’s Earth’s Children Series. Ayla and Jondalar have a passionate love, both beneath the furs and outside of the fur. The passion that unites them is the common goal of returning to Jondalar’s clan. When Jondalar, who had left his native clan to go on a long journey, first meets Ayla it is as his healer. During his recovery his attraction for her and to her grows. Once their relationship is established they come to a common understanding that they cannot live alone, as Ayla has been for a number of years, but they must join with other humans and so they begin the long, difficult journey to Jondalar’s clan, the Zelandonii. As they face storms, beasts, other human groups, Jondalar and Ayla’s desire to reach the Zelandonii together, keeps their love alive. (Although, I must confess, Jondalar’s jealousy does grow tiresome for readers. C’mon man! She’s beautiful, did you think you were the only guy who was going to notice that?)
So HFA readers and writers…what other elements do you see in some of the great loves of HFA? Tell me about them and perhaps I write a post about it 🙂
And for my sister, I see that you and your love had all these things, but your love found a way and for the last decade you and you man loved deeply, richly, fully…with no regrets (except for wanting more time.) I think only a great song from a great singer can be appropriate here. Please enjoy Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On”.
Until next time.