What do you think is important when writing love?
I sat on this ask for a long time, because I really liked this question… it’s a tough one to answer.
I’m sure many people have heard of the four loves, which stem from the four words used in ancient Greek for different types of love, loosely defined as: unconditional love (agape), intimate/mainly sexual love (eros), friendship/love between equals (philia), and instinctual/familial love (storge).
And on top of these many kinds of love, no two people feel love the same way… it is very difficult to define what portraying it entails. So after thinking about this, and how I write and have relationships of any nature progress in my stories, I think my answer would be that the most important thing for me when expressing love between two characters is understanding and making it clear why and what made them fall in love.
I mean this in any sense; platonic, romantic – sometimes the answer can be simple. E.g., this character is another character’s father, and will always love their child no matter what (agape/storge). But if the story has a deeper relationship or revolves around the love between two characters, I think it’s usually very important for the writer to have an understanding of what makes the characters love each other, and then make this abundantly clear to the audience, both during the budding relationship and after it has been solidified.
Bear in mind, this doesn’t mean there need to be grand declarations of love or page and pages focusing on these pivotal aspects of their relationship (unless you’re writing a romance, in which case… yeah). But it should still be clear.
Let’s use KageHina as an example! :D At the start of the series, Kageyama has negative faith in Hinata, and Hinata can’t stand him in return. This goes pretty much up to the wire, right before their practice match against Daichi/TsukiYama. Kageyama is, at best, resigned about working together; until he slowly starts realizing while watching Hinata receive the ball that Hinata is actually managing to do so (badly), whereas before he couldn’t at all. Kageyama recalls how harsh he’s been and contrasts it with how steadily Hinata has been working and how far he’s willing to push himself to make something out of their reluctant teamwork… and Kageyama tosses him the ball.
He doesn’t at any point actually say “Hold up, maybe this kid isn’t the worst” at any point in time. But in that moment, we see a turning point. And it swings back around the other way when Kageyama tells Hinata he will make him invincible – it’s the moment Hinata realizes he doesn’t just have a teammate in Kageyama, he has a partner, something he’s worked for and wanted for a really long time.
Speaking of KageHina, or writing for any fandom-based pairing, I do find occasionally that a lot of fics fall into a trap of assuming that, because the OTP is “understood” by readers outside the canon of the fic itself, there is less or even no explanation needed for why two characters want to be in a relationship (often, why two characters are suddenly trying to suck each others’ faces off, or touch genitals). This is fine if it’s a one-night-stand fic, but less so if you want readers to get invested in the emotional core of the relationship, even if they’re already there to read about KageHina or IwaOi or DaiSuga, etc.
If you think about it this way, the reason fandom loves reading about the same two people falling in love over and over is because we want to know why and what made them fall in love? Romantic or platonic, if that part gets skipped, it makes everything feel a little less satisfying.
So to come full circle, my belief is that love is based on connections. The feeling is motivated by each character’s wants and needs, their hopes and dreams and fears. When they connect with someone enough to love them on any level, in any way, all of those things that are intrinsically them will come into play. The stronger their love, the more important grasping all those aspects of their character will become, because it is very hard to truly love someone who can’t or won’t understand who you are. I think it’s important to keep that in mind any time you want to show why a character loves anyone or anything.
The better I understand the characters I’m writing, the better I’m able to answer the questions why? What made them fall in love?
Thanks for the question, anon!