author C.C.Cole's blog

Friday, January 31, 2014

On the Cliché of Forbidden Love

"Anna Karenina"

Many editors, readers, and my mother told me numerous times an important part of a story is a love interest and keeping Shevata from falling for an Edward Cullen-like character is a potential weakness in “Act of Redemption.”  As a writer and creator of a story, I couldn’t give my lead character a love interest until she’s ready, and she’s on a complex journey to get there.  As for love being a must in every story, really?

Answer:  Almost really.  Most stories have a love interest, be in main part, a side story, a weird part, however, but love makes the world go around, and it makes a lot of the fictional world go around as well.   Heroes save the girl, a heroine takes a lover, a man starts a war over lost love (“A Song of Ice and Fire” or “Game of Thrones”), or a couple of young people secretly fall in love with tragic consequences, the prototype forbidden love “Romeo and Juliet.”

To me the idea of forbidden love is almost as cliché as it gets, but as I’ve said before about clichés, they sometimes give strength to a story.  Being the most treasured emotion of humanity, love moves us all, and the idea of forbidden love reminds us that when love is involved (romance being the main topic here, but also love of family) other societal rules are thrown out and characters risk it all; their lives, their kingdoms, the lives of others, the love of their own families to have the person he/she truly loves.  When one considers the possibilities, it’s nearly endless when forbidden love is at stake.  For writers, it’s almost a winner every time when done well.

Are there negatives to using “Forbidden love” in stories?  Answer:  With any cliché, there’s always the possibility of predictability or overwhelming tragedy that takes a very strong story for the audience to relate to.  As in my blog article about the power of devastation, people want to feel the tragedy in their hearts, while others feel turned off.  To me, with well-written stories, audiences can handle a downer ending if truly reeled in.  The example I like using is “Atonement.”  While I felt rage and sadness at the end of the book (and film), I think it’s a great story. 

So writers, who are your characters in forbidden love?  What keeps them apart? What are the consequences of their union or separation?  Tell us about it in your story, and though cliché, it will grip us like few feelings can, because love tears us from the inside out just like it does with the fictional characters.

1 comment:

  1. I read this and the other one you sent me! I think that love interest is an important part of any story simply because it is the strongest emotion most of us feel - and everyone always, always wants to read about forbidden love. In the UK, the longest running soap opera, Coronation Street, has been running storylines about forbidden affairs for the past 53 years - cliche or not, they're what the viewers want to see!

    I've written one novel that's not about relationships, first and foremost - but the love interest is still there :)