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Robert L.B.
07-07-2007, 08:55 AM
You heard me, what is it? How does it feel? What keeps it going? How does it grow?

I'm eighteen and have never loved, beyond platonically. I want to include that catalyst of emotion in my stories, to bring these characters to life. But, how can I craft something I know nothing about? I don't know what the difference between puppy love and true love is. Heck, about a year ago I'd have said, "One's a waste of time, the other is a terminal disease."

So, yeah. Educate the youngin. But please don't "educate" me, as I'm not interested in the "information" about the more risque facets of it.

sunandshadow
07-07-2007, 09:20 AM
Emotions are one area where the saying "write what you know" definitely applies. Me, I have never felt the desire for revenge, so I'm pretty sure it wouldn't work well if I tried to write a main character whose motivation was getting revenge.

Izunya
07-07-2007, 10:02 AM
Well, for starters, it's not quite as dramatic as it is in romance fiction, in my experience. It kind of snuck up on me. I started dating my best friend, who just happened to be a guy, because we were spending all our time together anyway, watching movies together, going to meals together, talking way too late at night in our dorm rooms (I was in college). We made eachother laugh like crazy people, and it was just a lot of fun hanging out with him, so why not have another excuse to do it? And also, one night we were sitting on the front step of my dorm, talking as usual, when we sort of started this mutual scooting-stealthily-toward-eachother thing, and I got my first kiss. It didn't blow me off the planet, but it was nice.

Then, after we'd been dating for a while, I gradually started to realize that I was just happier when he was around. That I could live without him, if I really had to, but it would suck.

It scared me to death. I didn't have the greatest childhood in a lot of ways, and I've had my head messed with before. I'm a little paranoid about being emotionally vulnerable. Oh, and I have some health problems, so I hate hate hate being dependent on people, even though realistically speaking I often am. But even if I wasn't slightly messed up, I think it would have been a somewhat scary moment, realizing that there's someone in my life who's really important, that if he's hurting I can't be happy, and what on earth do I do with this feeling?

Well, I lived with him for a while and then got married to him, and it seems to work pretty well. But it never was eyes-meeting-across-a-crowded-room stuff. It's deep, deep friendship with sexual attraction to spice things up.

Izunya

JoNightshade
07-07-2007, 11:03 AM
I also married my best friend. And I'd choose friendship-love, as Izunya described, over a hot romance if I had it to do over again. We know another couple who love each other a lot, but it's more of the male-female romance kind of thing. They don't have as much in common and they spend a lot of time hanging out together with other people because, honestly, I think they get bored with one another. Me and my hubby? We could entertain each other until the end of time.

So yeah. Love is a lot like friendship. Actually it's almost exactly like friendship, except that you get to indulge your sexual appetites.

Incidentally, I wrote a lot about love before I had ever experienced it myself. Looking back, I realized I got it right. Don't worry about not having experience personally. You're a human being, which means you know what love is. In whatever form.

ALLWritety
07-07-2007, 11:09 AM
Hi
First and formost love is a choice. YOU need to choose to love a person. Yes there are all the emotions and feeling but they can change in drop of a hat. They are fickle so don't base your whole relationship on them.

Yes you need to have feelings and emotions but they should not be the foundation. Friendship and choosing to love should be the foundation. You need to choose to love coz there will be times that you will hate/detest them. Your feeling are out of the window! So what do you do? Break up? NO! You choose to love and accept them as they are, for WHO they are.

This is the bedrock and will keep you together during the rough times.

Kev.

Kadea
07-07-2007, 11:46 AM
I knew I was in love with my (eventual) husband when I wanted to spend virtually every waking minute with him. We spent hours (and I mean HOURS) on the phone, just talking. Talking about everything.

I also knew when my mother was diagnosed with terminal cancer and my life revolved around her for 11 months and he didn't flinch/back away or avoid the situation, that he really loved me as much as I loved him.

The dynamics of our life have changed over the years, we now have two young sons. But I feel we have come to the point of not just loving each other, but relying on each other. We both acknoweldge that the kids come first, but that is because they are a product of our love as corny as that sounds.

Yes we disagree on things, but we both understand that there is a bigger picture.

Hope that helps you a bit, but I think it is a bit too ambitious to write about that subject if you haven't really experienced it to some degree.

Zoombie
07-07-2007, 11:58 AM
As a 17 year old kid who only tries to think up what love might be by writing about it, and hopes that he got it right, the only answer I have is: A song by Haddaway.

But, in my story, funnily enough, the two people who fall in love have been best freinds for a long time. Then they start to notice each other, then start kissing, then they start thinking about one another more often then it developers from there into a proposal and him carrying her over the threshold while singing "Here Comes the Bride" a key out of tune.

Maryn
07-07-2007, 07:03 PM
I think I realized I was in love when I wanted to take the broken piece of pie and give him the good one, instead of the other way around. His happiness meant more to me than my own? Wow.

I remember this because we actually argued about it--he insisted I get the good piece. Ain't love grand?

I agree that emotion is really, truly a write-what-you-know area. Your POV character can observe other characters in love, because you have observed it, but having him or her be in love means you're likely to make mistakes. The most common ones involve over-romanticizing.

Maryn, deeply in love for a long, long time

seven41
07-07-2007, 07:08 PM
My wife and I will celebrate our 46th anniversary in about a month. Our marriage has endured because we have learned that love is about sharing, compromising, and allowing.

We share those things we both like. We compromise when we have differences of opinion. Mostly, though, we allow each other to be who we are. There is a lot of trust that has developed and that is also a very important part of it. As far as I know, she has never cheated on me and I have not cheated on her. During mid-life crisis I fell in love with another woman, but I chose not to do anything about what I felt for that woman. My wife allowed me to work through it even though it hurt her a lot to know I was emotionally attracted to someone else. That is love.

Then my wife went through a depression at a time when our children were early to mid teens. I had to take up a lot of the slack, but she was allowed to sleep all day if she needed it. When she finally bottomed out, she asked me to take her to the doctor and we got her some help.

For what it's worth, my wife and I have almost nothing in common. She likes country music and jazz. I like classical and folk. She is a people and family person; I am a loner. I play chess and work puzzles like the Rubik's cube. She plays computer games. She likes to eat out and I prefer to eat at home. When she's ill, she wants attention and I prefer to be left alone. What we do have in common is: When either of us has a problem we can't resolve, the other joins in to help solve it.

She's not the 105 pound sex kitten I married, but that isn't important anymore. Her true beauty lies in her intellect and personality. It took me a few years to understand that, but I made it. She is dependable, trustworthy, and caring. What more could I ask?

I'm adding a paragraph from a spiritual novel I'm working on that deals with the subject of love. It's probably not what you're looking for, but maybe you'll find a seed in it that will grow for you.

“Second, what is love? Poets and songwriters seem to have a lot to say about the subject. The dictionary has more than one definition for love, but our usual concept is of a strong feeling between one human and another. My belief is that love is allowing. If you truly love someone, then you allow them to be who they are. You don’t try to change them even though it hurts you to watch them as they make themselves miserable. IT, my name for God, does the same thing. IT allows us to be whatever we want to be and allows us to express in the physical form no matter what damage we might do to ourselves and others. IT does not judge us for our actions or thoughts. IT does not control our actions or thoughts. IT simply allows us to experience all the emotions achievable through physical existence. For example, in the spiritual form, we could not hold a baby nor smell a rose. We have to be in the physical form to have those experiences and all the others associated with our five senses. In the physical world is where IT learns and experiences those things which cannot be experienced in the spiritual realm. IT allows us to experience them any way we choose. That includes all the things we perceive to be bad, evil, mean, etc. It also includes all the things we perceive to be good, wonderful, kind, etc. These are judgments and they are made by man. IT does not judge us. IT loves us beyond our capability to conceive love and IT allows us to be who we are and do what we wish. There are no strings attached to this love.”


As a final offering, read 1 Corinthians, Chapter 13 in Revised Standard Version of the Bible. It has a pretty good definition of love.

Namaste'

Seven

JoNightshade
07-08-2007, 12:11 AM
Hope that helps you a bit, but I think it is a bit too ambitious to write about that subject if you haven't really experienced it to some degree.

I totally disagree. If you love your mom or your dog, you can write about love. If you have had a good friendship, you can write about love. You're a writer; extrapolate. Everyone's experience of love is unique, so who cares if it's a bit over-romanticized? Almost all love stories are over-romanticized. Saying it's not possible to know what "true romantic love" is before you've experienced it is silly... because if you had no idea what it was, how would you know you'd found it? Does that mean you have to go out and date 10 different people, compare those experiences, and then pick the one that seemed the most like it might be love?

No. I dated exactly one man. I've never kissed anyone else, never slept with anyone else, never wanted anyone else (except maybe Harrison Ford, but that just wasn't gonna happen...) You can look at other people, read other books, watch movies. Go find a couple that seem to be very in love, successfully, and ask them why they love each other, what holds them together.

Also I agree with whoever said love is a choice. Dang, I love my husband, but sometimes he just drives me INSANE. He has this habit of liking to annoy people just to see them react-- and I knew about this from the first time I met him, and decided it was a character flaw I could live with (everyone has character flaws... it's just a matter of finding someone with flaws you can tolerate), but sometimes... sometimes he pushes me OVER THE EDGE. At that point, I have to remember that I made a commitment and I chose to love him, and so I have to stick it out. And I'm sure he does the same thing for me.

Petroglyph
07-08-2007, 12:20 AM
Seven41, Thank you for a lovely post.

Kadea
07-08-2007, 12:26 AM
Jo-

I think you mis-understood me. I said that I thought it would be a bit ambitious to write about it (ambitious means hard- but not impossible) to write about it if the writer had not experienced love to some degree. Puppy love could qualify. It all depends on what the writer is looking for. If the author is trying to make it an ultra-authentic love story, yet has never experienced intense love, they may want to wait until they experience it. Or simply re-organize the plot to fit what they feel comfortable writing about.

I'm sorry you mis-understood what I was trying to say. I was tired when I wrote it (and am actually in a rush right now...so my apologies if I still didn't convey what I wanted to convey...)

JoNightshade
07-08-2007, 01:24 AM
Jo-

I think you mis-understood me. I said that I thought it would be a bit ambitious to write about it (ambitious means hard- but not impossible) to write about it if the writer had not experienced love to some degree. Puppy love could qualify. It all depends on what the writer is looking for. If the author is trying to make it an ultra-authentic love story, yet has never experienced intense love, they may want to wait until they experience it. Or simply re-organize the plot to fit what they feel comfortable writing about.

I'm sorry you mis-understood what I was trying to say. I was tired when I wrote it (and am actually in a rush right now...so my apologies if I still didn't convey what I wanted to convey...)

Oh! Sorry, my bad.

scarletpeaches
07-08-2007, 01:24 AM
Oh baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more...

Soccer Mom
07-08-2007, 01:50 AM
Romantic love is just like any other love but with sex added in. That love you feel for a great friend, your pet, your parent....it's the same feeling. It does change with time. It isn't demeaning to me to make sure my husband and children are cared for and have clean underwear nicely folded in the drawer. It doesn't lessen my worth as a woman to give up activities in order to run errands and drive children to soccer practice and violin lessons. It isn't a slap at my power as a woman to see others needs taken care of before my own. I want to do it. It gives me pleasure. To me, that's love.

Robert L.B.
07-08-2007, 01:59 AM
Oh baby don't hurt me, don't hurt me, no more...

There it is, thirteen posts in. New record.

Thank you for the responses everyone, I think I have a better understanding of it now. I am somewhat familiar with the "friendship" part of love, so I think I'll go with that. Any more and I'd be writing a romance. I still make gagging sounds when walking by that section in Barnes & Noble.

job
07-08-2007, 03:04 AM
The art of writing, once you move beyond cleverness in stringing words together, is the art of understanding.

I'd suggest a writer spend his time studying the thoughts and feelings of his friends, and of strangers he overhears in the subway, and of his family.

I'd tell him to spread his own entrails upon the rocks and take a good long look at them.

I'd urge him to abandon labels and preconceptions that put human experience into small, neat boxes.
Asking 'what is love?' is like asking 'what is the shape of water?'

And mostly, I suggest a writer choose a story that tells the strongest emotional truth he knows.

Writing a very small, solid turth --
'this is exactly how it feels to try to help a 15-year-old whose parents are getting a divorce,' *
is better than writing a mishymoishy abstract --
'this is how a character feels when he falls, y'know, in luv.'
.
.
.
* annoyed, exasperated, sad, frustrated, hurt, angry, impatient, weary, determined, protective, resigned ... the shape of water, in fact

TrainofThought
07-08-2007, 03:11 AM
You heard me, what is it? How does it feel? What keeps it going? How does it grow?

I'm eighteen and have never loved, beyond platonically. I want to include that catalyst of emotion in my stories, to bring these characters to life. But, how can I craft something I know nothing about?

So, yeah. Educate the youngin. But please don't "educate" me, as I'm not interested in the "information" about the more risque facets of it.I think it is hard to define love even with examples to help YOU understand how ‘I’ felt. Sometimes adults don't understand the difference between emotions. To me, you can’t define love because what one person feels/assumes is love may differ from another - it’s blind faith. Adults mistake lust or comfort for love and don’t understand the true emotion until the relationship progresses... And even then they're sometimes wrong.

Here is a suggestion: You can use emotions you are familiar with to capture a character’s love. If you can describe an emotional or physical pain you experienced, you can flip the images in a positive way to show love. I don’t know if that makes sense, but hope it helps. Good luck.

seven41
07-08-2007, 03:28 AM
When all else fails, try the Urban Dictionary. There are 236 definitions of love in it. Take your pick.

Seven

Chumplet
07-08-2007, 05:08 AM
I think the main characteristic of love is the need to put your love's needs above your own. Not necessarily a life and death situation, but perhaps you give your love the benefit of a doubt when he makes a mistake, or if you think he'll like that cool golf shirt, you get it for him.

You make an extra effort to make him laugh if he's feeling down, or you give him an extra push to get out of his rut when he's wallowing in self-doubt.

Oh, and that little flutter in your tummy when he kisses you.

Scrawler
07-08-2007, 06:45 AM
For me, love isn't about a feeling so much as a way of behaving.

Sean D. Schaffer
07-09-2007, 10:24 AM
You heard me, what is it? How does it feel? What keeps it going? How does it grow?

I'm eighteen and have never loved, beyond platonically. I want to include that catalyst of emotion in my stories, to bring these characters to life. But, how can I craft something I know nothing about? I don't know what the difference between puppy love and true love is. Heck, about a year ago I'd have said, "One's a waste of time, the other is a terminal disease."

So, yeah. Educate the youngin. But please don't "educate" me, as I'm not interested in the "information" about the more risque facets of it.


What is love? That's a pretty broad question. I don't think a single post is going to answer this question satisfactorily.

When I first fell in love with a woman, the love was the unrequited kind. She and I 'did it' a few times, but she never said, "I love you" back to me when I said it to her.

To me, the love I felt for this individual was almost an internal physical aching, a yearning to be with this person. I felt she was closer than a friend, and I divulged information to her -- as she did with me -- that I would never have told my own mother.

I think the aching I had to be with her probably was a physical, sexual thing. The real love I held for her, allowed me to trust her beyond my trust for my own parents or my closest friends. It wasn't just that we had intimate relations; it was that we shared life together, ate together, talked together, and trusted one another.

When she broke up with me last year, I was heartbroken. To this day I wish she and I could get back together, not only because of the sex, but more importantly, because of the powerful friendship we had.

Anyway, I don't mean to wax all profound or anything here. I just mean that love is a lot like a close friendship, with the exception that the trust is so strong a person will be willing to tell the person they love, things they would never tell even their closest family members. Lovers share a lot more than I think society would let on. A lot of people focus on the sex, but the issue of love is so much more than that. I'm sure this post will be far different from a lot of other posts on this thread, but that's only because so many people's experiences with love differ in so many varying ways.