Last week we talked about the importance of romantic subplots in your stories because audiences love love . Serendipitously, I came across this webinar by the Mystery Writers of America Norcal Chapter about inserting romance into your mystery. It’s over zoom and it’s free this Saturday.
This week we’re going to talk about other ways you can incorporate love into your stories. As the song goes Love Is All Around Us. You don’t need to use a romantic subplot to include some emotion into your story. Here are some other kinds of loving relationships that can enrich your writing.
All Kinds of Love
Family Love: The functional loving family that we see in every family sitcom from The Brady Bunch to Modern Family. A family united in fighting a threat – A Quiet Place (2018). Dealing with a member’s impending death – The Family Stone (2005). Or a dysfunctional family healing – This is Where I Leave You (2014).
Sibling Love: Sibling love can heal. In The Skeleton Twins (2014) two adult siblings reconnect and help each other fix their lives. Siblings can face a dangerous threat. In The Night of the Hunter (1955) a young brother and sister must evade their murderous new step-father. Siblings can take care of each other when their parents die – Party of Five (1994-2000).
Parent & Child Love: Parents can protect their children – The Road (2009). In a coming of age story, children see their parents in a new light – Mermaids (1990) and Juno (2007). Parents can be a central part of a character’s identity – Sheldon and his mother in The Big Bang Theory. Parents can help their children heal – The Horse Whisperer (1998). Or nurture their talent – Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993).
Best Friend Love: With best friend love we have women & men’s stories that showcase the difference in male and female relationships. On the women’s side we have: Women breaking out their shell – Barb & Star Go to Vista del Mar (2021). The fear of your best friend replacing you – Bridesmaids (2011). Standing up to the mean girls – Romy & Michele’s High School Reunion (1997). The Sex and the City TV series was ostensibly about four women looking for love, but it was really about their love for each other in their enduring friendship.
Another name for best friend love is buddy comedy, which has been rechristened in recent years as bromance. Buddy comedies are almost always two men. Sometimes they know each other before the story starts and become friends along the way – Ride Along (2014). Sometimes they are strangers who are friends by the end – Midnight Run(1988). Sometimes they start the story as friends 21 Jump Street (2012) and Shaun of the Dead (2004) and their friendship is challenged but comes out stronger in the end.
Found Family Love: A found family is when a group of characters come together to love and support each other through many adventures. The Avengers, the Fast and Furious gang, Friends, and The Big Bang Theory are all found families.
Lots of Love
Often stories have several kinds of love relationships in them. The Harry Potter books and movies are a great example. Harry has a found family with Ron, Hermione, Ron’s family, and the teachers and other students at Hogwarts that care about him. We have best friend love with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. There are romantic relationships throughout the series. All of these different kinds of emotional relationships give the series a lot of depth and keep the audience invested.
What is your favorite kind of love to see on screen or read? What is your favorite kind of love to write? Comment below. Happy Valentine’s Day! Wishing you a day filled with all kinds of love.
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