Does every story need love?

Karalee’s Post #104

With Valentine’s Day on the horizon, love is a topic that many people are either hiding under the covers to avoid talking about it, or doing other stuff under there that gives love the freedom of expression.

It’s got me asking whether fiction stories need love?


My initial response is “Of course not. They don’t all need love.”

On the other hand, when I think about it, I can’t remember a story I’ve read that didn’t have some element of love in it. Very few had scenes with hot-and-steamy go-for-it-sex described in detail. And truth told, seldom is it necessary to tell all.

Love though, doesn’t have to mean romance.

Love can be between a child and her mother. Between siblings, or friends, or cousins, or any other family members. What about your pets? Dogs, cats, horses, etc? Remember Old Yeller? or Black Beauty?

So what is necessary for love? How does it get into every story?

Only two things are needed. 

  1. Characters
  2. Relationships

Simple, right?

Put two people together and there will be some kind of relationship. Good chance it won’t be a loving one, but every character has a history. Since attachment is a basic human need, a necessity for survival in our infancy, somewhere along the line your character will have experienced love with someone, and if not a human then with a pet that had provided nurturing along life’s journey.

Your character’s back-story is what has made him (or her) who he/she is. Love will always be in there somewhere, and how your character acts or reacts will reflect that relationship in some form.

What do you think? Does every fiction story have some thread of love included?

I read Jami Gold’s blog. I loved her post this week and you might want to check it out too. It’s about the romance genre in general and titled, Is “Love Conquers All” Realistic?

Did you know that after this year, the next time we can celebrate Valentine’s Day on a Saturday is in 2026? That must be the reason my husband can’t book a restaurant table that he wants in Vancouver this weekend! And it’s not only because he left it until 3 days beforehand…


Writing Progress: Good progress reviewing my very rough first draft.

Writing Distractions:  

  1. I’m almost finished setting up my new office space. It’s got a great ambiance so progress is a must.
  2. Went wedding dress shopping last week with my daughter. Great fun!
  3. Organizing photos for said wedding. Memory lane is a huge distraction, but tons of fun!
  4. Feeling guilty about avoiding getting my tax stuff done….

Treats eaten: homemade chocolate pudding x 2 (small and delicious!) but only after a large salad. It all helps!

Movies/TV watched: getting into the series Selfridges. I’d like to watch what Joe is into as well, Better Call Saul.

Books reading: Gabor Maté’s In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts.

Perspective Photos taken this week:


















Happy writing!


8 thoughts on “Does every story need love?

  1. Thanks so much. You posted this at a very opportune time for me. I’m starting a typically dark story, and need to make the reader like the narrator/protagonist, though he’s a paranoid iconoclast. One of Silk’s previous posts emphasized the need to make the reader feel profound emotions, so what I think I’ll do is have his family arrange a marriage for him (he’s an Israelite wandering the Old Testament desert) and have him actually fall in love. “All” I need is characters and relationships. The good thing is, before I even made this decision, I had some characters and relationships that would make it work. The bad thing is, I hate sentimentality in my writing, so I’m going to have to think and write outside my box. I might even have to… ugh … watch chic-flocs with my wife. 😟

    • Don’t worry Jerry, you can enjoy yourself turning love into loss so your paranoid iconoclast can bathe himself in pain to his heart’s content. Boy meets girl, boy gets girl, boy loses girl. You’ll have to decide whether boy gets girl back! Guess that depends on how many chic flicks you’re forced to watch!

    • Thanks for your comments Jerry and Silk. You never know what could happen watching chic flicks with your wife Jerry! Your writing may very well soften, and when the magic wears off the emotions of love lost can rise up and influence your writing! Gotta love those relationships!
      Happy Valentines Day too! Maybe let your wife choose a movie to watch?

  2. Thanks for the shout out to my blog! 🙂 And you bring up a great point about the importance of relationships in general within stories.

    Even in stories where the POV character/narrator is a loner (say, like, Jack Reacher), they tend to get involved with the main plot *because* they care about the other characters in some way. Heck, even in the old A-Team TV show, they’d make the victims sympathetic for the A-Team and the audience to care about. 🙂

    • You are welcome Jami! And love relationships in writing can span the spectrum from infatuation (real or neurotic) to revenge (and much worse) for betrayal of love! Emotional connections whether positive or negative are powerful motivators!
      – from one panster to another…

  3. Hi Karalee,

    It seems to me that every fiction author puts a ton of love into each of their characters. Maybe the story doesn’t need love and the love is there in the author’s heart always.

    Your still looking for a Valentines Dinner place hubby :-).


  4. Great post this week Karalee. Looking back, I’m shocked we haven’t written more on the subject of love … have we forgotten we came from the “love is all you need” and “make love not war” generation? This is such an important topic, maybe another one of those writers’ secrets hiding in plain sight.

    Another thought: love can be a huge motivator for a character. But so can LACK of love. Isn’t a lot of human behaviour really a quest for love?

    • Thanks Silk. When I think about it, love is in all stories that develop any type of relationships, and it brings out all the other emotions that either acceptance or rejection of love evokes. We all need love to develop a normal psyche. Muck with this normal and the possibilities for us writers are endless!

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