……Two turtle doves who, because they mate for life, symbolise undying love – one of the great themes of fiction. Almost every major novel has a love story at the heart of it (though if you can think of ones which don’t, email me because I’d like to know!)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that the course of true love does not, and in the case of fiction, should not, run smoothly. In the world of the novel love should be unrequited, thwarted, unacknowledged or forsworn. Happily ever after isn’t the subject of a good book, although it may be its conclusion. The basic plot of a love story has been summed up as boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back and although it is up to you as a writer to make this simple trajectory your own, you need to centre your story on the process through which your protagonist realises they are in love and that securing the affections of the loved one is worth any sacrifice. The element of questing which is crucial to a romance dates back to the mediaeval age of chivalry and in that sense it’s a tried and tested formula.
So, if you have time on your hands during the holiday period (hah!) try sketching out a story that follows the basic principle boy meets girl etc while appearing not to. Make the story individual and distinctively your own, break any rules you like, but stick to the basic path of loving, losing, redeeming.
Think turtle doves…