Monday, February 10, 2014

Love is love is love... but what about all of the other stuff?

So... we all know what love is. Or know what we think/ feel/ have determined from our own experiences that love is. 

When it comes to writing this, however, lines can get blurred and, in trying to make so much work in a set amount of pages, sometimes explanations/feeling descriptors that help make the relationship work are sacrificed. 

The problem with this is that understanding the differences/connections between stages of love and the feelings that comes with them enable us to help our characters and their relationships move and grow. If characters' feelings towards each other do not change in some way (not even always necessarily for the better, but at least feel something new, or different), readers get bored, annoyed, or complain the storyline doesn't "work" anymore. 

I'm sure most of you have heard about the three basic types of love: agape, eros, and phileo: Agape is an unconditional love; eros more lustful--or romantic, or both, and philio is one you would have for a best friend, sister or brother.

Most long-term relationships sway/mix back and forth with agape and eros, as philio is affectionate and sentimental but not romantic at all. As I was trying to come up with a universal example of two characters feeing different "loves" for each other, I thought of Peeta ( from The Hunger Games series). He probably has more of an agape love for Katniss than she does; her feelings toward him is probably phileo bordering on eros for most of the series. 

So... what is my point? Well, my point is that knowing the above info is nice... getting the whole "love" thing is nice... but one doesn't go from hi, nice to meet you to love in a few seconds. Which means there are feelings that either contribute TO falling in love, or KEEP us there, once we have. 

Love is love is love... but what about that other stuff? No one says, I love you a lot but not the love where I'm ready to spend the rest of my life with you, or, I love you so much that I am fine with us being exclusive but this will probably only last a year or, I love you so much but yeah if you can't start paying for some of this stuff, that's the last straw. I'm outta here. Yet in the English language, they all are said the same way: I love you.

There are different spectrums of feelings that are less general than love itself, however. As I was searching for a few different descriptions, I ended up on none other than, which is where that chart up at the top came from. And check it out... every single one of those words describes actions associated with some sort of love at times, with the dark words on the left being the closest to it, all the way to the right side with "iffy" ones listed. I appreciated some of those words in the second darkest column, because they are wonderful descriptors of what goes with love but isn't always spoken outright: allegiance, attachment, delight, even enchantment. And yet, every single word in that box is an example of what we can have our characters show/feel to prove their love when we want to go beyond the usual, I love you that comes from their mouths.

Last, in researching "love" words, I came across a great many sites regarding words not in the English language that have more specific meanings for precise descriptions. I leave you with two posts I found inspirational and intriguing, writing-wise (especially the latter--talk about a lot of work put into language and communication!): 

1) The Top Ten Relationship Words That Aren't Translatable Into English


2) UnspeakablenessAn Intervention of Language Evolution and Human Communication (A project by Pei-Ying Lin--a four part series in which Pei-Ying explores untranslatable words, emotions, trans-language communication, and personalized langage)

Well what are you waiting for? Go try some of this stuff out with your characters! ;)

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