Happy Valentines week everyone! Flowers, chocolates, romance – it lasts at least a week, right? What it doesn’t? Someone get on that, it needs to be a thing. Anyway, all of this love in the air got me thinking about love in literature. I’ve read a lot of books, and no matter the genre I think almost all stories have at least a little romance.
Sometimes love isn’t expected.
Sometimes we don’t realize friendship is love.
Sometimes love is confusing.
Any good romance has a little angst, right?
Seriously though, even though angst isn’t fun in real life, it makes for a great story. I love the feeling that goes along with not knowing if the characters will hook up; my heart picking up a faster beat with the brush of a hand, a stolen glance, some witty banter or the rush of a first kiss. That’s the stuff that keeps me turning pages. Then there’s the heartache of twists in the plot that makes it difficult for characters to be together; maybe a confusing triangle, misunderstood intentions, or outside complications. This angst is so heart wrenchingly good that it keeps me up way too late at night reading. I think the trick is the power of ‘what if’. If I’m left wondering what if it doesn’t work out, what if they can’t make it work, what if the love is unrequited, then I NEED to read more.
But just like everything else, angst can be done wrong. Sometimes the angst is unrealistic, the drama overdone or forced, even clichéd. When I can see that there’s really nothing keeping the characters apart, that it’s drama for drama’s sake then the trope just becomes irritating. I need to care about the characters to feel it. Maybe that’s just me though.
Any good story, even a romance needs a little angst to keep it going. Don’t you think?
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