There are so many types of love besides romantic love. Let’s talk about how they can spice up your storylines and challenge you to think about your character development and conflict from a new perspective.
Love for Yourself
Everyone deserves to love themselves, but we don’t always start there. Characters don’t either. Your story could focus on your protagonist’s journey to falling in love with themselves, becoming proud of who they are, or loving a new version of themselves that feels more true (think: coming of age or maturing into your identity as an adult).
Love for Your Friends
When you love your best friend, you’d do anything for them. For the purpose of this post, I’m leaving out the friends-to-lovers trope. Instead, a story could follow the development of a friendship or the destruction of one. Platonic, devoted love can result in endless scenarios that would make a great story.
Love for a Passion/Cause/Hobby/Career
Another form of growing into yourself at any age involves finding what you love to do. Your protagonist might devote themselves to a cause, start a hobby that shapes their worldview, or begin a new career that teaches them what they like or don’t like.
What you love and what you love doing with your time on this planet speaks volumes. Let your characters speak that language too!
Love for a Pet
People do wonderful things out of love for their pets. I’m not talking about buying sweaters or custom furniture. I’m talking about leaving their homes to find a safer environment, pursuing court cases against animals they adopted from abusive homes, and even meeting new pet families so their animal makes friends.
You can center a story around this type of love or make it a subplot. Either way, your protagonist will learn important things about themselves when they love their pet. It’s a compelling plot vehicle that often gets sugar-coated, but it can be gripping too.
Love for Your Family
The love your protagonist has for their family might be rock solid. Maybe it’s been shattered and they want to mend it. Maybe the love is never assured, so they have to make a crucial decision to leave.
People don’t have the same family structures or even the same family members, but we can all relate to the ups and downs of loving the people who raised us or grew up with us. It’s an immediate hook for readers—and I’d even say as much of a hook as any overdone, love-triangle romantic plot for a protagonist.
Love for Your Distant Family
It’s also compelling to read about people who are closest to their distant family members. There’s history there or history being made that brings them together. It’s also relatable for many people because immediate family members don’t always love each other.
Love for Your Found Family
Found family is a wildly popular type of love in fictional stories. I probably don’t have to even mention specific books or TV shows to bring one to mind for you.
There’s immense joy in crafting a family with the people you pick up along your life journey. The intensity of that love can also bring equal amounts of pain. There’s depth to mine, so don’t leave this type of love out of your writing toolbox.
Love for a Personal Hero
Who do you look up to as a role model or personal hero? Your protagonist can have the same love for someone in their universe. It’s part of finding who you are and what you value, which results in tons of potential storylines.
Explore Different Types of Love
There’s nothing wrong with writing romantic love, but you’re missing out if that’s the only thing you ever try to write. If you don’t think you can handle these other types of love storylines, read about them or watch movies and TV shows with them! As long as you approach the story from the perspective of a writer, you’ll learn from the craft and find new story ideas that interest you.