Freebie Mondays: Love Is… (Pt 1)

Freebie Mondays: Love Is… (Pt 1)

Way back in college, while I was bored in class one day, I decided to doodle some story details in my notebook. I was still searching for my narrative voice at the time, looking for ways to better express differences between characters. I decided to pick a simple prompt and write an answer for the question from a bunch of different character perspectives. That way I would easily be able to pick up on the differences in each character’s thoughts and better hone the ‘voice’ with which I wrote them.

Recently, while re-arranging my new office desk, I came upon this page of notes torn from an old notebook. I loved the idea, but hated the responses I had already written. So I decided to give the prompt a second attempt.

I’m a fair bit more experienced as a writer now than I was when I attempted this the first time. And I have a much stronger grasp on both my characters and their narrative voices. I don’t think the first prompt is worth sharing (unfortunately), so you won’t be able to see how much I’ve grown. But I imagine I can still learn a lot from an exercise like this.

The prompt is “Love is…” – the goal is to write what each character feels about love as a concept. (I chose these three characters because they each have a different perspective, and all appear in the book I’m currently writing. To learn more about the character, click their heading!)
. . .

Domerin

Love is unpredictable, inexorable and unavoidable once it snares you. Love is often unexpected. It creeps over you and digs its claws deep well before you realize what’s happening. Once it has you under its influence, it opens your eyes to a world you never imagined could possibly exist. A world of warmth and possibility. For a warrior, love feels like coming home to a house you never expected to build. A house where the lights are always on and laughter and good food are always waiting for you to take your fill. Love is a balm, soothing to the restless spirit, an anchor that grounds you in the present and grants your life defined purpose. Love can awaken unexpected inner strength even while it drives the breath from your lungs and makes you weak in the knees.

But as with all things beautiful and worth protecting, love has its dark side. Its sword is sharp, and its steel bites deep. Lost love can leave a bitter void in the soul, a hole that is difficult to fill without a similarly strong pull. Even worse is love turned toxic, tainted with ill intentions and clouded with manipulation. If the shift is slow, it can be difficult to catch. Because for all that love opens our eyes, it also blinds us to our partner’s flaws. You might find yourself forgiving the unforgivable, or ignoring cold and darkness in favor of remembered brightness and warmth. Even the bonds of tainted love are hard to break, and no connection can be shed without experiencing the void.

You might hear this and think love is best avoided, but that is not the case. The world is full of places where one simply cannot stand alone. Yet where one cannot cling, two may stand united. And while love has the power to wound, it also has the power to heal. The heady power of another’s belief in your truest, unveiled self surpasses even that of the strongest adept class mage. Love adds a color to the world nothing else can match, a vision we’re rarely aware of lacking until we experience its full force.

If true love finds you, embrace and nurture it. But if you feel the bitter bite of love gone bad, extract yourself quickly; the scars left by toxic ex-lovers are impossible to see but rarely heal completely.

Cazella

Love is an addiction. Once you get a taste of it, it becomes irresistible. You keep going back for more, unable to stop yourself no matter how hard you try. Suddenly the small nibble you had the first time isn’t enough. You find you need more and more, until your desire for connection and interaction utterly consumes you. To love someone is to be enamored with them, to adore utterly every aspect of them, even the ones they find embarrassing and try to hide. When you love someone, you desire their attention. You want them to worship you the way you worship them, flaws and all.

Love does not come with answers to questions like how or why. Instead, it brings only more questions. Questions you probably won’t ever be able to answer. You cannot hide from love, or escape it. It brings low even the strongest warriors, wealthiest nobles and most powerful sorcerers. Love is an invisible chain, unbreakable and enduring once it binds you. If you are lucky, you may get to choose the chain that ensnares you. Sometimes fate or luck make the choice for you. Reason is almost never involved.

Love is the strongest form of loyalty, a tie that cannot be severed by force, persuasion, manipulation or even death. To truly love someone is to devote the whole of yourself to them, to invest your time in granting them what they want as well as what they need. You must exceed their expectations and fulfill their deepest desires. You must put their happiness and their desires before your own every second of every day. This requires a depth of trust few people can master. But if the one you have chosen loves you in return, they will provide the same devotions and balance will be achieved.

Love will find you when the time is right, and before you realize what has happened. Seek love at your own peril. Seeking love can lead to infatuations. These small obsessions might lead you to believe that you have found true love’s calling, but those are merely siren songs. Beware! Those you become infatuated with might attempt to manipulate you in order to take advantage of the devotion you offer. But you will recognize true love’s grip because you will not be able to escape it, no matter how hard you fight. When true love finds you, ask not what love can do for you but, rather, what you can do for your lover.

Silkfoot

Love is a scam. People think finding that extra special someone is the primary reason we exist, that it imparts some divine secret upon the completion of this quest. But the truth is, love is a lie. We tell ourselves we need others because we cannot face the loneliness of the big bad world without other shoulders to lean on and other hands to guide us. But these are signs of weakness indicating that individuals would like to hide behind group expectations. Why make difficult decisions when the answers can be provided? Why be held responsible for our failings when the world, instead, can be blamed?

Love requires compromising oneself for the good of the whole. It hides behind images of wild passion, a fire one cannot possibly hope to build alone, and promises heights of ecstasy that can only be achieved with cooperation. But these are illusions. Living without love’s chains is true freedom and the only way we can reach our truest potential. We are not born to live for others, we are born to live four ourselves. And we get but one life (us humans get a brief one compared to our elven and sylvan brethren), so we must make the most of every second provided to us if we intend to maximize our pleasure and accomplishment.

I laugh at the idea of love. Only a fool would bind themself to another. Once the glimmer and sparkle of initial attraction fades, what is left but a slow trudge through the years ahead? I would rather live a life without limits. I intend to experience everything life has to offer. It is better to play the wider field, to dabble with those interested in similar experiences – so long as all understand that there can be no lasting bonds. I move with the wind, and I refuse to remain in one place too long. That would invite stagnation.

I say to you, cast aside the foolish notions society has instilled in your head about partnership, union and matrimony. Passion need not be tied to commitment. Strong ties can be formed without weaving tethers. Friendship and experience are more than enough to sustain, nay, uplift and bolster a worldly traveler. Let the most important thing in your life be yourself. Live according to terms you pen, and let no one else’s expectations interfere with your ultimate goals. Leave love for those too timid to tame the world on their own.

. . .
As you can probably already tell, some of my characters have healthier ideas about love than others.

I enjoyed this, so I plan to do a few more. What do your characters think about love? (Or what do you yourself think?) Leave a message in the comments and let me know!

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