Monday, March 21, 2016

L is for Lonely

Ana muses on the gift of loneliness.

It could be argued that for readers, the overarching drive of romance is to defeat, or at least suspend, loneliness.
Readers reach for stories that entertain. They recommend stories that touch their emotions, especially stories that depict a hero or heroine in a dilemma they can relate to.
Lost love? Finding true love? The main character starts lonely. She may have a fantastic job, a thrilling career, satisfying friendships, exciting lovers, but there's a longing deep inside her for a true life partner. She overlooks him, even shuns him, but he's the only one who can make her happy. She overcomes self-imposed loneliness.
Another plot line is that life stole the love of his life--through war, accident, illness. This hero goes bravely on, scars protecting his broken heart, doing his best to keep his children-business-clinic running smoothly. He knows he'll never find love again, so he never takes a chance, despite the blind dates and overt nudges from young daughter, business partner, or nurse assistant. Then despite his belief that he has to accept his loneliness, he meets someone who sets is pulse racing--or pisses him off non-stop. His second chance.
Loneliness could be a story about an abused forth wife in Afghanistan, but I could not write that story. The point is, 99.9% of us feel horribly lonely at some point in our lives. We relate to stories of triumph over loneliness. They reassure us that we don't have to die of a broken heart.


  1. I think there is an inherent loneliness in the characters we create, but there's a fine line between needing someone to "save" them and needing someone to "complement" them. I much prefer to write and read about characters who don't need someone else to save them, because I like them to be able to save themselves. Instead, I want someone to round them out or enhance them. But that's me.

  2. I agree with Jen, and I would suggest that being 'alone' does not necessarily equate to loneliness - or the need for 'someone' to alleviate the aloneness.

  3. Loneliness can be a state of mind. You can feel alone in a crowd. But as you say, Ana, reading can overcome that loneliness. A good book can transport you into undiscovered worlds where happiness is paramount, even though the road to it might be rocky.