Valentine’s Day is fast approaching, and what better way to acknowledge the most romantic day of the year than by discussing the theme of love in fiction? Romance has been a prevalent topic in fiction for centuries, so much so that even stories in other genres usually contain at least one romantic subplot. But what is it about romance that makes it so popular? I can’t speak for every romance enthusiast out there, but I can discuss why I personally consider it one of my favorite genres of fiction.

So to continue on the theme of Valentine’s Day, here’s a brief review of five reasons why I love romance. Enjoy!

1) I live vicariously through fictional characters… especially my own.

The balcony scene from the anime series Romeo x Juliet (2007)

One of my favorite things about reading and writing fiction in general is that it gives me a chance to experience life through the eyes of another person. And sometimes all I really want is to see the many different sides of love. That’s where romance comes in. My favorite pieces to write have always been love stories because they give me the freedom to imagine how people with different personalities might face the challenges of romance and to experience the passion and dangers of love without facing any of the risks myself. And isn’t that one of the greatest thrills of being a writer?

2) Love stories inspire me to be a better person.

When I read or write stories about people who are happy when with each other or who would do anything for each other, it inspires me to pursue those positive traits in my own life. Even seeing love in real life makes me as happy as when I read about it in fiction, if not more. In my experience, love is something that helps us grow and become better people. This is reflected in the last romantic story I wrote, which was about two teenagers whose love brought out the best in each other. With all the wonderful qualities love can inspire in people, it’s no wonder I love to experience it myself!

3) Romance exposes the true nature of people (even if somewhat idealized).

It’s human nature to love and want to be loved. That’s one of the things that makes romance so relatable. That’s also one of the reasons I use it to learn more about human behavior in general. Being something of a social ingénue, I often take advantage of fiction as a mirror that reflects some of the qualities of real people. Of these, none are more raw or real than human emotion, and of all the forces in the world that can drive it, one of the most powerful by far is love. So if any genre of fiction can offer an insight into true human nature, it’s romance. Which is why…

4) Stories about love give me a positive outlook on the world.

More often than not, romance shows us the good side of people, a side I wish we could see more in real life. There are far too many tragic stories in the world as it is. So when I read or write about characters loving each other, it fills me with hope that the same could be true for real people. As I’ve noted in the previous items, fiction at least partially reflects reality in many ways. So if fictional characters can bring out the best in each other, why not believe that we can too?

5) Love never gets old!

If nothing else, I read and write love stories because I never get tired of them. Ever. I read romantic novels. I watch “lovey-dovey” movies. I write stories about people who fall and live and even die for each other. And still it never becomes cliché. Something about romance always calls me back to it, and likely always will. I can’t help it; I just love love!

So how about you? What are your favorite things about romance?

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