LOVE AND WAR
Arma amorque cano
I sing of arms and of love
(with apologies to Virgil)
WHY LOVE AND WAR?
Because it seems to me that these two words encapsulate the essence of all fiction. LOVE need not mean romantic or sexual love. It can be love for family or friends or, on a grander scale, love of country, of honour or of God. Less attractively, it could be love of money or power. If you substitute for the word LOVE the word DESIRE the essential meaning becomes clearer. Love, or Desire, for somebody or something is the great motivating power behind all action. It would be impossible to create a plot around someone who loved no one and desired nothing. There would be no reason for him or her to do anything at all. Even the most basic needs of human life, for food and shelter, create a desire to acquire them if they are lacking.
So what about WAR? If you substitute the word CONFLICT we have another essential ingredient of all fiction. It is impossible to create a gripping narrative about someone who never encounters any obstacle in the search for the object of their desire. 'They lived happily ever after' is the end of a story, not the beginning. To hold our interest, our hero or heroine must come into conflict with something or somebody - even if it is with some psychological flaw in his or her own make-up. It is their struggle to overcome these difficulties that keeps us turning the pages. And what more immediate set of circumstances to provide these challenges could an author find than an actual war?
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