The Heart Wants What The Heart Wants

There is something about love and tragedy that go so well together. Romeo and Juliet. Buffy and Angel. Sam and Grace (Wolves of Mercy Falls ). Scarlett and Rhett (Gone With The Wind). Forbidden love makes for some of the juiciest writing. Unrequited love is perhaps the biggest tragedy of all the love stories ever written, because the heart wants what the heart wants and there is no telling it otherwise.
At a party a few years ago, there was a 17 year old boy who was in a total mess. He was in love. Not just any old kind of love. He was in unrequited love. Also at this party was a girl he had a crush on. He told us he had tried everything to get this girl to notice him and everything he'd tried had failed. He was a nice boy, and perhaps this was his problem. Here sat a nice boy,  look of dejected misery on his face, who was talking to us and not the object of his desire...poor guy, did he even stand a chance?

Perhaps wanting the unattainable wasn’t entirely his fault. Many of the heroes in novels and movies are tough, edgy, dark, brooding and totally off limits. It seems girls indeed like their guys to be hard, if not impossible, to catch, because this makes the love interest taboo, forbidden, dare I say it... even naughty. “Nice guys finish last” is a bit of catchcry of many an unrequited love story. Usually this is uttered at the point of no return where the nice guy becomes the bad guy in order to win the girl, thus in turn causing him to attract more ladies than he can handle. “Plenty of fish in the sea” is another catchcry for the unrequited. All well and good if you don’t mind which fish you catch. Continuing with the fish analogy, it seems that people in love really do care what fish they go after and catch, and not any old fish will do. When it was suggested that this boy turn his interests elsewhere, he said, “You don’t understand this girl.”

Why is the power of love so strong that it overrides reason, logic, and even capability? Yes, some people do set their aims so high that it is no wonder they fall. But is there anything they can do? After all, the heart wants what the heart wants. And there is nothing that can be done to alleviate the pain of loving someone who doesn’t love you back. (Sniff. Who hasn't been there?)


Firstly, how do you know when you are in love? Here is my list of symptoms:
  • You cry every time a soppy love song comes on the radio.
  • You burst into tears during any scene in any movie when the male and female love interests finally kiss.
  • You can’t walk past another couple without sighing.
  • You can’t stop thinking about the person you are in love with. 
  • When you eat an apple you wonder if he/she is eating an apple.
  • You dress to impress.
  • You infuriate your friends by talking nonstop about this person.

So how do you know when you are in unrequited love? Well, you still do all of the above, but you also do these things:
  • You stalk the object of your desire from close by, from afar, even from cyberspace.
  • You mope around for all to see.
  • When somebody suggests you ask somebody else out, you sigh and say, “you don’t understand”.
  • You buy gifts that are tucked away into a secret drawer and you take them out during full moons.
  • You have a hidden room filled with photos and, if you are really sneaky, other memorabilia.
  • You use magic spells that involve candles and strands of hair.
  • You feel as if every minute you are near this person is pure torture.
  • You think he/she will love you back if they’d only give you the chance.
  • You think that nobody understands what you are going through.

Unrequited love is both sad and sweet to observe, not so much fun if it's you though.

The heart rules when it comes to love and it's no wonder there are countless books, movies, songs and websites devoted to unrequited love. Tragedy and love is what makes the world spin, so it makes sense that when you put the two together you have a far better story than simply “boy meets girl and they fall in love”.  

When I began writing “Little Red Gem” my aim was to write the most beautiful love story I could. I know I've done some stupid things in the name of love, and so I put my character through some stupid things too. And then I pushed her further.

In Little Red Gem, Ruby Parker does stupid and frustrating things all in the name of love. She gate crashes a boy's weekend, she dies, she comes back from the dead in another person's body and begins to experience unrequited love. And she does a lot of the things on the unrequited love symptoms list above.

Writers love writing about good love and bad love, but we prefer to write happy endings. However, I found I couldn't write the sugary sweet happily ever after fairy tale ending because that's not how I wrote Ruby Parker's personality. She is a strong and independent 17 year old and no way could I have her cast her personality aside as she made her final decision. So I didn't. I gave her the ever after she deserved.



D L Richardson is the author of speculative fiction. She has three teen novels and one short story anthology published. Her first novel reached number 2 at OmniLit and number 38 at Kobo Books. Her second reached number 1 at OmniLit. Little Red Gem is her third novel and recently won 2nd place Best Books of 2013 Paranormal Cravings. She lives in Australia on the NSW south coast with her husband and dog.






Twitter   !/DLRichardson1












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