As I was editing the final chapter of my novel, it occurred to me: maybe love is only prevalent in popular fiction because it's a convenient plot device.
Surely many writers struggle to provide their characters with strong motivations. Why would anyone willingly put themselves in the risky, dangerous situations that often make a good story? One ready-made motivation is to drop the deus ex machina of love into the plot. We all readily accept it; normally, no sane character is going to run, unarmed, into a building full of terrorists and explosives. But put the dude's ex-wife, who he still loves, in the building, and everyone is like, "oh, yeah, that makes sense."
The best stories are made up of people doing crazy shit, and people will do crazy shit for love.
But is this a case of art imitating life, or life imitating art? Does romantic love resonate as a literary device because there is such an emphasis on it in real life? Or do we only put such a large emphasis on love in real life because we see it in movies, where it only exists as a literary device?
Does love even really exist? My gosh, does love even really exist?