The thing about a romantic sub-plot that draws me in isn't the love and it isn't the romance. It's the longing. It's one of those deep, dark emotions that I wrote to you about the other day. Longing is the predecessor to any great romance and that's why I write it.
Love is an emotion that fills you up. It makes you feel complete and its the motivation that allows mothers to do anything to protect their children. Romance. Let's see, so as not to offend anyone, I'll just say that romance in my opinion, is just the feel-good marshmallow fluff on the sundae. It's not the ice-cream foundation, just an added bonus on top. Longing, on the other hand, is the ice-cream. It's the drive, the pull, the motivation behind it all. Longing is the voice of our heart's desire.
Longing isn't a feel-good emotion. Instead of making you feel full, it tells you that there's a big black hole inside of you that needs to be filled. Longing is the reminder that there's something missing in your life. If the main character in the story didn't have that deep, dark emotion, there would be no motivation to seek out the missing puzzle piece. There would be no journey, no discovery and no reward. It's the search to fill the void that pulls the characters through the story to arrive at fulfillment and a happy ending.
But from the darkness comes light and through trials and tribulations, gun fire and sword play, magic and mysticism, my characters bond and through their longing, find love. And isn't that lovely, full feeling the best reward?