Chastity and Charity
After a bible study that featured these two elements, I couldn't help but think of how sexuality and love are such key elements in writing.
Especially in romance, readers are looking for heroes and heroines who are pure of heart. So, what does pure of heart mean? For me, this means, selflessness: doing for others first. Doing for my spouse and for my family and for friends, too. [and just so you know. I fail horribly! ALOT!]
Fitting traits of a lofty nature into your characters is part of the craft.
Let's face it, we're human and so are our characters--for the sake of this discussion, they're human. :D Can't forget those shifters, though! People are not perfect, they're possibly selfish at times, and on occasion, they're downright mean. The key is finding the glimmer of goodness within your character, your hero. Maybe he's harsh and stubborn, yet everytime that kid from down the street stops by, he can't help but give him undivided attention. By the end of the book, the goal is for the heroine to recognize the goodness because it doesn't really matter if he's still stubborn and occasionally rude. She sees the whole picture and loves him anyway.
And that's what we all hope for, someone who looks at us and sees the good in us. Love, the bottom line, the element in humanity that offers hope, and the emotion that pulls us to one person in particular.
Maybe LOVE isn't exactly or always about romance, but romance is definitely about LOVE.
Have a great weekend.