For the last word, I picked something that I've found to be important in every story I've ever read -- even when the writer didn't realize it:
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know how cheesy it sounds. But there are many different types of love. It can be between a man and a woman, between two best friends, between a boy and his dog -- and it always helps to drive a story home.
So, here, three reasons to keep love in your writing:
1. It's compelling
At the very least, your female readers will enjoy the fact that there's love in your story. And let's face it, the majority of readers out there are women.
But really, we're all compelled by the notion of love. We all want to find it, to know what it looks like and how it tastes, to see it in the lives of other creatures (for the fantasy readers), and we all feel drawn to it, whether we realize it or not. It's compelling to us, to find out whether or not the guy gets the girl and if the soldier makes it home to be with the people who love him.
If nothing else, inserting deep, emotional, real love into a story can give it a lift into a place where many readers may find your book more realistic than others on the shelf. And really, that's what we're going for here, isn't it?
2. It's "unattainable"
Ask anyone who hasn't found it yet. Love is unattainable, and that makes it interesting. Pure unadulterated love is something many people have never actually seen. So what does it look like? Show us. Show your reader what you think love looks like, or what it's like trying to attain it when you've never felt it before.
Again, that compels people to read.
3. It's a negative
Remember how we thought love was a cheesy notion? That's what makes it a negative, and also what makes people want to know more about it. We always want to know more about the bad things, the things nobody likes or wants to do. So why not tell us more about love, by banking on its negativity?
Sounds like a good story to me.
[love and the end of a series]