The thing that makes any story interesting and worth reading is conflict. Fortunately, it comes in various forms with the broadest categories being internal conflict and external conflict, growing from setting and characters in addition to the expected problems related to plot.
A tutorial created by Grace Sabella, a writer on DeviantArt, talks about some methods to developing conflict in a story. Something from the tutorial that has really stuck with me since I read it a while ago is the idea of creating the antagonist of a story before the protagonist so that they can complement each other well for the purposes of the story. This can also help to avoid flat villains/antagonists in longer works where many arcs have already been conceptualized and there is the danger that the hero will be much more fleshed out in contrast somewhere down the line. If possible, the hero can be tailored to have the ability to counter each of these conflicts before the writing even begins, and without possibly resorting to a deus ex machina at some point. That is just one of her points.
Why is love lost such a popular topic? Love lost can be talked about. It can be said many things can be said. I could say love lost is the blight of a woman. But it’s not. What is it really? If you ask a star to speak with you all you’ll get is its light asking you why it took you so long to notice it. The star might be dead already. It could have already been it could have become a black hole. A black hole that is the most critical and significant of all. The one that bring an end to the universe, sucking and sucking and sucking everything into it. Because of a love lost?
You can be surprised by the kind of things you get out of writing in stream-of consciousness. Admittedly, it may not have been appealing in several of the places where you’ve seen it, but some instances can have proper punctuation and not make you want to turn your brain off. This article by Danielle Duvick provides some uses for stream-of-consciousness writing, including, interestingly, demystifying a character you have not quite figured out. It includes a practice excercise, and the author’s examples.