Monday, 16 February 2015

Instant romance ruin character development

Today I will be discussing my pet peeve. It is a disease that becomes ever more present in new novels. A sickness of writing called “instant romance”. This is where the characters barely know each other but declare they are soul mates (I had the misfortune to read one such novel where the lead met her love interest and immediately declared he was her soul mate. It killed the story.)
There is nothing inherently wrong with a love element in novels, in fact, novels need that love element or love interest to resonate with the reader on a deeper level. But personally the instant romance thing is kills a story for me. The minute there is instant romance involved I will toss the novel aside like the cheap fodder it is and refuse to read it further. Why? Simply because character development becomes neglected. The author already stated the love interest in the novel between character A and B (and sometimes C, then you get the ever popular love triangle) and thus sees no need to further develop the characters involved. Instead the characters become caricatures of daytime soap operas, where they experience unrealistic emotional angst or simply cannot choose who they want between character B and C.
A good romance or love element in a novel, regardless of genre, will develop with the characters. Even if the characters are introduced from the start as being an “item” that information should not hinder the development of the characters or the romantic connection between them.

Simply put I’m trying to say this: instant romance/love does not happen in real life. Instant lust happens, not love. Feeling attracted to someone the moment you see them, feeling aroused and lustful is something that happened to us all. We all saw a stranger who made us hot under the collar, but we did not run around proclaiming our undying love for said stranger, now did we? So why should our characters do it? Love is something that grows and develops over time. 
The best romance novels and films leave you aching for love and there is no reason the love element in your novel should not develop equally naturally (within the limits of what you are writing). 

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