Sunday, February 23, 2014

Insta-hate is okay but insta-love isn't?

Hi, everybody. *waves* Lisa here.

Since Karlie's post last week, I've really been thinking a lot about love and how we portray it in stories. One question that keeps plaguing me is: If we don't believe in insta-love/love at first sight, then why are we so accepting of insta-hate turned kiss-me-now? Are they both passionate emotions that ought to require more justifying before judging? Or are they at different ends of the spectrum, making one believable and the other not?

Caitlin: I don't like insta-any-emotion. Even if it only takes ten minutes to decide "hmm, I'd like to get to know this person better, and God is he cute," or "hmm...I'd rather scrub my bathtub with my toothbrush than spend another millisecond with this person," those thoughts should be supported by the interaction. Or, if they aren't supported by the interaction, that irrationality should be part of the character's development. Perhaps I wouldn't mind a book with an insta-love if the character later realized later he fell in love too quickly and needs to learn to take things slower, for example. It's the insta-love where the characters just "know" in those first ten minutes that they will live happily ever after...and then they do, because, sigh, it IS possible to "know" these tings (fluffy, fluttering hearts fall from the sky)...that just doesn't interest me.

Karlie: One reason for me is that it's a lot more complicated to love someone than to hate them. And don't get me wrong - I believe in instant attraction, just not instant true love. Sometimes hate is a person's automatic defense against unwanted attraction. And sometimes all that emotion needs somewhere else to go.
As for turning away from a story immediately because it contains insta-love? No, I'll usually give it a chance. Like you said, Lisa, sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. It depends on the style, cliche level, and originality of the story.

Lisa: I feel the same way about insta-hate as I do insta-love. Skeptical. But I do wonder why readers and writers are so quick to be derisive of insta-love yet actually enjoy and believe in insta-hate. No one can say that it's because insta-love has been done more than insta-hate as I think the latter has been done so much more. My theory is that people are just so much more familiar with the classical insta-love stories. The fairy tales. So they stand out more in people's minds. In the past week, I actually started seeking out modern insta-love stories. Some are really bad, but some are actually really good. I admire the bravery of some of these authors. Brave authors oftentimes (though not always) write damn good, edgy stories.

I've always been an equal opportunity story lover. I never shun a book because I hear it has insta-hate, written in second person, has an unreliable narrator, etc. I guess my equal opportunity-ness is the reason Karlie's post has been on my mind all week. I hate to see people closing themselves off to the possibilities of great stories.

Do you think insta-love is worse than insta-hate? Is one a reasonable emotion while the other isn't? Have you ever turned away from a story immediately because it had insta-love or insta-hate? Or were you able to see it through? Enjoy it? Hated it still?

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