Thursday, February 20, 2014

Love and Instant Coffee - A Comparison

Hi, all. It's Karlie again!

I think the whole romantic experience can be classified in three categories:

1. Love at first sight.

This is the stuff of fairytales, the "I can tell just by looking into your eyes, darling, we were meant to be together forever. I'm sure we're perfectly compatible in every way." They ride off into the sunset together, and we never actually get to see the post-marital adjustment, spats, flying kitchen utensils, etc.

2. We're just friends.

"I've known the guy my whole life! He's my best friend, my shoulder to cry on when my heart gets broken. I don't know what I'd do without him."
"Ever think he you?"
"Of course he likes me! Oh. You romantically? Seriously?"

3. Turns out hate and passionate love really are two sides of the same coin.

She just really ticks you off. Stubborn, argumentative, REALLY ANNOYING...and then you're yelling at her for something stupid she implied about you and suddenly you just want to kiss her and where the heck did that come from?

Now, there are a lot more facets to the anomaly we call love than only those. But I think those are the three basic love plots - most stories use one of them.
Over the next few posts, I'm going to cover the pros and cons of each one.

The whole love-at-first-sight thing worked for Cinderella and Snow White (as far as we know, anyway) but those are classic fairytales. They can get away with it. Now, though, we roll our eyes at that. We want something more from the characters we care about - we want them to struggle, to deny their feelings, to be confused, to hate her and need him, to shove her away and pull him closer, all at the same time.

 It’s a fact that couples that are friends first, last longer.
If all you base a romance on is whirlwind passion, what happens when that dies? What’s left? Two strangers who know almost nothing about each other. If they build a relationship one block, one revealed secret, one touch, at a time…that’s a relationship we can root for. That’s something a reader can watch, can sympathize with. So not only do we have a stronger bond between the characters, we have a stronger bond between the characters and the reader.

Nine and a half times out of ten, instant love is not the right way to go. It's like coffee - sure, instant is easy and fast, but it lacks something. It'll work in a pinch, but leaves you feeling dissatisfied and maybe ending up pouring half the cup down the drain.

It's usually worth it to wait for the brewed version.

Do you struggle with crafting believable romances? Do your characters tend to fall in and out of love every ten minutes? What are your solutions for this?

And readers, which of the three love plots do you prefer to see? What really ticks you off about storybook romances?

The romance that bothers me the most is "I hate you. Come kiss me." I realize everyone is moaning (no pun intended) more about the insta-love romance lately, but I guess I've been reading a different set of books. The thin line between love and hate has been cooked up way to many times to be satisfactory for me. I'm done. As far as insta-love, I don't mind reading it. But I've never written it for two reasons: I don't fully believe in it, and because people talk so badly about. Note my "fully believe in it" remark. What I do believe in is two people can have an instant connection so intense that it doesn't feel normal. So in the abnormality of the situation, the two people think they've hit upon an anomaly--love at first sight. But they're hormones have tricked them. However, there's no reason that instant connection can't become love; it totally can. So, I believe people in real life can be fooled. Why can't characters in a book be fooled? After all, fiction is emulating real life. So I'm not as tired of insta-love in novels as I am hate=passionate The kind of romance I'd rather write or read about is simply two people meeting, realizing they are attracted to each other, and making plans to spend more time with each other, whether it be an official date or just getting together in a group setting. I see nothing wrong with a girl meeting a guy and thinking "I don't want to be his friend. I want to explore the possibilities of being much more." I find that refreshing and honest.

I don't have much interest, either as a writer or a reader, in #1. I just don't buy it. Perhaps ironically, my husband is more of a romantic than I am and he thinks that you can have an instant connection to someone. Sure, fine. But even if it exists in real life, it's very difficult to write that convincingly (in my opinion) and is rather boring compared to #2 and #3.

I LOVE to read #2 and #3 plot lines, but, I also really like reading (and writing) plot lines that blend #2 and #3. For example, having a guy around that is your friend (though perhaps not best friend) and who you get annoyed with sometimes (though not in a really fiery way) and then, all of a sudden, you realize hey, I REALLY like having this guy around. And he feels the same way! Kissing commences. :)

What are you thoughts on l-o-v-e? Like one of the options above better than the other? Reading it or writing it? 
Comment below - we'd love to hear your thoughts!

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