|image by paulabflat, morguefile.com|
These books had some love triangles, some shaken long-term relationships and some beginning tingles, but happily no insta-love. You know what I mean by that term, don't you? It's an overwhelming die-for-you passion ignited by a single glance. I'll spare you a rant on why it makes me crazy. Suffice it to say it's not only an emotionally unhealthy way to approach romantic attachment, but also poor storytelling.
Giving characters instant whammo-connection cuts in half the size of your emotional arc. There's little room for the characters to change and grow over the course of the story. Just like with conflict, romance needs space to escalate as the story progresses. (For more on this idea of escalation, see my post Emotional Arcs: the teaspoon problem.) Without escalation, the romance plot will be largely static. You'll be tempted to throw a lot of melodrama at the couple just to keep yourself from becoming entirely bored with them.
There are a number of techniques one can use to widen that arc. In the coming weeks I'll share some of the best tips for slow-build romance I picked up from analyzing works that did it well.
What are your thoughts on insta-love? What are some of your favorite stories with dynamic romances?