Love at first sight. Instant connection. Sudden obsession.
When these things happen in a novel, people are quick to shout, “Insta-love!” “Unrealistic!” “Annoying-as-f***”
But when they happen in movies? ROMANTIC AS HELL! (Think of all of your Disney classics. Nearly all of them involve an insta-love story.)
So why the stigma when it comes to books? And why has it suddenly become this big taboo thing that people get to complain about if there’s even a hint of attraction between two characters?
Someone recently suggested to me that in novels, we have time to learn about the characters separately before they come together. Their relationship can bloom and grow at a slow pace because there’s 350 pages or so to fill. Whereas, in a movie, they only have an hour and a half to two hours of screen time, and so the attraction needs to be instant.
This analysis seems fair. But why can’t people find other people immediately attractive in books without having people whine about it?
Hell, I see a good-looking guy walking down the street and I get flustered! (Sorry, hubby. Love you, though.) There’s a really extremely good-looking veterinarian that I used to drop medical supplies off to at my old job. I think I’ve spoken a massive few sentences to him, and yet, whenever I drive past that vet, I think of the hunky, blonde, tattooed, animal loving guy who I want to have babies with. (Again, sorry hubby.) Sometimes when people meet, the attraction IS instant (even if it’s only one-sided, like in the case of me and the vet). I guess I should mention, that when I first met my husband, my initial thought was, “I’ll probably make out with him one day.” So maybe it wasn’t inta-love between us, and maybe I didn’t instantly jump to wanting to have his babies like I did with the vet *sigh* HE’S A REALLY PRETTY VET, but I certainly knew I wanted to kiss my husband upon meeting him!
Apparently there’s a fine line between insta-love and insta-attraction. Here’s where I think the line should be drawn:
Insta-like: The MC’s mouth goes dry, their heart starts pounding a bit harder, they have trouble forming coherent sentences.
(A lot of people associate this with insta-love, like this is not a normal reaction to have in real life. Once, when meeting a really good-looking guy – granted he was famous, so I was already nervous – he shook my hand, introduced himself, and I forgot my name. I am NOT kidding you. I actually FORGOT MY NAME. Was I in love with the guy? No! I didn’t even watch the TV show he was on, so I wasn’t even a fan, either. He was just really good looking. And I totally just tried to find a good pic of him on google images to show you all, but then I realised I must of had beer goggles on when I met him. He’s certainly no vet.)
Insta-love: You know it’s insta-love when the two characters touch and it sends a jolt of electricity through them. Okay, like, really? The only time this has ever happened to me in real life is when I’ve been at the shops and the static electricity gets me. It certainly doesn’t shoot warm and fuzzies to my lady parts, and certainly doesn’t make me think the person zapping me is my soulmate. Especially considering I mostly go shopping with my mum and sisters… please – we aren’t from Tasmania (The Kentucky of Australia).
Insta-like: Two characters want to see each other a lot after first meeting, and want to spend most of their time together.
(Isn’t this just how people are in the beginning of a relationship? Or am I just a clingy crazy girl? :
Insta-love: The two main characters throw their life goals/ambitions/jobs out the window, just so they can spend time with the person they’re dating. *sigh* THIS is extreme. But, if handled correctly (i.e. if the main character was having a crisis/struggle in making a decision in where they want their life to lead, and new character helps them make better life choices – even if it may not seem like the right choice at the time – I think this is okay, IMHO)
I dunno, I guess I’m getting really tired of people complaining about Insta-love in books. I agree, it can be overdone and done to the extreme, but it seems to be that these days, a character even MENTIONS that they find another character attractive, and BAM, reviewer writes that it’s an insta-love story. Hell, I read a review of a book where two characters hate each other in the beginning, and yet the reviewer said ‘I could see the insta-love happening between them coming a mile away’……….. THEY COULDN’T STAND EACH OTHER FOR THE FIRST FEW DAYS OF KNOWING ONE ANOTHER. How is that Insta-love? what?
I’m going to admit it, loud and proud: I LIKE INSTA-LIKE, but with today’s reviewers definitions, it seems I have to admit that I LIKE INSTA-LOVE. So sue me.*
*Please don’t actually sue me, I have no money.