Monday, February 15, 2016

Slow-burning Romance versus Insta-love


Slow-burning Romance versus Insta-love

In the last few years I’ve noticed there has been much discussion and criticism of the concept of love at first sight or insta-love. I understand why people criticize it but I also think maybe people are forgetting what it’s like to be a teenager. The author may not name it as such, but insta-love is usually more like insta-attraction followed by like and then love as the story progresses.
I remember hanging with my girlfriends at the shops and one of them pointing out the boy that worked at the fruit and veg store, proclaiming her undying love for him despite never meeting him. It is pretty easy to fall hard at sixteen. It’s also easy to mistake strong attraction with love.
So while I don’t really believe in love at first sight, I think teenagers can definitely be struck down by lust at first sight. At least that was my experience.
In my first series, the Woodlands, my characters are thrown into a very intense circumstance and develop feelings for each other pretty quickly. They spend everyday of three weeks together and love develops. I’m not sure this qualifies as insta-love, but it is fast.
Nora & Kettle is not really a romance. But for qualifying purposes it would fit in more with the slow-burning classification. There are many reasons for this. Firstly, it is set in 1953. This alone means the pace of a romance between two young people has to be fairly slow. Both characters are also severely traumatized meaning the idea of opening themselves up is a difficult one. Also, Nora comes from a privileged, white American background, whereas Kettle is a half-white, half-Japanese, homeless kid with few prospects. That alone is enough to put the brakes on.
So in Nora & Kettle a slow-burning romance makes sense. It is essential that they build trust and friendship first before any ideas of love can even enter their minds.
I’m not sure I have a preference in terms of how a relationship builds. I think sometimes it makes sense for it to be fast and intense and other times slow and steady. I think either can be realistic if written well. My interest is in the twists and turns that get them there and the challenges they face to keep their love strong.