I’m really weird when it comes to romance. Maybe it’s because I grew up in a conservative family, but I’ve always shied away from anything that is heavily romantic. Kissing scenes in movies? I cover my eyes. Any signs of sparks flying? I leave the room on some excuse.
So when I encounter romance in novels, I definitely get awkward. It’s one of the reasons that I avoid novels where romance is the primary genre. However, you can’t escape romance; it literally finds its way into every book, including novels that don’t feature romance as the primary genre. Now, I can handle romance if it’s done right. For example, I loved the romance in Strange the Dreamer, which had great progression and depth to it. But often, this is not the case.
More common are the insta-love and love triangle moments. And I despise those.
Let’s start with insta-love. For those who don’t know what this is, it’s basically the moment where the main characters meet and instantly fall in love. What makes this so unappealing is that there is absolutely no depth. There is no gradual buildup where the characters get to know each other and slowly love each other. They simply look at each other and that’s that. This is such a simplistic view of the complex and deep interaction that results in love, that I just can’t take it seriously.
I mean really, YOU JUST MET THIS PERSON! How can you love them already?!
Love is a beautiful thing. So many cultures around the world have spent years describing love and the way it makes a person feel. There are poems and songs dedicated to love. And here comes this insta-love story that reduces this complex thing into something that is just not as emotional. It fails to capture the depth of the connection between the people involved. And connection is EVERYTHING when it comes to a story. Readers form bonds with the characters … but if we can’t believe in their love, then it breaks that bond.
My other pet peeve when it comes to romance is the love triangle. IT IS LITERALLY EVERYWHERE AND IT NEEDS TO STOP. You’ve got this great book with lots of action and an interesting plot and then BAM, the author hits you with two romantic leads and your plucky protagonist is now all wishy-washy and can’t figure out what to do. Everything that the author has done to make me love the protagonist and the book has just gone down the drain. The entire story now becomes about resolving this love issue and everything else takes a back seat.
My personal opinion is that not all books need romance in them. Platonic relationships exist for a reason, and if a writer needs to put a romance in because they need that little “something” to add to their story, then it should be done right. It should fit with the characters’ personalities and not weaken them. It should also be given the time to develop, just like the plot and ambitions of the characters get the time they need to develop. If you’re not willing to do that, then just let go of the romance.
Because no one wants to read more insta-love and cliche love triangles anymore. Portray love in all its beauty and complexity. Make it believable. Do it justice. Because love is a wonderful thing.
Any thoughts on insta-love? Are you a fan of this?
Do you think novels can be just as good without the love triangle factor? Or are love triangles something you look forward to?
What do you think about the way romance is portrayed in books?