Monday, February 26, 2007

Pet Peeve #784: “Love too cheaply bought.”

Even though the last pet peeve number was entirely made up and pulled out of my ass, I thought I would stick with that numbering system, so for those curious, that's where I got the number.

I hate when characters fall in love too quickly in a romance. I mean I understand if the storyline has to happen on a time crunch, but if they've just met there better be some really good reasons they are falling in love so fast. You can fall in lust or infatuation pretty quickly but not love, because I've been in love and am currently in love. What you feel at the beginning is so shallow compared to what comes later.

I understand it's fiction and “fantasy,” but to me a part of why romance so often cannot rise above being “just romance” to being a good story for its own sake, is the high unreality of characters who fall in love too quickly.

In my opinion, Romeo and Juliet is the worst play Shakespeare ever wrote. I would never badmouth a living author on my blog because well, that could be bad for my future success, but Shakespeare is gone so I'll say it. These kids knew each other like three days. That's not enough for real love to grow. Killing yourself after knowing someone for three days isn't love, it's a sign that you need a padded cell and a lithium drip.

I want the characters to have something deeper. I also think it's okay in a romance for the characters not to love each other eternally by the end of the novel. As long as they are starting their HEA, it's cool with me. I'd rather have that than: “Oh, Eric, I love you, I love you. I cannot live without you.” When the heroine only met him less than a week ago. Give me a break. That's not real. I'm quite sure at that level of attachment she can live without him.

In the paranormal romance I'm editing right now, I have this problem. I do have a bit of a time crunch going on, and yes a crisis situation can bring people together. Constant togetherness can bring people together, but I needed to add another scene to help bond the characters to make their love more believable when it happens.

So from this, I guess you know I don't believe in love at first sight. I believe in lust at first sight. Pheromones and chemistry are lovely things. Raw lust is heady and exciting. But actual love is something that grows over time. It's deeper than that and I don't like when it's too cheaply bought. It just takes me out of the story.


Edie said...

This is one of my pet peeves too. And did you ever notice that when they do have beginnings like this, they're describing the person's body and face and hair--in excruciating detail? In other words, they've fallen in love with the way the other person looks.

For me, ending with the possibility of HEA is good for me too. My imagination can suppy the rest. :)

spyscribbler said...

As far as the fiction goes, you're 100% right! I completely agree!

As far as real life goes, I do believe in love at first sight. After I met DH, I was blown away. Something in me just *knew* that he was the one. I literally spent three days walking around in shock, and hours laying on my bed, just stunned and staring at the ceiling.

Sounds crazy, doesn't it?

There's no way I could ever pull that off believably in fiction! And I wouldn't have believed it, before it happened to me!

Zoe Winters said...

right edie. I hate that.

Spy, IMO that's still not LOVE at first sight. That might be pheromones/chemistry, lust, attraction, whatever, maybe even a gut feeling but I don't believe LOVE is something that you have instantly or when you first see someone.

Love is something deeper that builds over time. You might have had a feeling that you would end up together and that panned out, but at THAT moment it wasn't love. IMO.

Michelle said...

It is one of biggest turn offs in a book to me too. I'm happy to accept very strong attraction at first sight, but love needs a bit more time to develop.

Liz Kreger said...

I have to agree with you on this one, Zoe. Granted you can't really draw a book out for weeks, months and years that it takes for a true love to deepen and season ... I guess that's why its called fiction.

I didn't fall in love with my husband at first sight. I did, however, know that he was trouble the moment I met him and that I was in trouble. I wasn't looking for marriage or even a permanent relationship. I was enjoying my singleness ... and dating three guys at once, but that's another story.

He was persistent and, yes I ended up falling for him and marrying him. Damn it!

Zoe Winters said...

Hi Michelle. :)

Liz, Of course you can. You don't have to DRAG it out for weeks, months and years. You can just skip ahead and let some time pass. I'm reading a book right now where some action happens and then the next part is: "fifteen years later." Sure, don't drag me along for a 15 year ride because A. it's not possible to tell me everything and B. it would be pretty boring.

Of course even in a 2-3 day time span I don't get told EVERYTHING that happens. I'm fairly certain I'm not going to be reading about every meal and bathroom break or every thought in the character's head. Being a writer means choosing what to show and what not to show. And if you can skip through stuff in a day, you can do it on a broader time frame. Lots of novels span weeks, months, or years.

But time can pass, and sometimes just letting it pass helps a LOT. Also, characters can know each other from before, just not in a love way. They don't have to have just met that moment.

And I mean yes, I get that its fiction, but the author can at least make the small ATTEMPT at believability. Because what we know about love runs completely counter to the "falling in love forever in three days" mentality.

And yeah, with my husband I didn't even lust at first sight. I mean he's an attractive guy, I just didn't personally find him so. For me, looks are about the last thing I look at. Unless he has a hump and a hairpiece (Friend's reference) it doesn't much factor in.

He asked me out and I thought: "Well, it's not like I have to marry him." Famous last thoughts.

Once I discovered his personality was far removed from what I thought...he got REALLY hot, really fast! lol.