The Curse of Insta-Love
I’m sure most people know by now what insta-love is, but for those of you not so at home in the world of YA books, from which the term originated, insta-love is when two characters fall in love the moment they meet. I’m not just talking about attraction here. It’s plausible two people meet each other and immediately feel attracted to one another. But love? Can you really love someone the moment you meet them? Apparently, according to some YA books, not only is it plausible, it’s also very likely.
We all know some of examples of insta-love. For starters, there’s the world famous “Twilight”. Bella meets Edward, and she falls head over heels for him, and hte other way around. While it could make some sort of sense Bella would feel attracted to Edward – after all, vampires are described as extremely attractive – there’s no reason why she’d loved him right away. Same goes for Edward – he’s been around for a century, so I’m certain he’s seen plenty of girls in his life, so why would he fall head over heels for someone he just met?
But it’s not just YA literature that’s riddled with the insta-love curse. Think about “Romeo and Juliet”. They meet each other, fall madly in love, and end up dying for each other in some twisted plot only Shakespeare could come up with. And what about Disney movies? “Cinderella” doesn’t exactly give the best lesson to innocent girls when she falls for a prince from the moment she meets him.
I’ve read too many books, and seen too many movies, that mention insta-love. I don’t like it, and I never will. Some authors and reviewers try to give reasons for the instant attraction between two characters that right away turns into a deeper bond. “Oh, they’re destined to be together.” Really, you give me that lame reason, and expect me to believe it? “But he/she is special!” Right. We’re all special little cookies, but making your character a Mary Sue won’t help me warm up to any of your characters, or their relationship.
I’m not saying insta-love could never work. It probably can be done well, I’ve just never seen it before. Most of the times, it seems an excuse for lazy writing. Instead of making the character’s relationship develop, authors choose to just make them instantly attracted to each other, cutting some borders, and making it easier for themselves. Or they love their characters so much they want to see them end up together – preferably right away.
Insta-love is a curse. It’s ruined many good books, and will probably ruin a lot more of them. If you want your characters to fall for each other in the blink of an eye, then please, stop to think if there’s no other way to do it. Maybe they’ve known each other a long time? Maybe you can skip the insta-love and actually try to develop a relationship between your characters first? And if you want insta-love, then great, go for it, but don’t use it as a shortcut. Don’t allow yourself to write insta-love simply because it makes things easier for you.