Recently I started reading a novel and I was in chapter 5 and the heroine and the hero had met the previous night. Right, okay? The previous night. And they had hit it off and there was a connection there and so the heroine is telling her best friend about the guy when her friend says, “It sounds like you’re falling love with him already.”
Sometimes I begin to wonder, what exactly do people think love is? As a writer of a romance book, it is the author’s job to convince me, the reader, that the couple is in love. To convince me that they belong together and to have me on the edge of my seat when obstacles come their way. Because if I’m not convinced, the book is not doing it’s job and I may want to put it down and find something else to read.
Can romantic love happen in an instant? Doubtful, but let’s say it can. Well, then unless your book is Romeo and Juliet the novel is over. You have no story to tell. I, the reader, would rather find something else to read.
Romantic love can be done in a variety of ways (hence the fact that romance novels still sell!) but some things, I feel, should be canon:
1. Friendship. The couple should be friends. First. Before love is tossed around like a football. I, the reader, should feel like I know that they turn to each other when things come up.
2. Respect. There is nothing worse than a “romance” novel where the couple argues up until the last two chapters and then tries to sell me that that was love.
3. Communication. You cannot fall in love if the hero and heroine are separated most of the book. And if it’s a series, I begin to doubt whether they will stay in love if the author keeps them separated for long periods of time.
4. Team work. I just read a novel where the hero and the heroine were a team. They had different strengths and different gifts and they relied on and trusted the other to use those gifts and to be there when the other needed them. The hero and heroine ought to strengthen each other. Together they should be stronger.
One or more of these four things will make me sigh at the end of the book like a character in a Disney movie. I will have complete faith that this couple should be together and would stay together in real life. Any “love” that happens without one of these four things is not love. And I just think that we shouldn’t be so quick to toss that word out there.
So, yeah, here are some of my theories. Do you agree? Disagree? Have anything to add?