Friday, September 30, 2016

At First Sight

Ah, the ol’ insta-love. We Grippers write in various genres, of course, from sweet romantic stories through to down and dirty one-handers. Given that the topic is beautifully flexible as regards love or lust at first sight, I’m certain we’ve all dealt with this sweet little seed in many ways.
Insta-love has been a staple of capital-R Romance stories since ancient times, back when Cro-Magnon had to carve them on the walls in Southern France… or something. Love at first sight is a tool which has been employed in millions of stories and for some reason, it seems only recently to have gained its detractors (hey, look at me, referring to last round’s topic!) Why this is, I’m not certain. Surely in the case of Romance stories, readers either go in with their eyes pre-widened, or else they don’t go in at all.

Often in Romance, the insta-love is essentially seen in a mirror. I hate him so much for being so damn irresistible and he’s the worst man in the world and oh, god I need him. That kinda thing. But it’s still insta-love. And in erotica… well, where would a 3,000 word story be if we had to slow-cook that desire? I guess it would leave us with the prologue and nothing more.
I suppose the dislikers might feel it's essentially a kind of cheat, perhaps? A short-hand? I can see why folks might think that, but in the end, when handled well it can be a most delicious little treat. When an author gives us the sensations the hero or heroine feels, when they pin those feelings on something more than just a tight ass or a deep cleavage—showing us magic in the movement of a hand or the kink of an eyebrow—it helps cement that feeling. And it turns the insta-love into that which it needs to be; a fertile seed.
Personally, I adore the inclusion of love or lust at first sight. I can’t speak for the nay-sayers, but I also imagine their dislike could be based on disbelief. I’m certain that initial “zing” doesn’t happen for everyone.
But it did for me.
1988. First day of a music course, in a town ten hours’ drive from my family home. And ten hours’ drive from her family home (not the same home, I hasten to add… not even the same town!) It was a physical sensation the moment we saw each other. And while it took months before either of us had the confidence to make any kind of move (we were both only 18), we’re still together now, 28 years later (plus about a month… September 7, 1988 was our first dinner together).
So I suppose I have no trouble including insta-love/lust in a story simply because I’ve experienced it. It’s my reality and it's ongoing. And growing.

9 comments:

  1. That's so fantastic, Willsin!

    Maybe the detractors are just jealous.

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  2. A good way to incorporate uncontrollable lust in a story can start with love at first sight. The sexuality rides on the rush of hormones.

    And I love hearing stories like your meeting your wife. As I've mentioned (perhaps ad nauseum) before on these pages, Momma X and I also met in high school. It'll be 52 years in December.

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  3. it seems only recently to have gained its detractors

    I would think there must have been people carping at the supposed unreality of literature's love at first sight tales from the time of the dime novels, if not before.

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  4. I get what you say about fitting the development of relationships into 3000 word stories. I have a tendency to dive in with pre-existing relationships for short stories, although I certainly have written the first-sight kind, too. Right now I'm about finished with a novella-length story, something I've never done before, and figuring out the right pacing, etc. for the longer length has been a challenge. I've been thinking that I should have used a first-sight relationship because there's theoretically room to develop it, but instead I set my characters in an existing (but undercover) relationship, which turns out to be just as well, since the plot got so complicated that it needed most of the space. After all, if you're writing about superheroines, you have to have plenty of explosions and chases and complications, right? Right? I'm out of my depth when it comes to the superhero genre, but I've contracted to do it, and I'm trying, for better or worse. Who knows, maybe I'll turn out to love writing superheroes at (more or less) first sight.

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    1. Sacchi, if you're looking for a beta reader for your superheroine story, I'd be happy to oblige!

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  5. I'd love to send it to you! I have no idea whether I'm doing it right. However, I actually have to send it to the publisher by tomorrow, and I still have the final passage and some editing to do, so it's too ate for beta reading. I'll still send it to you, though, if you'd like. If the publisher decides not to use it (unlikely, since they're already working on a cover image) I'll want to do something else with it. (How closely do readers of superhero stories look at small holes in the plot? Aaargh!)

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  6. Willsin, that is a sweet story. I'm sure all sexual/romantic relationships involve some sort of chemistry at some point, even if "love" isn't the most accurate word for the first spark. Sacchi, I'm also intrigued by your writing project. Please keep us posted.

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  7. I'm really enjoying these stories about how our writers met their partners. I agree that believability is way less of an issue if one has experienced love at first sight. In cases where it's not supposed to represent strict realism, I sometimes think it's an attempt to represent the inexplicable nature of what actually activates the full love sensation. In my experience, even if it takes time, it doesn't obey logic.

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