Saturday, 21 May 2011

Insta-Love: Can it be justified?

So it's my 3 month blogging anniversary! YAY! I just wanna say thankyou to everyone who's made my short time blogging so fun and memorable. Everyone I've met and talked too, every post I've read, every comment you've left it's all helped shape my fantastic experience. So thankyou!

As I said yesterday I'm gonna try a new thing out of book-related articles. I've been thinking about this for a while, and it's something I'll probably only do once a month or so (maybe on my anniversary every month!)

But this month's topic is something hotly debated in the YA world: Insta-love. Now I'm not gonna go on a huge rant here, I'm sure you all have your thoughts and feelings on this topic and feel free to share them in the comments. But my aim with this is to show whether Insta-Love can ever be justified 

Insta-love. We’ve all moaned about it at one point. Shy new girl’s eyes meet those of the brooding enigmatic guy across the crowded and noisy school corridor and BAM! They’re in love! Why? Well, because the author told us so of course! 

Now I’m sure I speak for a lot of you when I say this type of relationship can often be unrealistic and frustrating.  Why do authors do this? Well, it could be argued that it’s easier. It takes less explanation, less time, less effort to have the main characters in your story simple ‘fall’ for each other. Vickie from ComaCalm's corner says she hates Insta-love when "there seems to be no particular reason" for their attraction. 

But can this type of love be salvaged? Is there ever a time where this instant connection can be justified? I have a solution. Well, I didn’t create the solution, naturally, but it’s something that present day authors appear to have forgotten about for some reason and that is: The Soulmate Principle.

I’m sure you’re all familiar with the Soulmate Principle, but someone once said something about assumptions being a BAD thing, so here’s a quick explanation. Soulmates are two people who are destined to be together. Some theories claim there is only one soul mate out there for each person, some claim multiple. Some say we can have romantic and non-romantic soul mates. Whatever your conception of it, the idea is that people’s souls (not necessarily in the Christian way of thinking about it) their essences somehow share some kind of connection. They’re two halves of a whole. In this case, when these two souls finally meet, they undoubtedly would feel a strong ad probably irresistible pull to each other, or feel as though they’ve known each other for years. I think this was best displayed in YA fiction in L.J Smith’s Nightworld Series, which is awesome and definitely deserves a look. 

Now for some reason as I said, this seems to have gone somewhat out of fashion in fiction. Is it too old fashioned? Does it seem too religious? Whatever the reason I definitely feel it’s something writers should begin to incorporate into their writing once more.

I’m sure some of you are sat there thinking “shared/connected souls? Isn’t that a *tad* unrealistic? And how often are people *actually* gonna meet their soul mate, hmm?” Well,  my answer for you sceptics is this: You’ll believe in werewolves, witches, vampires, angels, zombies, shadowhunters, demons and fairies but you WONT believe in the Soulmate principle? You’ll believe Clary Fray just happened to meet the only shadowhunters in NY, which is a HUGE city. You’ll believe Bella Swann just happened to be the only person who was immune to Edward’s power and that they just happened to be both in the same school in the same small town at the same time but you won’t believe in the idea of Soulmates? 

Fate, my friends. You might not believe it exists in real life, but there’s nothing to stop it existing in the fictional worlds we love so much. Shed your cynical sides and embrace it.


I'm really, really interested to see your thoughts on this!! Questions to consider:
Do you feel authors actually do employ the soulmate principle and are just too subtle about it? 
Or do you think that sometimes they're just lazy/bad writers. 
Have you ever read anything where this kind of love is done really well? 
Why do you think it's used?
Would you read a book that had soulmates as an explanation for why characters fell in love so quickly, or would it put you off?


  1. It's definitely interesting that readers will suspend belief for werewolves, vampires and other such beings, but have such distain for insta-love. I think it's the realistically of it. You know there are no such thing as monsters, but human emotion is something else entirely. For anyone who hasn't experienced insta-love, or who doesn't believe it exists, they just don't want to read about it because to them, it's too far out there.

    Personally, I'm not a fan of insta-love. I prefer realistic human interactions, even if they take place between mythical creations.

  2. Great thoughts Sarah!! Honestly, I'm not being entirely serious. I do dislike insta-love unless there's a reason given, or it's done exceptionally well. I think one of the best relationships in YA is Dimitri and Roses in Vampire Academy, and that must have something to do with how slowly it develops.

    I didn't think about the fact that human emotion is obviously something we can experience and therefore know it's unrealistic-that's a great point thankyou!!

  3. I think it CAN be done well, then I think it is done so badly that it ruins the entire book! My two month anniversary is coming up!! Yay!!

  4. Hahaha.
    I love your point about people believing in the supernatural beings but not in insta-love! you make a very good point! :D

    I am sometimes put off with the whole "eyes meeting across the room" thing... I'm a sceptic when it comes to love! I would probably enjoy more sleeping around in YA as lets face it, it happens! but it usually happens in paranormal fiction and as you say... the rest of the story is hardly realistic is it?!

    good discussion :) x

  5. It's a controversial topic. I only find instaluv acceptable in re-told fairy tales. After all, it's a FAIRY TALE, you can't expect it to be realistic! But in all other books, I demand relationships with build-up. I think the whole "soul-mates" thing in YA paranormal is just an excuse not to develop a relationship. Especially when the two people have NOTHING in COMMON! (I'm pretty realistic about relationships IRL.)

  6. I'm torn on the whole insta-love subject. I do believe in soulmates, but often the author doesn't mention that as a possibility, you are left to wonder how/why they fell in love.

    Personally, I'd rather the characters have an instant attraction (which is totally believable in my eyes) and a slower developing relationship than insta-love. That sets them up on a fast track for the "love" catergory.

    If it's written correctly I can usually accept insta-love, but some authors don't have that fluid way of writing and it just comes across as awkward.

  7. "Well, my answer for you sceptics is this: You’ll believe in werewolves, witches, vampires, angels, zombies, shadowhunters, demons and fairies but you WONT believe in the Soulmate principle? " One is escapism, the other is something we have experience of and can rationalise in our lives. We know werewolves don't exist so we can inventmythos around them but love whilst it may not be tangable does exist and so can be argued based on individual experience

  8. That's true 'LB' but my point is that this kind of love IS a mythical kind. The idea of essences being connected in this way isn't something we can necessarily rationalise. For me, it comes under the same heading as vampires etc. I'm not talking about everyday, romantic love. It's the sort of love we read about and want ourselves. It's not supposed to be realistic, just believable. The same as with everything else in the genre.

  9. Incase anyone is wondering LB is my boyfriend :P

  10. It depends for me. I have a love/hate relationship with insta-luv. If the guy is hot (and I don't mean described as "gorgeous" I mean someone who I find appealing) I probably want my protagonist to know more about him. Develop a connection, right? That's why I enjoy many insta-love books. But, if I don't like the guy initially, insta-luv annoys me. I will respect the relationship if it's well fleshed out, just not the characters.

    The safe way is to create a real relationship that takes time. At least a month. I've read books where "true" love happens in days. Umm... no.

    I don't like the idea of soulmates. It annoys me that someone can't be a whole on their own and that that person will never be in a good relationship with anyone else. I've read Nightworld and towards the end I got a bit tired of it. However, I wouldn't mind reading about more about the relationships I enjoyed, like Ash or Quinn which basically ties in to my first point of me being shallow enough to fall for the guy.

    Hope that made sense ;)

  11. I'm not a fan of Insta-love but I think it can be done where it's okay. The Soulmate thing works, but I still need to see some sort of development in their relationship before they declare themselves in love.
    In Starcrossed it was done a bit differently where it felt a little more realistic. It wasn't exactly Insta-Love, but it was close.
    In A Need So Beautiful Suzanne skipped the instant love completely and when we start the story the two characters have already been in love for a couple years (or a year, something like that) and we skip the whole thing of them meeting. It was different, and completely awesome to jump into an already developed relationship.

  12. Hey Cait, I love love. I don't hate the insta-love but if it comes without a least some explanation it makes it hard to understand and connect. I'm all for the soulmates though...I just read Spellbound recently and it was heavy on the soulmates which is what made me love it as much as i did. It may not be a completely explainable concept or even believable for some, but isn't that why we read "fiction"? To get lost in a world where things that aren't real seem that way? I know thats why I read, to escape the real world. ;)

  13. I LOVE this post. I totally believe in soulmates in real life. Unfortunately, I haven't seen many novels depict it in a believable way for me, other than stating, "We understand each other so much!" got any recommendations for us?

  14. Awesome post. I agree there is a lot of "instant-love" in books and movies. It depends on the storyline and I'd like to believe everyone has a soul-mate...


    Sherry Soule Official Author Website


Thanks to blogger making it easy for us to reply to comments I will now be replying where possible, so if you comment be sure to check back! =]