The more I dive into romance and the RomanceLandia sphere, the more I’m noticing a few things about the genre. Having written a few romance books myself, most awaiting publication, I’ve become quite familiar with all the nuances and conventions of the genre.
This past week, I tried my first bully romance called Made in Malice. It’s a kind of suspenseful bully romance with a mystery/suspense element to it. It was my first of the subgenre and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don’t know when the other books in the Corrupt Credence series will be released, but I’ll be eagerly awaiting the conclusion to this story. This was my first time trying this author and, even though I’m new to the darker side of romance, I’m more than willing to try her books.
I also am trying Kennedy Ryan’s older work because her older work is finally getting audio releases. When I heard that her book, When You’re Mine, was an insta-love, I immediately jumped on this book because I actually love insta-love romances. The book doesn’t feature insta-love like people initially thought, but still, I had a good time reading it all the same.
Why do I love books with insta-love? In my exploration of RomanceLandia, I’m finding that I’m liking books that are completely opposite from what I write. In this case, insta-love books provide a unique exploration of substance and foundation different from slow burn romances.
Ironically, I write slow burn romances. The pull in writing slow burn romances provides the same kind of emotional zest for me as it does for many slow burn fans, I imagine.
The pull for slow burn romances for me is the chase for the relationship. It’s also about character growth. I love writing slow burn romances, and I imagine readers love reading slow burn romances, because the chase is fun. Experiencing the chase in real time is the highlight of the journey for many, including me as a writer. I tend to write by the seat of my pants, also known as no outlines at all, so I’m always intrigued where my mind takes the chase next.
For me, and I’m sure many others, slow burn represents a fun chase that we’re witnessing in real time, but it’s also an exploration of the characters under pressure. What layer will be pealed back in chapter three and how will that manifest later on in the story. Slow burn isn’t just about tension, but that’s a big part of it, it’s about watching these characters in a multitude of situations and observing their habits through a push and pull of emotional tension. It’s the journey of seeing how the chase starts, climaxes, and then ends. That’s what makes slow burn romance so beloved. Insta-love provides a different kind of experience, but it seems as though everybody just honestly doesn’t understand the insta-love experience.
Insta-love is frequently criticized as shallow, Insignificant, bad writing, not good storytelling, and so many more negative things. It’s the underdog of the romance genre in my book. I think this is because people don’t understand the insta-love experience.
Even though I can’t write insta-love experiences to save my life, I love the insta-love experience more than I do the slow burn romance. Insta-love usually has two characters meet, exchange a few handfuls of meaningful connections, conversations, experiences, and then their love seems to just magically blossom into a fully fledged romance. To most people, the insta-love speeds toward the sex and the sexy times and more. For me, the insta-love experience has a different purpose in the form of sustainability.
When I’m reading an insta-love book, I’m not looking for a fast resolution like others would believe. I’m not looking to skip past all the fun stuff. When I’m reading insta-love experiences, I’m seeking the same things you are as a slow burn fan, I just want to examine a different aspect of the relationship and insta-love allows me to watch, in real time, as characters figure out how to keep that emotional flame alive amidst adversity.
Reading about the slow burn chase provides a different experience for me that isn’t better or worse. Most of the time, I’d much rather two characters have a spark early on in the relationship and then spend the rest of the story trying to figure out how to keep that bright spark amidst a bunch of factors. Time, distance, life. Insta-love creates a spark early on and then asks me, how do you think I’ll keep this spark going throughout the whole story? How do you think these characters will get back to that bright beginning? For me, the insta-love experience is also a game of going back home again. There’s a spark early on in the beginning. The characters have to figure out how to, either maintain a steady spark that is equal in value to the big splash in the beginning, or they have to ignite something else to emotionally bring them back to that initial zest that started it all.
The insta-love experience also shows me how the characters can, or should, or don’t, hold up a relationship structure. There are insta-love experiences where the characters fail at holding up that relationship structure so they need to build something that can perhaps be as bright as the super-fast romance they had. It’s a test and I get to see how the characters navigate an ongoing test rather than a push and pull chase.
For me, insta-love experiences provide stability. They’re also a test of the character’s will and strength. Sure, you can fall in love super-fast, but can you maintain that zest? Can you maintain that love when things aren’t rising up to meet you like they were in the beginning? How do you find new things to love after the insta-love emotions simmered down or speed up, even. How do you stay on course? For me, insta-love is more about stability and watching characters figure out how to keep that epic connection alive. I also like seeing who initiates the insta-love experience in the beginning and who, out of the two main characters, maintains that spark the other started.
One of my favorite examples of an insta-love experience is Jeremiah by Jayce Ellis. Another is the Flow book by Kennedy Ryan. Those have all the hallmarks of a fantastic insta-love experience and I hope you enjoy reading them as much as I enjoyed them!