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Blog: Love and the Unconvinced Reader

In this post Veronica talks about the romantic timeline in YA Books:

Most of the time, for me, the problem is “You’re Hot, So I Love You.” That is: the only in-text justification for the intense feelings of the characters is their physical attraction. We get many paragraphs dedicated to description, but none devoted to conversation or experiences that transcend the physical. Maybe the author even tells us something like “they talked for hours about this and this and this,” but we don’t get to see any of it, so we remain unconvinced.
So, for writers (and I’m reminding myself of this here): one of my writing professors in college said that often, when people say in critique that part of a story is not believable, the writer will say, “But that’s what really happened!” And she told us, basically, that that response is total BS. It doesn’t matter if something you write about happened in real life– it matters if you convince the person reading it. And I think that’s true of love stories. Yes, of course you can write a story in which the main characters develop a really strong connection in a week, because it really does happen–but the trick is, you have to make it feel real. You have to show the reader rather than insisting within the text that it’s true, it’s true, they really really like each other! Because otherwise, your reader is going to call your bluff.
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