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Thursday, January 19, 2012

I Hate You. I Love You.

Last week, I was reading a book that pulled the "I hate you. No, wait, I love you" thing and it made me crazy. IMO, it can't be pulled off successfully. I've never, ever read a book or an author who's made it work.

In the book that inspired this post, the hero and heroine hate each other. They don't have one charitable thought about the other. Then about halfway through the story, without warning or cause, the hero and heroine are in lurvvvv. More than in love, they're soul mates. Kissy, kissy, huggy, huggy. Sexing it up.

Um, no. I didn't buy it, especially the way their feelings for each other turned on a dime and without any real, earthshaking events occurring.

The only way something like this could possibly work (and I still have my doubts) is a gradual thawing of relations between the characters. Maybe seeing the other in a new light and grudgingly reconsidering their preconceptions of one another.

The other idea that comes to mind that might make it workable as a plot device is having them say one thing and think another. Maybe there's a reason why they want the other one to believe they don't like them, but in their head, there's admiration and positive thoughts. Maybe, but I still have my doubts.

I hated this device when I was mainly a reader, and TBH, I hate it even more now that I write. I think some writers believe this kind of petty arguing/sniping is conflict and it's not. Conflict is more than this and true, honest-to-goodness character impacting conflict can't turn off on a whim. If it can, it's not a real conflict, it's an author convenience.

I've read books in the past where the h/h have "hated" each other right up until the last few pages of the story. Really? And the author expects me to believe the Happily Ever After? I don't think so.