Hi Cuddlebuggery readers! Now, I know how much you all adore YA instalove. In fact, many people have written to me since Every Breath was released, saying, “Please, oh please, Ellie, why did you have to make Rachel and Mycroft’s journey such a slow-burn romance? Isn’t it annoying when love gradually builds up between two friends?? Realistic romance is so tedious! We want instalove, and we want it now!!”
Well, I am very sorry to disappoint on the instalove, but it’s really just not my deal. I wanted Rachel Watts and James Mycroft to have a relationship that was created slowly, with a solid base in friendship, like a real life couple. Yes, my plan was basically to torture you with URST – Rachel and Mycroft tantalise each other, moving closer and closer until they just can’t ignore the attraction anymore. Over the course of the Every series, their relationship deepens, and becomes progressively more intense. To me, it just seems to make so much more sense (and is so hot!).
But (*heavy sigh*) I know that some of you out there are super-keen to read, and even have a go at writing, bad romance. So fine, I’ll cave. Give the people what they want, etc. For all the oodles of instalove fans out there, this is for you. If you’re hankering to suck at romance writing, it’s easy – just follow these simple-to-understand guidelines!
- Let your main focus always be on a straight, white, heteronormative couple. Aw heck – let all the couples in your book be straight, white and heteronormative.
- Your love-struck couple should have initial contact when their eyes meet, preferably across a crowded room, and definitely the first second they ever see each other. Certainly let time stand still. Let all noise cease, let nothing impede this bizarre stare-fest, let neither of them look away/break into giggles/be creeped out by the supa-insta-intensity of this momentous moment.
- Your male lead should have a jaw which is manly, or chiselled. His features should be ruggedly handsome, or finely sculpted. He should most definitely have a six-pack (because every teenage boy I’ve ever met has a six-pack, yo) and be at least six feet tall with awesome muscles. Let no pimple, freckle, scab, acne scar, mole or shaving rash detract from your male lead’s dreamy countenance.
- Your female lead should have a mane of hair that is windswept, artfully tossed, artlessly tousled, preferably in shades of red or blonde – let no mousey-brown intrude, or let it at least be dyed. She should be slender, statuesque, creamy-skinned, blemish-free. Also glasses-free, zit-free, birthmark-free and perspiration-free. She should be fully made up at all times, wearing great shoes. Her clothes should be lovingly described, and be in the latest style, with nary a stuck zipper or food stain in sight. If they’re miraculously self-ironing, that will help too.
- Let no parental supervision, curfew, household chore, interrupting friend or sibling, familial responsibility, or school/work/homework/sports schedule in anyway impede the progress of Their Love.
- Let your star-struck couple’s passion be volcanic, explosive, eruptive. Let their heat/electricity/radioactive magnetism soar like a rocket launcher. Let them never stumble, stammer, stutter, wriggle, move awkwardly, fall over, yawn, burp, scratch, adjust their crotch, fart or need to pee.
- Be gushing in your descriptions. Don’t hold back! Let your couple feel as they have never felt before. Let your prose by purple, fruity, flowery and emotive. Let their Ever-Lerving Lerve flow like a River of Lerve, down to a great Ocean of Lerve…
- Let every touch or brush of a hand be laden with electrical import. Go straight from dramatically intense stares, to their first momentous, earth-shattering, knee-trembling kiss, to sex.
- In that case, I guess you’d better made that kiss a doozy – your couple should kiss without awkward tongues or lips, without spit, saliva, slobber, mucus, and without clashing teeth/chins/noses/foreheads.
- Let them spend at least one night together, sharing a bed/sofa/footstool, where they chastely refuse to touch each other because shy (or something). They can be totally hot for each other 24 hours of every day, until you give them a great opportunity to act on it. Then they should not act like horny teenagers at all.
- When they finally Do The Deed (and you should most definitely capitalise it like that), be ruthlessly exact. Let your descriptions be gynacologically accurate. Describe exactly where they put their right arm and left foot (because we all pay attention to our left-right orientations while deep in the throes of passion).
- Let her be a virgin (better yet, let this be her first kiss ever), and let him be worldly and experienced. Let your male lead always take the upper hand in every moment of physical contact. Let him always be on top. Never mention birth control, condoms, periods. Let her always be on the pill. Give them no fear of pregnancy or STDs. Also: foreplay? What foreplay?
- Let no instruction or suggestion cross their lips – even if it’s their first time. They should be able to act purely on instinct, right? For pity’s sake, they don’t need to communicate beyond gasps and sighs! This is a romantic moment. (Alternatively, let them be extraordinarily voluble. Let them engage in deep philosophical discussion or relationship melodrama while in the middle of trying to figure out where to put their hands.)
- Don’t admit that either of them may be fallible, make mistakes, say the wrong thing at the wrong time. Put trivial obstacles in their way, but please, don’t ever let them argue over anything serious. Suggest that once they fall in love at sixteen, that’s it – they will stay together forever, til death do them part.
- Above all, let them be instantly in love at first sight. Admit no friendship or foundational base on which to ground their everlasting love for one another. Love is something pre-destined, foretold in the stars, written in the book of ages, right? Love is not a slow fumbling towards understanding and openness with another person. It doesn’t involve learning to trust and talk. It never entails people who share interests or understandings in common. Love is like magic beans – it just grows! Voila! Developing and maintaining a caring relationship with another person certainly doesn’t involve consideration, negotiation, compromise, discussion, patience, commitment, open communication. Love is in no way hard work.
Well, there you go, I’ve done my best. I hope this sheds some light on instalove, and how to write it. Despite the fact that I’ve written a book that doesn’t contain any of these things (okay, fair call, I wrote a het couple – I’m working on it), I do hope you’ll still consider reading Every Breath, and I hope you enjoy it. Huge thanks to Cuddlebuggery for letting me visit, and have a good week!
Every Breath by Ellie Marney
Publisher: Tundra Books
Published: October 14th 2014
When James Mycroft drags Rachel Watts off on a night mission to the Melbourne Zoo, the last thing she expects to find is the mutilated body of Homeless Dave, one of Mycroft’s numerous eccentric friends. But Mycroft’s passion for forensics leads him to realize that something about the scene isn’t right–and he wants Watts to help him investigate the murder.
While Watts battles her attraction to bad-boy Mycroft, he’s busy getting himself expelled and clashing with the police, becoming murder suspect number one. When Watts and Mycroft unknowingly reveal too much to the cold-blooded killer, they find themselves in the lion’s den–literally. A trip to the zoo will never have quite the same meaning to Rachel Watts again…
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Every Word by Ellie Marney
Publisher: Tundra Books
James Mycroft has just left for London to investigate a car accident similar to the one that killed his parents without saying goodbye to his “partner in crime,” Rachel Watts.
Rachel is furious so she jumps on a plane to follow him . . . and lands straight in a whole storm of trouble.
Sparks fly when Watts and Mycroft reunite in this second steamy thriller about the teen detective duo.