You know that couple that used to hate each other and now can’t seem to keep their hands off each other?
No, I haven’t met them, either. Every couple I know started out as either shy strangers or friends. And yet, I find myself drawn to stories with that plot.
Maybe it’s the unlikeliness of the situation. I mean, really, how believable would it be if two people hate each other the moment they meet and yet, days later, they’re having mad, passionate make-out sessions in between bouts of arguing? I don’t find it in the least bit believable, and yet I’ll watch it.
I’m starting to wonder if it’s because we (me included) associate direct, even rude phrases and actions with honesty. The guy who acts like he’s made of ice, or always has a smile for others no matter how he may feel, can’t “put on an act” around the heroine. And the heroine, who “doesn’t usually let someone get to her like this” finds herself saying what she thinks when the hero ticks her off, or finds she can be softer/more aggressive/whatever trait she feels she wants to express but can’t. (Of course, in the case of feeling softer, I guess nowadays that vulnerability would be something she’d fight against.)
Rhett Butler and Scarlett O’Hara are a classic example of this. One of the reasons their relationship works like it does is honesty: around Rhett, Scarlett is no longer the perfect Southern belle the reader knows is just an act, and Rhett…well, he doesn’t exactly hide who he is, but he loses some of his nonchalance when he’s around her. And, slowly, they become friends. Then, after mutual respect (sort of) is established, they become something more.
In the (still unnamed) sequel to the novel I just finished (I promise I’ll reveal the name of the first book soon), the main couple isn’t going to be that lucky. My heroine is out to kill my dragon hero and he has a hard time thinking of her as anything but an annoying human. As I write the rough draft, I realize just how gifted those writers are who are able to take that kind of start and turn it into a believable love story.
It’s my first time writing this plot. Looking forward to the challenge.
(BTW, if you’re wondering, yes, the title is a nod to Joe Jackson.)