Plot Devices: Love at First Sight
This is one of my pet peeves. Personally, I don’t believe in love at first sight. Do I believe two souls can be destined for one another? Sure. But I don’t believe that’s love. You can be drawn to someone upon first meeting them. You can even feel attracted to them, but I feel you have to get to know them to fall in love.
When it comes to writing, love at first sight is one of my least favorite tropes. I have more than once seen two characters suddenly both declare their undying love for one another without any preamble. I’m ranting like this because I just read a book like that. The MC was clearly attracted to this guy, but he showed little if any interest in her. Suddenly, out of nowhere, they’re grappling and kissing and going crazy on one another, declaring their love to each other. And I’m sitting there slack-jawed wondering what the hell just happened.
To me, I think this is a lot like a Deus Ex Machina. The author wants a specific end, but has written him/herself into a corner. Do I think there are times when these things can be utilized? Sure, when the world generated by the writer allows for it. For example, if you write a species of shifter that recognizes its mate upon first sight or scent (e.g. Christine Warren’s series, Stephanie Meyer’s series), love at first sight is utilized in a realistic and reasonable way which doesn’t seem to come out of left field. But when it isn’t built into the world design, it can be extremely jarring, and detracting, to the reader.