Jan 14 2013 8:04am

How Soon is Too Soon to Say “I Love You?”

Thanks to e-readers, it's easier than ever to see precisely where you are in a book. In a recent read, the hero tells the heroine he loves her at 60%. That's a whole lotta book left with one of the characters already committed to the other!

Do you like it when one or both of the characters says those three little words early on in the book rather than right at the end? What is your ideal point in the book for “I love you”s to be exchanged?

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Carmen Pinzon
1. bungluna
I'd have to say it depends on the type of story. If it's a straight-out romance with nothing else going on, then I'd rather that be the end or near the end, epilogues excepted.

If the story has other obstacles to the hea, then I like the hero and heroine to state their feelings straight out and then watch how they surmount said obstacles.

In the hands of a gifter author, any time is good for the 3 little words. They're bound to make the journey enjoyable regardless!
Vanessa Ouadi
2. Lafka
Right with bungluna here, I think it really depends on the type of story. I don't have an ideal point in a book to exchange the 3 magical words. I don't even mind if it's straight at the beginning (when the story is about reunited ex-lovers for instance). I prefer if it's not at the end-end though, because I don't believe much in the paradigm according to which saying I love you makes every hard time disappear _ so I prefer to be given a little insight about how the relationship goes on after they exchange ILYs.

I'd also say it depends on the progression of the storyplot, pretty much like in real life : I simply don't buy it when a hero tells the heroine he loves her after meeting her a few days before _ that's unrealistic and quite creepy if you ask me. So, whether it's at the beginning, in the middle, or right before the epilogue, it must be coherent with the story development.
Tena Baxter
3. TangelB
I don't discount those early ILY's (as I got my own at about 10%), so I guess that says I believe in Love At First Sight. (But note that that does create a need for additional plot points.) I know that LAFS doesn't happen for everyone and not even necessarily within a given couple - what can make me catch my breath are those lop-sided stories where one is sure and the other is either oblivious, uncertain, or just not there yet. So we wait through most or all of the rest of the story, whatever may be happening, for the 2nd party to catch up. If done well, it is then a worthy, hard-earned HEA. If he (usually it's him) is just TSTL about it, then I can't believe in or trust the ending (or maybe even the author again). One of my favorite tropes is the married stranger/mismatched couple who find love together - usually at the end of the story after struggling through whatever hurdles may exist. So, I don't mind when it happens necessarily; rather, as noted by bungluna & lafka, it needs to be supported by the other details of the story/characters.
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