Hold back the love, please

Paranormal romances are fun — you have have your human/human love, human/were (or shapeshifter), human/vampire, and various permutations. I’ve written four paranormal romance e-books and another short story.

Before writing them, of course, I read a number of paranormal romances and noted certain themes that run through books by different authors. Nothing wrong with that. It’s fun to see the various “rules” in place if only so that you can play with them later on.

However, one trope has always stuck out, and I think it’s over used: love at first sight, aka LAFS.

In para-roms, LAFS is often an instinctive identification of a mate, and let’s face it, it cuts out the middleman of how to get the guy and woman together. Your woman is walking in the park, crosses paths with a werewolf or vampire who does a double take and goes after her and voila — you have your meet cute and love declaration all in one fell swoop. The problem with LAFS in any genre is that it often deprives us of seeing the couple work it out and get together. Paranormal LAFS is helpful in that it gets your peeps together quickly as they band together to face a common threat. That’s cool; it’s better to be on the same team than opposing. United we stand, etc.

I’m not immune; in my weretiger series (Exiled, Young Blood and All Too Human) I used this same idea, and gave this instinct a name, the Pull. However, I tried to make it more than just hey, hi, wow we’re in love.

In Exiled, there were two pairs who felt the Pull. The first couple were both weretigers who had known each other before.Angela Griet had been banished from her pack when she lost her ability to shift. Her father was the pack leader and he feared challenges to his leadership if her situation were known. When Angela finally encounters Aidan Ligeret, the man she had loved before, she tries to get away despite the Pull because she doesn’t want him to be ostracized as she was.

The second couple in Exiled was a witch and a werepanther, who were strangers and neither expected it. There were some hurdles to overcome, and although their feelings were instinctive and strong, the witch was still unsure about it all since it was outside of her experience.

In Young Blood, Jura Griet, a weretiger, is Pulled to a vampire, who doesn’t have the same instinct. So, basically, what do you do when you love someone you aren’t sure could love you? Finally, in All Too Human, Tina Griet is attracted to a human man, and neither feel any kind of “Pull.” Not to mention, said human had kidnapped her; not the most auspicious start to a relationship.

So while yes, I did use LAFS to some extent, I tried not to rush it. Part of what people like — and want — about romance is the conflict. Sure, we like the hugs and kisses and all of that (come on, you know you do) but it’s more fun and more rewarding when they get those after they solve their problems.

I think it’s easier for many people to write a LAFS situation for their protagonists, and then they can concentrate on the main non-romantic plot, where usually they face a common enemy. It’s difficult to write a developing relationship; so much of it is fairly mundane and devoid of the melodrama one sees in soap operas. We don’t all need to be rescued from window ledges to see how much we care for the other person, or have a major misunderstanding about a half-heard text message that requires a book’s worth of miscommunications and arguments.

But people are fairly mundane most of the time, and it’s the slight miscommunications and insecurities that cause problems. The thrill of the chase is fun, but sometimes the chase needs to run a little longer.

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