Genre Talk

Genre Talk – Let’s talk paranormal tropes

Hi everyone –

Since Moonlight came out in July, I’ve learned a lot about the shifter genre that I hadn’t really considered before.  There is a major trope in shifter booksMoonlight_finalcover-WithBlurb-Digital especially werewolves, that makes debates break out… Fated mates! dun-dun-dun!

It has been interesting hearing from readers on both sides of the fence. Many readers pick up a shifter book (myself included) because the trope of a fated mate pulls us in. For me as a writer, it’s very fun pair up a wolf with the most incompatible “mate” and watch the sparks fly. As a reader, I also enjoy the rollercoaster of seeing this character grapple with getting to know the person so love can bloom and win over pure instinct.

It’s almost like the arranged marriage trope in a historical romance.

But shifter books can take it a step further… If the “mate” isn’t a wolf it adds an extra wrinkle into the mix because the other person can walk away, the wolf doesn’t have the freedom of that choice because his instincts are set. That helps to layer in even more tension. Love!  *ahem*

Anyway, I know there are also readers out there who avoid shifter books because they don’t enjoy the fated mate trope. Some call it “insta-love” but I don’t see it that way. There is instant “knowing” and instant “connect” and possibly “yearning”, but most of the books I’ve read, no one is throwing the “love” word around in the first 3 chapters.  Just finding your mate isn’t enough. You have to get to know and understand them. Love blooms out of the relationship.

So while fate may throw them together, love saves them both.

Or at least that’s always my goal with my shifter books…

What are you thoughts out there?  How do you feel about fated mates? What twists do you enjoy in the shifter genre?  Do you love the Pack feel and the focus on family? I’d love to hear… 🙂

Lisa Kessler

24 thoughts on “Genre Talk – Let’s talk paranormal tropes

  1. When you are talking about paranormal creatures which are driven by primal urges then fated mates isn’t that far of a stretch. One of my favorite troupes is forbidden love and it doesn’t get more forbidden than human and supe or two warring paranormal creatures. Paranormal lets up amp up the emotion and action since they are so hard to kill

  2. When I pick up a shifter novel, I actually look forward to seeing the two characters find their way to each other as more than requisite mates. It’s not enough to know you’re meant to be together. It’s about getting to know each other, falling in love and figuring out how to make the mated relationship be more than biology.

  3. For me it depends on how the “fated mate” is handled. There are books where all we really see is insta-lust and never see any other reason for them to be together other than “fated” and “lust”. I don’t care for those books. I prefer something deeper where the couple come to know each other and end up liking and trusting based on more than wanting to jump each others bones. There seem to be more of the fated/lust books than the deeper books or maybe its just what I come across.

    • I think fated mates sometimes starts as an instinctual lust, but I really enjoy seeing the couple move past that and fall in love. 🙂 In my shifter world, the wolf inside the man doesn’t recognize his mate until they have skin to skin contact so some of the wolves become friends with their mate first before realizing she’s the “one”, and I have one wolf who “discovers” his mate while they’re trying to kill each other… Whoops! LOL

      Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa 🙂

  4. Neat post. 🙂 I don’t mind the fated mates trope, and that was a really interesting comparison to the arranged marriage notion. I think of them as very similar. While there may be greater pressure for them to fall in love, etc, nothing says they have to. In fact, they could just be stuck together and miserable (and hey, their misery through the story is why we read, isn’t it? knowing they’re rewarded by a HEA in the end).

  5. I find it frustrating. Isn’t it enough for two people to meet and eventually fall in love? Why is it more interesting for it to be fated? I’m often tempted to write a fated polyamorous romance…

    • I think it goes back to that arranged marriage trope. There is something fun to read and write about a couple are thrown together and gradually fall in love in spite of themselves.

      Of course not every trope works for everyone! So it might not be fun for you… 🙂 I love Fiddler on the Roof and when Tevya and his wife sing “But do you love me” and examine their arranged marriage it melts my heart every time when they realize they actually do love each other….

      But I gotta say I bet you’d find a readership for your fated poly-amorous romance! You should write it! 🙂


  6. I love shifter books, I don’t have anything against fated mates either. I love added complications of warring families, packs, cross-species or even falling for your brother’s best friend. You go into a pnr knowing there’s going to be a HEA, it’s part of the formula you expect but I love when there’s a surprise twist to how they get there 🙂

    • I totally agree Michelle! 🙂 I understand it’s not for everyone, but for me, I really enjoy watching them navigate the mine field and figure out how to love each other in spite of everything… 🙂

      Thanks for commenting!

      Lisa 🙂

  7. My characters are 4 couples, each composed of one human and one immortal. The problem here, as with the human-vampire couples, is fated they may be, but the human will live only a lifetime while the immortal or vampire is eternal.

    • Isn’t it perversely cruel to say the immortal will only know true happiness for a few short years but will otherwise spend eternity feeling broken and incomplete?

    • I think that’s the biggest torture for immortal characters is being left behind when their mortal loves perish. Remember the tv show Highlander? He was always haunted by losing his wife… heartbreaking!

      Thanks for commenting Sue!!! It’s always great to see you! 🙂


  8. I’ll admit I am fond of a paranormal character who fights his overwhelming instinct to choose a mater, who might or might not be interested. The tug and push of the relationship is always fun to read…and fun to write! There’s also the practical matter of space. If you have to build a world for your characters, introduce your characters and their role in that world, AND have a slow buildup to attraction to friends to mates, you probably have a thousand-page novel on your hands!

  9. Not really into werewolves, but I agree with all of your reasons for why fated couples could work. Often when we read a novel, we are introduced to the love interest within the first few chapters. We expect the main character and said interest to get together by the end, but it’s the journey they go on to make that love a reality that gets us to read.

  10. Hi Lisa,
    I like the fated mates trope. It’s fun to both write and read that particular journey. As you said so well, fate throws them together, but love will have to bloom over time…

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