I love romance novels. I mean, I decided to become a romance writer for a reason. But even I can admit that there is often a formula or set of tropes that characterize most romance novels. But for me, as both a reader and a writer, that’s part of the fun. As a reader the slight element of predictability makes me feel safe, and I like knowing that it’s all going to be ok in the end, because how many places in our life give us that, right? As a writer, I like working within the formula because it lets me focus more on character and setting development and looking for little ways to tweak the formula here and there to keep the reader on her toes 😉
I also think the power of romance novels is that the formula is really based in real human experience of dating and romance (with a splash of fantasy because what’s the point of fiction if we can’t make it a little better than reality, right?) And so from all of my experience writing romance novels and my years of dating and relationships, I’ve developed 10 Way to Recognize Your Soulmate, because sometimes they can sneak past us.
- He or she shows up right when you’ve decided that you aren’t looking for romance
- There is an instant attraction, although you refuse to admit it
- He or she “gets you” in a way no one – not your family, not your co-workers, not your previous loves – ever has. Usually evidenced in the way they can read your mind through your eyes.
- Despite the instant attraction – and complete emotional connection – there is a very good, definitely legit reason that you cannot be together romantically. This reason is usually totally unfixable.
- He or she becomes a fixture in your life, the one you want to run to first on good days or bad days alike, even knowing it can never work.
- Despite all of your logical and really solid reasons for why you can’t have a relationship, you decide that having a physical relationship, or a passionate one night stand is a reasonable and totally doable plan.
- After your night of passion you realize that you are actually in love, and all those reasons for why you can’t be together suddenly aren’t as compelling anymore.
- As soon as you decide to go all in on the relationship, he or she reveals some hidden element of themselves – or has it revealed by someone else – that totally changes EVERYTHING and reminds you of all the reasons you weren’t even looking for romance in the first place, and you were especially not looking for it with this person.
- After your dramatic break up, you get new information that either undoes the damaging information, or puts it in a new context that makes it totally understandable and not all the deal breaker you thought it was.
- After reuniting and accepting each other’s apologies/explanations, he or she declares they are (and likely have always been) madly in love with you and finally admit you are equally madly in love with them.