Ravyn vs. Paranormal Romance: You Want Me to Write What?

Last week, I continued my journey into the dark and dangerous alleys of paranormal romance with an early assignment on suspension of disbelief—or rather, half of an early assignment. The other half got my attention. Take something from my ‘ridiculous’ list. Write a two-paragraph summary of a PR plot centered around that idea.

Dang. She’s good.

The lists of things that broke or maintained my suspension of disbelief were a challenge, but reasonably intuitive. But this? Metaphysically, it takes a lot to snap mine; I make a hobby of finding improbable things to come up with in-world justifications for, even if most of them sound absurd in their logic. Most of what made it on my list was on there not because it was difficult for me to make it make sense, but because as far as I could tell I couldn’t justify for the cases of X that actually annoyed me. Ah, well. I don’t turn these things down.

Riffing on the matter of the lifebond/soulmate/whatever issue was pretty much inevitable, though. Overly human supernatural creatures are technically easy to justify: they recently discovered/converted/whatever (it’s the ones that have had time to go inhuman that I can’t wrap my head around not slipping somewhere). Uber-powerfuls that for some reason nobody knows about? Been done into the ground; seems like people only start asking you for a justification if yours are open. Nah, I’m going to attack those soulmatey-people, pillar of the genre though they seem to be, and I’ll do it the way I handle anything that annoys or jars me—instead of playing it straight, I’ll play it literal. What do the existing plots gloss over? What would make this lifebond concept awkward? What would one of my characters do about it?

(Come to think of it, the one who knows she’s a lifebond waiting to happen, while she’s too otherworld for this genre, just put in a vote for ambushing her lifemate and eating him. Let’s… not go quite there just yet. Don’t want to scare the instructor.)

So I’ll play it 100% true-to-life (for some value of life, anyway). You don’t get a choice about this soulbond thing. It doesn’t go away. The other one’s in your head, and privacy is virtually nonexistent. Yes, you feel all the feelings, but the question is, how much of it is you and how much is the silly soulbond?

(Huh. Coming back to this on transcription, long past completing the assignment, I wonder if soulbond victims particularly concerned with the last question are prone to cutting. Consider this later.)

My heroine, then, is a skinchanger, capable of modifying her own appearance as she sees fit. I consider whether she should do animal changes as well (heck, why not?), then decide the soulbond is their main restraint; else they might just give up their human identities and not look back. Is this a bad thing? Apparently their metaphysics think so. She is not amused.

The result:

Life may not be easy for a skinchanger in the big city, but for Ratri Ayres, twenty-five year old shapeshifter, nothing could be more fun. She can be whoever she wants–wearing a new face every day, sneaking into the zoo to learn new forms. Sure, she can have any man she wants, but she’s never wanted to keep one, until she meets Seoras.

He loves her. She could, perhaps, love him, but for one minor problem. They’re soulmates, their lives, futures and even their very thoughts entwined by destiny. A shifter’s soulmate is there to ground her; without him, she may shift herself so much and so thoroughly that she forgets who she is. Because of this, there is no force in the world that can keep them apart–except, perhaps, for Ratri herself. If she’s going to do love, she’s going to choose it for herself, and this is not her choice.

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