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March 10, 2009

Fated Mates.

Paranormal romances often use a fated mates plotline where the hero and heroine take one look at each other and know they will spend their lives together. Some readers and reviewers consider the fated mates plot overdone. They say it’s a way for the author to cheat on the world building aspect of their writing and that the fated mate plot is a shortcut. I’ve also seen readers/reviewers say characterization suffers in a fated mates story. Others say this type of plot is unbelievable.

Personally, I love reading and writing this type of plot. I read romance for the happy-ever-after aspect and like to think there is a special person or a soul mate waiting out there for every person. In my Middlemarch world, every feline shifter has a special mate. They don’t necessarily have to hook up with that person, but mostly they do end up together. Fated mates stories often contain other elements such as a suspense subplot.

What do you think? Do you like the fated mates plotline? What do you like or dislike about it? Are stories that use the fated mate scenario too predictable? Are there any particular stories featuring fated mates that you’ve enjoyed?


  1. Jennifer Colgan

    Good topic! As with everything, I think it’s all in the execution. I’ve read too many fated mate stories where the ‘fate’ became a substitute for development of the relationship. Hero and Heroine never ‘fell in love’ because the author said they were in love from the moment they met – no need for sexual tension.

    A good fated mate story still requires the MCs to have conflict with each other and to have a relationship that grows over time despite what the fates have decreed for them. If the story builds to true love rather than starting out with it as a given, then it can work.

  2. Leah Braemel

    I love fated mates. And I’ve seen it done where they can be fated but still don’t like each other and have to overcome that, so as Jennifer says above, it is in the execution of the conflict.

  3. Jory Strong

    I like reading fated mates stories, though overall, I prefer the plot of the fated MCs to revolve around facing an external challenge that binds them together, as opposed to meeting and disliking each other, then spending the rest of the book working that out.

  4. Amy W.

    I personally love them. The idea that there is one special person out there for each of us. And not only that but that you would somehow know it when you met them. There can be a great deal to the characters interactions even with fated mates. Just because some instinct inside you knows meshing two lives can be hard for anyone. There’s also the possibility that one or both mates will fight it. Those who think they don’t actually have a mate or will ever find one, or who can’t seem to make room for their mate. And many more I probably can’t think of. Needless to say I think the fated mate story only adds to it as long as it’s done plausibly. Oh and I love all your Middle March stories! I like the Breed stories by Lora Leigh and the Trek Mi Q’an stories by Jaid Black. There are also a few stand alone series I like but that’s it as far as I know.

  5. Voronda

    I love fated mates and most often one or both find it hard to get along or they fight the mating. I don’t think that the story line is over done because each other brings somthing unique to the story and unique to the chracters and thier reasons why they don’t feel the mating is right. So, for me the fated mate story line is never dull or boring unless or over used most authors try to bring somthing new to the fated mates story line.

  6. Crystal-Rain Love

    I’m currently on the 4th book in Gena Showalter’s Atlantis series, which features fated mates in each book. She does an excellent job with the concept. Her characters never lack for anything. The plot never weakens due to this concept either. This is one of the best series I’ve read.

  7. Kaye Manro

    Great post! I was thinking about this very topic the other day, Shelley. I like the fated mate thing, and have it in some of my writing. But you know, I think it is getting to be a bit overdone. It seems like most everyone is writing this plotline. Maybe we writers need to come up with unique and unusual plotlines, or a twist on the typical. You know– they aren’t fated, but are thrown together and through the adversity of plot can fall in love for that happy ending. I like a lot of conflict, and I feel it needs to be stronger in some of the books I’ve read lately.

  8. Roberta Harwell

    I personally don’t care if it is a fated mate story line or not. I love all books. I don’t review and critique each book I read. If the book takes me away from my boring life, entertains me, makes me think, and gives me a new perspective on an old idea, I feel blessed to have been able to read the book.

    Have a great day.

  9. Fedora

    I tend to enjoy the storyline, especially if (as others have mentioned) the mates don’t initially get along. I do like a variety of stories though, so I don’t want all the books I read to involve the mate-you-hate-but-are-destined-to-love…

  10. Shelley Munro

    Jennifer – ah, the author execution thing. Good point. Some authors can write a telephone book and make me want to read it. It’s their voice and word choice that always grabs me.

    Jory – yes, I think this type of plot works well with a suspense type story line, something that forces the characters to rely on and work with each other.

  11. Shelley Munro

    Amy W – I’m a Lora Leigh fan too. Christine Feehan’s Shadow Walkers also have a fated mate element where the characters have been genetically enhanced and programmed to react with a certain person.

  12. Shelley Munro

    Voronda – I like it when the author twists the idea slightly. I’m a real sucker for the fated mate story.

    Crystal – I’ve read some of Gena’s books but not this series. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Kaye – I really think that’s the secret – to try to add your own little twist or else braid the story line with another such as friends to lovers or something like that.

  13. Shelley Munro

    Roberta – You’re exactly right. When I pick up a book I want to love it and try to start with an open mind, but like some authors I tend to be picky. Reading is also research and work for me so I start off analyzing how the author has constructed their book.
    When I forget to analyze I know I have a good book. I’ve read some wonderful books recently. It’s been all relaxation and no work!

  14. Shelley Munro

    Fedora – I couldn’t just read this type of plot either. I haven’t read one for a while, but I have Lora Leigh’s latest Breed book burning a read-me-now sign on my ereader.

  15. Patricia Barraclough

    I like fated mate type stories. Of course it shouldn’t be smooth sailing for them to get together. There are lots of plot lines leading to them getting together, and that is where the story comes in. What counts is the quality of the story that gets them there. Keep up the good work!