My favourite soulmate tropes

I don’t believe in soulmates in reality, but as a literary device they are one of my favourite tropes. The idea that your favourite character is only a moment away from bumping into their perfect partner is such an exciting incentive to keep reading. It adds an air of anticipatory delight through the whole book – especially when the going gets tough. The character might be going through terrible things, but just wait until they meet their soulmate! Then everything will change – and they have no idea what’s coming! It’s so gleefully delicious to read.

I’m a sucker for those kind of stories. So here are some of my favourite soulmate tropes.

Soulmarks

This is the idea that you’re born with a mark which matches one on your soulmate’s skin – or even their name, like a tattoo. Every person you meet might be your soulmate, and the only way to find out is to check their soulmark and see if it matches your own. So fun! What are the social conventions of asking about other people’s soulmarks? What happens if you fall in love with someone, and then realise your marks don’t match? What if your soulmate is already married? What if your parents knew you were gay from the moment you were born, before you did, because the name on your arm was of someone of the same gender? What would that change about society’s acceptance of homosexuality throughout history? The politics of this are just so fascinating.

Reincarnation 
Obviously this is one of my favourites – I wrote a book about it! The idea that souls find each other in every life, and that they can’t keep themselves away from each other despite the fact that they literally died and came back to life . . . it’s irresistible!

Dream sharing 
This is one of my favourite tropes. What if your soulmate has been in your dreams since you were a child? What if the first time you met a stranger, you suddenly recognised them from your oldest dreams? What if you shared the same dreamspace, so you’d spent hours and hours together in dreams before you ever even met?

Imprinting
What if the moment you saw someone, even if you were just passing them in the street, you knew they were your soulmate? It would be so convenient (and save a LOT of small talk) but what if you were driving past them, and never found them again? What if you spent years after that, knowing your soulmate was out there and what they looked like, but never being able to find them? What if you saw a famous actor in a film and realised they were your soulmate? What would dating sites look like – a series of endless photos that you stared at until one clicked? I NEED TO KNOW EVERYTHING.

Sharing emotions 
In this soulmate concept, even before you meet each other you can feel your soulmate’s emotions. You’d feel happy when your soulmate is happy, and pain when they are hurt. How would you track them down? How would it feel to finally meet someone whose emotions you knew just as well as your own? Imagine the sheer happiness you would feel from them when you finally met!

Originally posted at Imaginary Misadventure.

Published by Lauren James

Lauren James was born in 1992, and has a Masters degree from the University of Nottingham, UK, where she studied Chemistry and Physics. She is the twice Carnegie-nominated British Young Adult author of The Loneliest Girl in the Universe, The Quiet at the End of the World and The Next Together series, as well as the dyslexia-friendly novella The Starlight Watchmaker and serialised online novel An Unauthorised Fan Treatise. Her upcoming release is The Reckless Afterlife of Harriet Stoker. She started writing during secondary school English classes, because she couldn’t stop thinking about a couple who kept falling in love throughout history. She sold the rights to the novel when she was 21, whilst she was still at university. Her books have sold over fifty thousand copies in the UK alone, and been translated into five languages worldwide. Her writing has been described as ‘gripping romantic sci-fi’ by the Wall Street Journal and ‘a strange, witty, compulsively unpredictable read which blows most of its new YA-suspense brethren out of the water’ by Entertainment Weekly. The Last Beginning was named one of the best LGBT-inclusive works for young adults by the Independent. Lauren is a passionate advocate of STEM further education, and all of her books feature female scientists in prominent roles. The Loneliest Girl in the Universe was inspired by a Physics calculation she was assigned at university. The Quiet at the End of the World considers the legacy and evolution of the human race into the far future. Lauren lives in the West Midlands and is an Arts Council grant recipient.  She has written articles for numerous publications, including the GuardianBuzzfeed, Den of GeekThe Toast, and the Children’s Writers and Artist’s Yearbook 2020. She teaches creative writing for Coventry University, WriteMentor, and Writing West Midlands, providing creative writing courses to children through the Spark Young Writers programme.

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