Fantasy Romances

There’s a similarly titled thread elsewhere, but it’s about a specific story, not the genre overall. So I thought I’d start a thread on the actual genre. :grinning:

So…what are people’s thoughts on the mix? Paranormal Romance has certainly taken off, and that genre is just Urban Fantasy with romance heavily in the mix. But what about other subcategories, such as a focus on romance in straight fantasy worlds or more slice-of-life contemporary fantasies heavy with romance?

Do you love the idea? Hate it? Have a favorite type? Want to write one yourself?

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I ended up writing one by accident for 2017 NaNoWriMo. I usually do have romantic sub-plots in my fantasy, but Papillon became something where the relationship between the two lead characters and how it grows is a focus of the story. It has an urban setting, but definitely has a much brighter “fantasy” theme rather than the darker “paranormal” atmosphere.

The sequel has no romance element, because :upside_down_face:.

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Currently all I seem to be able to write is human/merpeople romance stories, in an urban fantasy or historical fantasy world. It’s just such a fun, satisfying thing to write for me.

Oddly, though, I don’t read too much of it. Though part of that is probably because I don’t like reading straight romance in general, I will read LGBT fantasy romance if the opportunity presents.

I’ve also found there is often a trend in human/mythical creature romance for the non-human character to be powerful, erotic, and sexually irresistible to the human (at least in the limited amount of the genre I’ve read) when I’d rather develop both characters as people who are attracted to each other. Write what you want to read, I suppose!


I am a big fan of many genres, but paranormal romance is by far a favorite of mine. I love taking mythological creatures and legends and giving them a new chance at life in a modern setting. I’m also a big horror/thriller fan and paranormal reading and writing allows me to get my hits of those genres as well. I think that due to the sub-genres explosion, there are certainly an over-abundance of stories about vampires and werewolves (as if those are the only two mythical creatures viable for a story), which is why I am usually drawn to stories that have unusual characters/creatures or tie in to lesser known legends and myths (I love Larissa Ione’s work as well as Kresley Cole, both of whom showcase the genre in wonderful but very different fashions).

As far as writing them, I love it because of the freedom it gives me to explore new aspects of the genre as well as the ability to fold in aspects of horror and other genres. Plus it’s fun to think - if I were a harpy living in modern day Chicago, what would I do? Or how does a dragon hide their dragon form in the time of air travel? And how could a siren use modern technology to get around the whole “lure men to their deaths” thing?


I love this genre combo. :heart: I’m writing a book that’s either a fantasy/romance or romance/fantasy – it’s hard to decide which one’s primary! Anybody else run into the same problem? The plot decisions I could make would be super different depending on if the focus is on the relationship between my characters vs. it being a more “classic” fantasy plot with romance elements, if that makes sense.

I’ll probably be able to figure it out once the book’s done. :smile:

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I was there for a good while, in that the major catalyst of Papillon is the main character’s relationship with the love interest—except the MC doesn’t consider their relationship to be romantic (though she suspects the LI thinks differently) until the last third of the story.

I decided it was more “fantasy” because the fantasy element is the most significant driver of the plot (the former-magical-girl MC ends up befriending the butterfly-woman LI as a means of having magic back in her life in some form) but also because the rest of the story would work if there wasn’t the romance element in it.

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Would love to pick your brain a little about this - I’m considering writing a merpeople based story this year and the thought of including a human/merperson romance crossed my mind. What does it look like when you’ve written it - do they live apart on land and in the sea? Or do they find ways to be together?

This is most of what I write. I prefer romance in second world fantasy over stuff set in our world. I just like second world fantasy better overall, so I want to read more romantic stuff in settings like that. Give me that sweet, sweet fluff in worlds filled with magic and fantastical creatures.

Among my novels, I’ve done:

  • dragon/human romance (M/M)
  • selkie/human romance (M/M)
  • human/cat-person romance (F/F)
  • half-orc/demonborn romance (M/M)
  • adversarial races of fish-people romance (multi-spectrum queer)
  • elf/plant monster romance (F/F)
  • human/half-elf (F/M)
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Part of the fun challenge of human/merpeople relationships is figuring out how they’d live together. I’ve never much liked fantasy romance in which a non-human character turns human in order to facilitate a relationship/sexytimes.

In one novel, I had my human protagonist get transformed permanently (but slowly, over the course of the novel) into a merman. For my current project, the human will end up being a Lighthouse Keeper at an isolated light station, so his merman hubby can always be nearby and the two can spend time together. (Here, merpeople can breathe air for several hours at a time, the human chara will get pretty buff carting his merman about on land). For another story in the works, the human character will end up living on a boat out at sea with the mer pod (including husband and kiddos) and is both a scuba and freediver, allowing them to spend time together in the water.