What is the Little Mermaid Syndrome?

*This post does not deal with the medical condition; it deals with the literary condition.

littlemermaid

The Little Mermaid Syndrome is the desire to be part of another’s world.

A fictional character under the influence of LMS would go any length to become like the one they desire. This coveting is usually driven by love. In other cases the driving emotion is obsession.

Conditions:

The ripest situations for the LMS are in Fantasy and Paranormal genres where partners are more likely to be unmatched. By unmatched I mean a plain/weak human and a beautiful/strong supernatural being.

In these cases it is usually the human who wants become like their partner. Rarer is for the magical being to desire to be become human or have the means to become human. Plainly put it is a simple fact the LMS goes only one way.

Why is this?

I think it is all part of the escapism fantasy. We tire of the normal and are looking beyond our world for something better; be it vampires, werewolves, fairies, elves, or selkies. The idea behind this is that being connected to one of these more exotic beings or being one makes our world that much more exciting and ripe for adventure.

Human (normal) –> Vampire (supernatural)

Human (normal) –> Lycanthrope (supernatural)

Thumblina (normal, despite being supernaturally tiny) –> Fairy (supernatural)

The exception to the rule is the Little Mermaid.

Mermaid (supernatural) –> Human (normal)

This is because the human in this tale is clueless to the existence of the preternatural world. The mermaid must make herself known because their interaction would never happen otherwise as they do not exist in the same habitat. One lives on land and the other in water. It’s not like with vampires or werewolves which appear completely human and can intermingle in the same locations.

Witches and wizards are to my knowledge the only magical beings that could instill the LMS in their partner and do nothing about it. You’re either born with magic or you’re not. There’s no gray area.

Books featuring LMS:

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Defined: Emotion and Passion, pt 1

iloveyouI sent out a query on Twitter to romance authors and readers if they’d be interested in answering two quick questions. These two questions are ones that I personally love to ask romance authors when I interview them because the answers are always different and unique even though both deal with emotion and passion. It’s inspiring really to see how they can be defined. Below are the questions and their responses; how would you answer them?

How do you define love?

Leigh Ellwood: I see love as the feeling in your heart, somewhere between softening and swelling, you experience when you are near your partner. No matter how they look, what they are wearing, or how long you’ve been together – you still get that tingle when you kiss and that itching desire to grab ’em!

Carolyn Jewel: A deep and abiding respect and admiration (since I can’t use the word “love”). Two people who are aware of each other’s flaws and find it makes little to no difference.

Rai-mon Nemar: Love is – Thinking to yourself “if you just act on your dreams you’ll rule the world”, and yet you’re actions are consistently made with someone else’s well being in mind.

Love is – When you feel as though your personal and professional pursuits wouldn’t have had as much meaning without that someone who’s traveled the journey with you. They might even be worthless.

Love is – Not an emotion! It is a choice you make daily to stay the course and live your life with someone and know you’ll be better for it.

What makes a great bedroom scene?

Leigh Ellwood: I like a slow build-up, a painfully teasing undress and kisses that explore the skin like a roadmap. I like dialogue, too. Sex doesn’t have to be a mute activity. Where there is communication, it only ramps up the sex appeal.

Carolyn Jewel: There must be something at risk, something changed between them afterward. If your characters aren’t risking anything emotionally through their intimacy, then it’s just boring.  Every bedroom scene has to change the relationship between the characters. This can include making things seem even worse, by the way. Intimacy does not always equal happy ever after, especially early on in a relationship. It’s not only about who’s touching who where. The best bedroom scenes never, ever lose focus on the emotion, even when one of the characters thinks there isn’t any.

Rai-mon Nemar: I’d say it’s like it real life. It’s all about the foreplay and more importantly the anticipation. Then “learning” how the person reacts to the certain things you do. Kissed this (nothing), touched that (nothing) bit her fat (she sucked her teeth for almost a minute like bacon sizzling) hopefully you know what I mean.

To read other responses to these questions, check out Love Romance Passion’s additional author interviews.

If you are the owner of a review blog or are a romance author and are interested in participating in this survey please send your responses (and links) to Keira: loverompass@gmail.com.

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Defined: Emotion and Passion, pt 2

rosesThis is part two to my Twitter query series about defining emotion and passion. Part one can be found here. This series is devoted to asking romance authors and readers to explain the driving forces behind the concepts of love and desire by sharing their opinions and stories.

What is love? How do you define it?

Sèphera Girón: Love is unconditional acceptance and nurturing protective feelings towards another human being. Romantic love would add sexual chemistry and the idea of wanting to “do anything” for your partner both in the bedroom and out.

Stephani Hecht: A few years ago my grandmother was in the hospital.  She’d had emphysema for a while and we all knew she was dying. Most of the time she was unconscious, but we still took turns being by her bedside so she wouldn’t be alone. I was taking the midnight shift when my grandfather showed up.  He came to her bedside, took her hand and placed a gentle kiss on her forehead.

“I still remember the first time I saw you,” he said, as he stoked the back of her hand with his thumb.  “I was fourteen, you were twelve and I spotted you across the school yard.  You had on this really pretty yellow dress and there was a ribbon in your hair.  As soon as I saw you I said to myself, That’s the one.  That’s my girl.”

Now that was true love. My grandmother died hours later and my grandfather has never really gotten over losing her.

What makes a great bedroom scene?

Sèphera Girón: I’m talking about one man and one woman in this one: Anticipation and tension sexually and emotionally before they hit the bedroom, leading to sensual touching and exploring, with the woman coming first at least once and usually it’s because the man has full attention on her either oral sex or fingering her. Both partners are lustily into the moment and sometimes it’s nice if both can come together for the finale. Descriptions and dialogue should be realistic and to the point, including talking during lovemaking even though it feels weird typing “oh yeah” but when you read the work outloud, it’s real. “Cute” words such as cunny, and creamy, turn me off.

Stephani Hecht: If you can make the reader “feel” the character’s fears, passions and desires, then you have done your job as a writer. I want the reader to be cheering when the hero and heroine finally get together.

To read other responses to these questions, check out Love Romance Passion’s additional author interviews.

If you would like to participate officially in this series send your responses to Keira: loverompass@gmail.com. Additionally, you can send up to two links to connect readers to who you are and where to find you.

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Kiss and Tell: Elaine Lowe on Her Hero

katby Elaine Lowe, guest blogger

My husband is my own personal hero. On the inside of his wedding ring, I engraved, “My Hero”, and that was long before I was ever a romance writer.  He is the master of making me smile and blush, my sounding board, the fixer of all things tech, my inspiration, the Lord High Bug Squisher, and the only one who can make my brain stop whirring and appreciate just being. He’s also my research partner! As I write erotic romance, he really likes his job.

We met in high school, believe it or not. Though we didn’t start going out until college. He was a guy who was a friend of a friend, someone I knew and liked, but who just seemed a little bit odd, a little bit crazy and a little bit incomprehensible. He still is, and I love it. In college, we happened to be in the same dorm at a very big university, and since we knew each other already we got to talking. And talking, and more talking. Until I realized that every minute I wasn’t with him, I missed him terribly. That all the unrequited crushes I’d had in junior high and high school were nothing to the magnitude of the emotion I felt when I was with him.

heroAnd miracle of miracles, he felt the same. After one crazy all night session of talking and my first kiss, we’ve been together ever since. Sixteen years of knowing that I’m never alone, that somebody always has my back. We’ve taught each other everything, and we know each other inside and out.

We’ve faced joys and challenges together, including raising our beautiful, brilliant autistic son together with love and understanding. Always, my husband does his best to take of us, to share everything that he is. He’s patient and kind, playful and damned sexy. I love him, and a little piece of him, that core of goodness, is within every hero I write.

Visit Elaine Lowe’s website to learn more about her books and to keep up to date! You can also find Elaine on Twitter!

Learn how to participate in the Kiss & Tell feature here at LRP.

The Romance Novel – Women’s Porn? Take Two:

romancenookI was reading Not Everything Erotic is Romantic over at All About Romance’s Blog. It touched a bit on what I was thinking when I was writing The Romance Novel – Women’s Porn? However Lynn said something I forgot to touch on in my original post, which I thought I would do now using an illustration from her musings. She said:

Lynn: …it seems to be an extension of what I’ve seen some erotic romance publishers do in recent years. They throw books our way and say “You’ll love it! It’s a romance. We swear!” When readers respond with indifference to, say, books without a romance, publishers often wonder what’s up with that. Why aren’t we buying those books? After all, they have plenty of sex – and isn’t the sex what romance readers are really looking for?

Wrong! The difference between a romance novel and porn is the focus on the emotions–the happily ever after. That’s the good stuff. Right there is why women, or at least I, buy and buy into romance. The emotions make the sex worthwhile in a book. Sex between leads must serve a purpose. My comment in no way is meant to dismiss erotica. I find some erotica to be quite singularly excellent and others like Anne Rice’s Sleeping Beauty Trilogy to be complete crap. It’s as Carolyn Jewel says from the post Defined: Emotion and Passion, pt 1:

Carolyn Jewel: There must be something at risk, something changed between them [the leads] afterward. If your characters aren’t risking anything emotionally through their intimacy, then it’s just boring.  Every bedroom scene has to change the relationship between the characters. This can include making things seem even worse, by the way. Intimacy does not always equal happy ever after, especially early on in a relationship. It’s not only about who’s touching who where. The best bedroom scenes never, ever lose focus on the emotion, even when one of the characters thinks there isn’t any.

In many cases the difference between an okay romance and a great romance is the sexual tension. Without it the writing is lacking. Intimacy is created with sex; it is where you’re vulnerable, where you learn about your partner, and most importantly learn a bit about yourself. In an author interview with erotica writer, Jamaica Layne I asked her to define a weakness in romance and she illustrated a weakness from tame romance, which I agreed with wholeheartedly. She said:

Jamaica: —–I think a major weakness of most “sweet” romance novels is the fact they leave the sex out.  One reason I’m so drawn to writing erotica is because it leaves the sex in without asking the reader to fill in their own details.  Don’t get me wrong—-I still like a good non-erotic romance novel—-but there still needs to be at least some sex and/or sensuality in order for it to appeal to me.  Even Jane Austen understood the importance of sex in romance—–all of her heroines are quite sensual, even though her books make no direct mention of sex.

I could watch and read Pride and Prejudice forever. The conclusion to draw from this is that sex in romance must be tied in with emotion, attraction, and create a dynamic pull between the characters and the reader. We must feel the same drive the characters do. When sex is written and it serves no purpose to the reader or the characters, it’s like trying to pull teeth, excruciating, or kissing a cold fish, plainly displeasing and alienating. Nothing can pull a reader out of a story quicker than a poorly written sex scene that’s clumsy or unnecessary. Authors can include sex or not but never ever should they write a romance without these three elements; because the tension, attraction and emotional vulnerability are all essential to creating a romance that readers want to read and reread time and again.

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