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The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake in front of a heart made out of scary haunted houses

Halloween Activities & Romance Tropes: So Wrong It’s Right

The Atlas Paradox by Olivie Blake

Hello all Halloween enjoyers and spooky season fans among us! Olivie Blake is back for Part 2 in her series on matched Romance Tropes and Halloween Activities that one might engage in. If you missed her write-up on Conspiring Fates, make sure you catch it before / after / while you read on today’s theme: So Wrong It’s Right 😈

And watch out for Part 3—Hits Different When It’s SFF—dropping Tuesday, October 25. Also pre-order The Atlas Paradox before it releases on that same Tuesday, and upload your receipt here to receive a gorgeous custom enamel pin 🤩


By Olivie Blake

Fake Dating

Is there anything more satisfying than having to kiss for a thinly veiled plot mechanism, or being forced to share a bed with someone who just so happens to be extremely grumpy and/or hot? A classic deserves a classic, and for that reason you should attend a wedding. That’s right, a wedding! Who’s getting married on Halloween except for people who love doing the most?? Obviously finding the appropriate co-conspirator for a situation with this degree of nuance is the hard part, and the bad news is that everyone else you know is in the wedding except for your mortal enemy the beast who kidnapped your father/the person you once drove across the country with only to discover they don’t believe men and women can be friends, but we’re not asking them, right? I mean come on, we’d rather die! Sure their lips look really soft! Yes they have surprisingly kind eyes! Do they smell like clean linen and the last time you truly felt loved? Of course! But, like, is that even relevant?

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

Bodyguard Romance

You want someone who’ll lay down their life for you, which is honestly very relatable, and you also kind of have a power fantasy? Which is also hugely relatable. I can’t make you president or anything, I’m not a genie, so I guess the next best thing is suggesting that you get a dog. Look, it’s fine! Love comes in many different forms! Come on, let’s go to the animal shelter and find someone who’ll make you feel like a king and also literally maul the face off your enemies, including that coworker/single man in possession of a good fortune who keeps showing up in all our fantasies uninvited. Oh wait—oh my god, does Cujo love them? Is he… is he licking them?? That’s embarrassing, we should have gotten a cat. 

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

Holiday Romance

In this economy can we really afford to be too sparing with our joys? Live deliciously! Excess or death! For you I propose being the host of this Halloween occasion, and your theme? New Year’s Eve every twenty minutes. That’s right, every twenty minutes a countdown followed by the kissing of a stranger/conveniently located crush/beloved platonic friend. This is the most luxurious, indulgent, Gatsby-est party conceit of all time, and it’s my gift to you. Of course, with this much celebration your schoolyard nemesis/rival bookstore owner is bound to attend, and it’ll be just your luck that you’ll be situated near them when the clock strikes midnight for the sixth time. But what can I say? At least there’s cake.

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

Academic Rivals to Lovers

This one’s easy because there is nothing sexier than intelligence. I barely even need to do any work! You’re in the library, they’re in the library, you’re both nerds trying to summon demons or whatever you’re doing “for school,” and honestly, while academia is mainly a theater for the real world, I salute your commitment to aesthetic. Plus, you may hate each other, but you also grudgingly respect each other’s intellect while being desperate to prove your own, which as far as I know is Ancient Greek for belligerent sexual tension. The only real secret is (lean in close, I’m whispering) it doesn’t technically matter which one of you is more proficient at the obscure metrics designed by Delphian authority figures, so you might as well just make out! Unless your rival is—oh, fuck them, never mind. Stay vigilant, the only important thing is that your former bully/contract criminal archnemesis looks stupid and you don’t. 

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

Forced Partnership

You know what’s sexy about being forced to work with someone? Fate. Destiny. What’s sexier than the combination of close proximity and a deadline? You have some options here, one of which is an escape room, because obviously what could be better than paying money to be locked in a room and forced to puzzle your way out with three people you sort of know and also Kevin? I’m obviously being sarcastic because an escape room is my worst nightmare and so are group projects. An alternative scenario: a geocache scavenger hunt. It’s basically a quest, you don’t have to be physically caged, and chances are, someone else on the same quest is moments from racing you to an obscure book in the public library, which actually has a great selection of vegan cookbooks (who knew?). Oh look, here they come now, I told you this was a good ide- oh. Never mind—it’s just them again, your rival coworker/evil space wizard with a temper as fiery as their weapon of choice. This fantasy generator’s clearly broken. You should speak to whoever’s in charge.

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

Grumpy/Sunshine or Opposites Attract

Finding a soulmate means finding your other, better (or in my husband’s case, substantially worse) half. Whether you’re the manic pixie dreamboat or the resident prophet of doom, what you want is someone who brings out the best in you. What you need, then, is an artificially high stress environment, and while yes, an escape room would certainly do the trick, my proposed alternative is a Chopped-style cooking competition. One basket, four ingredients, and a competition for who can create the most delicious meal. At this point you might be saying to yourself, Olivie, are you just hungry? And the answer would be yes, but irrelevant! First of all, I’m part Filipino and food is my love language. Secondly, the kitchen is an objectively sexy place. Depending on the talent pool, sparks could literally fly. Is it my fault that your devious vampire nemesis/the journalist exploiting your trauma as a perennial bridesmaid happens to be making panna cotta in your kitchen? Maybe, but that’s neither here nor there.

━━ ˖°˖ ☾☆☽ ˖°˖ ━━━━━━━

Olivie Blake is the pseudonym of Alexene Farol Follmuth, a lover and writer of stories. She has penned several indie SFF projects, including the webtoon Clara and the Devil with illustrator Little Chmura and the BookTok-viral Atlas series. As Alexene, she has written a young adult rom-com, My Mechanical Romance. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, new baby, and rescue pit bull.

Pre-order The Atlas Paradox Here:

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