Tuesday, 28 January 2014

Day Five of #TemptedToWrite




Day Five:  How Do They Meet and What Are Their First Impressions of Each Other?

Ah yes, the meet-cute.

The key moment in a romance novel, the one where we know who are our hero and heroine for definite.  Of course, we may see their first moments in retrospective (they may have known each other for years; gone to school together; been family friends) or we may see those first few moments through the eyes of our protagonists.

This isn't to say that all meet-cutes are the same.  Some characters are brought by some disaster, whilst are simply a chance meeting. 

Example Number One:  Zoe and Dan in Lucy King's The Reunion Lie

In fact, he didn't notice anything about her at all until she was standing right in front of him, stopping him in his tracks and flashing him a dazzling smile, and then it was pretty impossible not to notice her.
 
Dan didn't have a chance to mutter an 'excuse me' and step to one side.  He didn't have time to wonder why she was standing so close not why her smile was so bright.  He didn't even have a chance to check her out properly.
 
All he got was a fleeting impression of blonde hair, dark eyes and an overall sense of attractiveness before she flung her arms around his neck, plastered herself against him and gave him the kind of kiss that he'd have considered more appropriate if they were naked and in private.
What makes this meeting stand out? The first time Dan meets Zoe, shefull on kisses him - using him as a fake boyfriend.  It's a brilliant move on the part of Lucy King, as it immediately puts both characters out of their comfort zone and means that they react to the situation instinctively, as opposed to slowly getting to know each other.

Example Number Two:  Caitlin and James in Natalie Anderson's Whose Bed Is It Anyway?

Two seconds later he stood at the foot of the bed, rubbing his raw eyes.  But they weren't deceiving him.  The bed was made up all right.  A big, brand-new bed with acres of soft-looking white coverings.  He felt the thick pile of a luxurious rug under his bare feet.  He was certain that if he looked his bathroom would be gleaming and perfect.  But there was something else gleaming and perfect:  a woman.  A beautiful woman was curled up asleep right in the middle of his huge bed.
She'd left the blinds open so the city lights gave the room a pale glow.  It made her arm and face luminescent.  Her long blonde hair was spread enticingly in a swathe over the pillow.  A golden beauty in his bed.  Goldilocks herself.
What makes his meeting stand out?  The last thing either Caitlin or James expected was to find that the place they were supposed to be staying in was occupied by someone else.  This throwing together of two people is a classic meet-cute, but Natalie Anderson gives it a twist by having them contest over a bed.  It adds a sexual frisson to the meeting that can't be ignored.

The selection from you all was of a ridiculously high quality, but my favourite was Daphne O's, for a flashback meet-cute:
Elsa literally ran into Jack one fateful day on campus, back in their college days. She was running late for a meeting and crashed right into him from around a corner. Papers flying around everywhere. She utters a series of apologies to him and curses at the same time about her things as he reaches out a hand to help her up.
Stunned by this blur of a woman and papers Jack reaches out to help up the poor girl who sounded like she landed pretty hard on her rear after crashing into him. While starting to pull her up he catches a full glimpse of her and accidentally lets her go.
Down she lands on the ground again. Appalled, she shoots him a bitter and angry glare, realizes the time, then quickly scoops up her things, and was gone again in seconds uttering a final 'Thanks but no thanks.' He was always smooth with women, but that, he didn't know what "that" was. She thought he was a rude playboy. He thought she was gorgeous but pretentious.
Until they kept running into each other everywhere, and in almost everything they did. Six years later brings us to the present date.
What makes this meeting stand out?  I love the fact that nothing happens straight away.  They see each other, register each other but the timing's not right.  I especially love the fact that Jack's so taken by her that he accidentally drops her to the ground!!  And then there's that caveat:  "until they kept running into each other everywhere, and in almost everything they did..."  Tell me more!  I want more!!  Good job Daphne.

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