I never thought I would fall in love with the romance genre until I started my internship. Before, I viewed romance as weeping women and Fabio’s coming in to save them but that is just one spectrum of the genre. But I slowly realized I had been in love with it all along. Hadn’t I swooned over books because of the romance? No, I had never written a romance novel but hadn’t almost every story I had written included a romance plot line.
Out of all the stories I have read during my internship, the ones that stick out to me are the ones that have interesting Meet Cutes. Granted there is more a book must have to make it good but when I see a meet cute I like that usually is a step in the right direction. Before I go any further let me explain what exactly a meet cute is. It’s when the two love interests meet each other. Simple, right? But it’s surprising how many authors miss out on the chance to make their work stand out from the rest by making the most out of this moment. Most meet cutes are too boring or way over the top that it’s hard for me to suspend my disbelief.
This is such an important detail that now I take time out to think about my meet cutes before I even start drafting. Many of the submissions I read, the couple meets at a bar or party, which is fine. I think a lot people meet their potentials mates at bars. Or in my case potential disasters. But after reading the same thing over and over they all seem to blur together.
So how do you make a meet cute that stands out from the rest of the crowd? Here are five tips I use:
- Choose a location wisely. If there are a lot of people at the location, seclude the couple. The reason bar scenes don’t work is because there are too many people being introduced. As a reader, I don’t want Jane and Joe friends names shoved down my throat when I haven’t even gotten to know them yet.
- Let them meet early in the story, preferably the first scene/chapter in a romance. In other genres there is more leeway but if possible make sure it happens in the first act.
- Create a situation that will highlight the character’s personalities: (Is the guy a show off, does she get embarrassed easily). Showing off a character’s personality is a great way for a reader to get to know them.
- Start budding the romance (How do they view each? Do they touch a little and it sends waves of chemistry? Make it impossible for them to forget this moment.)
- Set up the conflict. This is the key element. It is so important to create a physical or emotion obstacle that is standing in their way of being together. (During the meet cute, it’s not important to show all the obstacles but it’s a great idea to hint at it.) It will set up the romance plot for the rest of the story.
In your current story, how does your couple meet and how do you try to make it unique?