By Celinda Barefield
OK, I was originally going to write a follow up to my last article about how to integrate a good writing guide into your work, but in light of recent events, I’m changing my topic. I will do the follow-up at a later date. Instead, I’m going to write about meet-and-greets.
The big challenge here is: How do you get your main characters to meet? This is where setting, motive, and actions come into play. There are many types of meet-and-greets ranging from preplanned stalkerish to randomly weird and everything in between. Maybe one of the characters sets it up. Maybe it’s an act of fate. Sometimes it can be pure coincidence. It is up to the writer to decide. The point is that they eventually do have to meet.
My favorite type of meet-and-greet is the Meet Cute. If you are familiar with old romance comedies, you know what I’m talking about. In a Meet Cute, two people are looking for similar things. For example, a girl and a guy are in the men’s suit center. The girl only needs a jacket, the guy just needs a pair of trousers, but the clerk has to sell the set. They both blurt out their requests at him at the same time and realize that they can solve their problem together. This is a Meet Cute, a random act that leads two people to meet, and in most cases fall in love.
Another type is the Serendipity meeting. After spending a large amount of time almost side by side, two individuals finally encounter each other via a random act of fate, most often years later. An example is a guy and a girl live in the same apartment building but on different floors, they work in the same office building again on different floors, and they frequent the same deli for take-out but at different times. It is not until they are both on vacation in Maui that they run into each other waiting at a taxi stand in the middle of a thunderstorm. They fall in love and realize that they were close for years and never knew it.
As writers, we do not have to write a good first impression. Take Pride and Prejudice for example. Here we have a great meet-and-greet in which the two lovebirds get the totally wrong impression of each other. Mix-ups like this make or break some stories. So choose your first words with care. The thing to remember is until it’s published you can always write a new first impression unlike in real life when you’re stuck with the ones you make.