Is writing a proposal in a year after first date too soon?

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SnugglePuggle

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Hi all! I wasn't sure where to post this but anyhow here's my question. I am a paranormal romance writer, and I'm working on a currently planned 4 book series. I am in the middle of my 2nd one right now, and I want to have a proposal at the end, since the 3rd will be the wedding (among various plots which I won't get into right now). Anyhow, I had their dating life paced a bit slow in the first book, so I am a bit unsure as right now, they are nearing their 1st anniversary together in the second book. Is it too soon to propose?

My current thoughts were possibly along the lines of 1) the couple recreates their first date and the male MC proposes at the same place they had their first kiss, or 2) have a completely different anniversary celebration and have him propose in a different, unique kind of way.

So along with that, I'm pondering on if it's too soon to propose, but I don't have enough material down yet to know if I can spread the book out for another year of dating before a proposal (since the proposal will be the end of the book after they go through a certain, very hard trial of sorts).

Any thoughts you have on this matter I would appreciate! Thank you <3
 

LJD

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No, that's perfectly fine.

Tons of romance novels have proposals before the one-year mark. Happens in real life, too.
 

Sonya Heaney

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Plans definitely change as you write! Nobody but you can decide what’s right, but I do think that your plans follow a pretty well-accepted pattern for a PNR series. Relationships tend to move quite fast in the subgenre (and I know people in real life whose relationships moved faster than that!).

To be honest, a lot of readers won’t even notice your timeline. I’m really conscious of timelines in my books, but I think the only people other than me who notice them are my editors …
 

SnugglePuggle

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Thank you both! Now I have to decide on what proposal I want to do, lol! Decisions, decisions!
 

SAWeiner

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I proposed to my wife our first weekend together! We have been happily married 12 years. There is no set rule about when one can propose--in either fiction or real life! So, I also say go for it!
 

Roxxsmom

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Whether or not one year is too soon for a proposal really depends on the characters and on the particulars of their relationship and situation. I think engagements tend to last longer nowadays, on average, than they once did for various reasons, but I know of couples who got engaged less than a year after they started dating, or even less than a year after they met at all.

Not everyone is like my husband and myself who were together eight years before we finally tied the knot. I'd say romance novels tend to have a faster pace to courtships anyway, because it would probably be tedious to portray years and years of daily life of a couple slowly works towards that final level of commitment (unless there are a lot of time jumps in the story).
 

SnugglePuggle

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Thanks! Although there are a few time jumps, it's not that much (a few weeks to a few months at most). I've decided to go ahead with the year proposal, since it just fits the best right now. Who knows, maybe as I continue to revise/add in more thoughts, the story might change enough to where the proposal is after their anniversary, lol.
 

Calla Lily

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My husband proposed on our second date. :) 32nd anniversary a couple months ago.

In my mystery series (below) the MCs flirt in books 1 and 2, he proposes in book 3, they get married in a short story bridging the shift from one publisher to another. Total time gap about 4 months.
 
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Paul Lamb

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Is the proposal going to be a surprise? Is it unexpected by the receiving party? My girlfriend and I talked a lot about "when we're married . . . this and that" long before I made a formal proposal. Would your characters be in this kind of state, so the actual proposal wouldn't seem out of the blue?

Regardless, I don't think a year of courtship is too brief to result in a legit proposal. But it depends on the context of the story you're telling. (My daughter-in-law comes from a culture where long courtships are considered a sign of something wrong. The problem was she and my son were in medical school and wanted to wait until they were doctors before getting married. So they "formalized" their engagement six months before graduation to keep her family happy about it. I don't think anyone was fooled though.)
 

SnugglePuggle

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Is the proposal going to be a surprise? Is it unexpected by the receiving party? My girlfriend and I talked a lot about "when we're married . . . this and that" long before I made a formal proposal. Would your characters be in this kind of state, so the actual proposal wouldn't seem out of the blue?

Regardless, I don't think a year of courtship is too brief to result in a legit proposal. But it depends on the context of the story you're telling. (My daughter-in-law comes from a culture where long courtships are considered a sign of something wrong. The problem was she and my son were in medical school and wanted to wait until they were doctors before getting married. So they "formalized" their engagement six months before graduation to keep her family happy about it. I don't think anyone was fooled though.)

What I wrote last night was a surprise proposal. My couple were very much in love at the time, and as they got close to the proposal, my female ML did have thoughts of that she could see a future with her boyfriend, and hoped he would be her future happiness one day. I never thought to have them talk about marriage before though, so I wonder if I should...although they have had the "sex" talk, where they figured out they are both virgins currently in the second book.

That's all I have as of now.
 

Kallithrix

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My boyfriend proposed on our 1st anniversary, which was Valentine's day. It was totally predictable, cheesy and contrived. I said yes because we'd talked about it so long that I thought I'd better. We broke up two months later, lol!

I get the sense your characters' relationship might actually be going too slow if you're showing the year in almost real time. I hope there is scads of plot going on to keep the story moving instead of just a series of dates to prove they've got a solid relationship before the proposal...
 

SnugglePuggle

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My boyfriend proposed on our 1st anniversary, which was Valentine's day. It was totally predictable, cheesy and contrived. I said yes because we'd talked about it so long that I thought I'd better. We broke up two months later, lol!

I get the sense your characters' relationship might actually be going too slow if you're showing the year in almost real time. I hope there is scads of plot going on to keep the story moving instead of just a series of dates to prove they've got a solid relationship before the proposal...

Oh don't worry, there's a ton of plot, haha. She even almost dies in the end of the first book ;)
 

Meemossis

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Sounds alright to me. I think it would be nice for them to have a cooling-off period between whatever happened to them and the proposal. You don't want them proposing while still in the middle of the whirlwind.
 
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