Meeting of the love intrests

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quianaa2001

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Hey everyone! :D
In the romance I'm writing the two main characters don't meet until the second chapter. I was thinking about posting in SYW eventually but was worried that the two not meeting right away would be confusing and off putting?
The set up is that my female MC is a comic book fan who is excited to go to a comic convention and meet one of her favorite writers. The first chapter is the set up with her making costumes and setting up arrangements. As a big comic con goer I kinda wanted to introduce people to the fun mania that convention preparation is lol. In the second chapter she does meet the writer who is the love interest.
I guess I was wondering is that too late for them to meet? When you write or read when do you like for characters to meet?
Thanks everyone!
 

Hbooks

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I like them to meet as soon as possible, but chapter two is fine with me. I like knowing about the characters before they meet. Comic con sounds cute :)
 

quianaa2001

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Thanks! :)
I'm trying to capture the essence of being the awkward nerdy black girl who finds her tribe at comic conventions. Comic-cons were the first place I felt accepted as the outsider nerdy black chick who loved anime and making costumes lol.
 

Marissa D

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I'm good with waiting till chapter two for them to meet, so long as what's going on in chapter one is more than just world-building--things like her goals/motivations can be fed in during that chapter--and of course her excitement at getting a chance to see her favorite writer. She could even fantasize about how the meeting will happen--and then it totally doesn't happen that way. Good way to set up a meet-cute. And if you're writing it in dual POV, then it's totally OK (in my opinion) if they don't meet right away, so long as you're introducing both characters in that first chapter.

Sounds like great, unusual setting--good luck!!
 

Elenitsa

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Why being offputting? People meet when the plot makes it appropriate for them to meet. In my novels published until now (3, as seen in the signature below) the main character meets:

1) in "The Wanderers of the Sea"- her main love interest in Chapter 5, and the one she remains with for life in Chapter 7 (there were, before, a first crush which would never be anything else than a distant memory, and a potential lover who turned to be a villain)

2) In "Lives in Turmoil" - her first crush in chapter 2, and the one she will marry in Chapter 7.

3) In "Rightness' friends", in chapter 3 or 4 (OK, she learns his name in chapter 3, she actually gets introduced to him in chapter 4... and they fall in love later, in chapter 7 I think)
 

quianaa2001

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I've been reading a lot of romance and the ones I've been reading lately the two MC's meet in chapter one or in some cases in the first 5 pages lol. I didn't know if that was a hard and fast rule.
Thank you Elenitsa for your examples! I really appreciate it!
 

CEtchison

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Certain publishers, or should I say certain editors at specific publishing houses might have hard and fast rules about when the meet cute happens, but if it's chapter two, I think you're totally fine.
 

morngnstar

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It could be fine, but I have some concerns. I wonder if there will be enough conflict in the first chapter. I understand you're doing important character building, but it helps to have something at stake to keep the pages turning. That's why the hero and heroine usually meet early: getting them together is the main conflict.

That said, I think often there's a secondary conflict connected to their relationship. For example in your case maybe there's something unresolved about her fandom, which she will end up working out by interacting with the MMC. If you introduce that in chapter one, you don't have to introduce the MMC just yet.

Or you might be able to carry it off by just having some short-term problem for chapter one: a last-minute hiccup with her costume e.g. I don't prefer that because it's kind of ad hoc, but at least it will maintain tension.
 

Hopefully WLCT

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My two don't meet til the 3rd chapter. A little background on both was warranted,and very necessary.
 

quianaa2001

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Thanks again everyone for the feedback!
Yes besides world building there is conflict and such in the first chapter. Again it may all change as it's only a first draft :D
 

alwayshungry

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No, I personally would not consider that too late for the characters to meet, as long as the preceding information is utilized in a way that gives the reader more "meat" on the character(s): who is this person, do we like this person, their likes/interests, their social circle... basically their life set-up before they meet their 'destined one.' If done craftily, I even think that waiting to introduce the characters can strengthen your book! I've been in the mood for romance fast-reads lately, and have devoured story after story these past couple of weeks (lol) and I really found myself irked by a few particular reads that did not expand on the characters beyond what they felt for the other person. I found myself detached and really not caring about the stories at all. So, yeah, I feel like building up the characters is huge! :)
 

Lil

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People sometimes talk as if there are hard and fast rules about practically everything. There is really only one rule: Does it work?
 

Pterofan

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Yay! Another comic book fan! *waves* I'm working on a story right now (MM romance) in which one of the men is a comic book artist. He uses his boyfriend as the model for a superhero, without telling the guy. The climax takes place at a comic shop on Free Comic Book Day.

In that story, both heroes are introduced separately to the reader in Chapter 1. They don't meet face-to-face until Chapter 2. In a menage story I once wrote, the woman met one of the men in Chapter 1 (I think by page 2) but didn't meet the other until around Chapter 3 or 4. However, other characters had talked about him, so she (and the readers) "met" him before he showed up on the page.

I'm currently reading a romance where the two lovers were involved as teenagers but haven't seen each other for decades. We're up to Chapter 7 and they haven't reunited yet. The book's over 300 pages long, so the author can take her time building her characters. By the time they finally meet up again, we'll know who they are, where their heads are at, and if a renewal of their romance stands a chance.

The lesson is, unless you're writing category romance or an editor/publisher demands a quick meet, the story should decide when the characters meet each other. In shorter stories, it's probably better if they meet early so there's more time to develop the relationship. If you're writing a 1000-page epic, you have more room to play with. If she doesn't meet the guy until the next-to-last page, it's probably women's fiction rather than romance.
 

katfireblade

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I've read romances where the couple doesn't meet right away, or meets so briefly it barely warrants note. It's not used as much these days, but it can be truly fun.

Building up to the first meeting can be a way to play with the reader, and I've seen authors build that tension well, and in fun ways. The characters may not know they're about to stumble into the love of their lives, but the readers certainly do, as well as knowing where the story will ultimately go (HEAs for all!). Romances have always been less about unexpected plot devices and more about characters and their journey. So teasing the reader with a delayed meeting can be highly effective, making that meeting mean more because they're already so invested.

I'd say write it the way you want to and see where it goes. And don't be afraid to play with your audience as much as the characters themselves. Like you said, you can always change things later if it doesn't work.

I will say I love the comic convention idea, but you might want to spread out any fandom references you make across a lot of different genres and decades, or even add in a few that don't exist, and maybe don't be too specific about movies or books or comics or what-have-you that just came out. This would be mostly to keep your book from feeling too dated a decade or so down the road. If you stick to the things that are most popular right this second (or even that you love the best right now), as well as a lot of "time stamps" (recent scandals, hot new fads, recent releases, etc.), your book will feel like a time capsule in just a handful of years.
 

DanielSTJ

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Hey quianaa!

I think this is fine. However, if you want an added touch, you could also add an excerpt from the other love interests' P.O.V to make it more rounded-- so that we have both perspectives before their joined meeting!

Just my two cents. I think your idea sounds quite lovely. :)
 

WGough

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Thanks for starting this thread. Good news here for my WIP. My characters don't meet on page until Chapter 3.
 

DarbyC

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Love this thread! My current WIP has the same issue: the two main characters don't meet until Ch 2.
 

quianaa2001

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Yay! Another comic book fan! *waves* I'm working on a story right now (MM romance) in which one of the men is a comic book artist. He uses his boyfriend as the model for a superhero, without telling the guy. The climax takes place at a comic shop on Free Comic Book Day.

OMG THIS IDEA IS SO DAMN CUTE MY HEART BURST! Do you need a beta or ever want someone to swap with? lol. You're idea made we squee!
 

quianaa2001

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Thanks everyone for the feedback! In my head the idea started off as something kinda different and once I started writing to romance exploded lol. Again I'm glad for all the feedback and it's good to hear I'm not the only one writing a sort of slow burn
 

writerfrenzy

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I think, if romance if your only genre, then this might be a problem. Personally, I don't have a problem with this and I know many romance readers probably don't either, the problem is with publishing it. I read somewhere that there are agents/publishers out there who like the love interest to be introduced in the first two pages! Yikes!

If you have another genre -- sci-fi, fantasy, mystery, etc -- then it should definitely be fine though.
 

Laer Carroll

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Having the two physically meet late is fine if done right. However, It's a good idea to have them metaphorically meet somehow. For instance, your MC phantasizes about her love interest in Ch 1. Or she reads about him or sees him in a YouTube video or in a fan magazine. That way he's introduced to your readers, helping to build anticipation of when the two physically meet.
 
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Evelyn_Alexie

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My editor is adamant that the hero and heroine MUST meet in the first chapter. Preferably early in the chapter. If this is intended for a particular publisher, you might want to check to see if they have any guidelines on this.

If you're publishing this on your own, then you're free! Except... I would repeat what others have said, you really want there to be some tension, conflict, something that causes the reader to keep turning the page until the two meet.
 

Laer Carroll

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...you really want there to be some tension, conflict, something that causes the reader to keep turning the page until the two meet.

That tension/conflict need not be huge. A hint of it is sufficient. This, at least, is the case in the novel I'm reading now from one of the most successful authors in Romance.

What is mostly keeping me reading is enjoying the locale where it's set and the people I'm meeting along the way. That won't keep me reading forever; I'm not a tourist in this world. But for the first chapter or two it is enough. This kind of romance isn't an action-packed fast-forward kind. It's more like a cozy mystery in that ambience and characters are a big part of the novels' appeal.

Similarly, when the two characters do meet the sparks, both positive and negative, don't immediately fly. Some stories start with a big bang near the front. In this case the conflicts are more of a slow burn, though not any less powerful at their greatest peaks.
 

girlwhowrites

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I think it depends on what is happening in the first chapter. If it is a good read and entertaining even before the two meet, then I think it is fine for them to meet a little later. If you are just filling up the first chapter with fluff or backstory that won't hold my attention, I get bored and skip ahead.
 

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