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Writing the Romance Novel – How Lovers Meet
by Linda Butler

The initial meeting between the hero and the heroine in a romance novel sets the tone and introduces the conflict that will arise between them.  The meeting is a significant aspect of plot development and must be strongly written to make the reader feel a connection with the heroine.

The meeting usually takes place in the first or second chapter, usually with an action scene which introduces the external conflict.  The reader should feel the chemistry between the hero and the heroine at the beginning, even if they hate each other.  There must be internal and external conflict as the novel progresses, but the reader expect a romance to develop and must feel the spark of attraction between the man and the woman at the outset.   The initial meeting should involve emotion, sensuality and passion and should be a hook to set the novel into motion and to hold the reader’s attention.

Generally, men and women meet in a limited number of situations and it is the twists that writers give to these meetings that make them original.

Romantic comedies often use the “cute meet” where the hero and heroine meet in a humorous setting.  The situation may be exaggerated but the reader is drawn into the story by the humor.

Many couples meet in everyday circumstances, such as on the job, shopping, or catching a bus.  An “everyday meet” is common, but needs a twist to make the circumstances unusual.

Sometimes there is a spark between the hero and the heroine when they first see each other, and one or both, make an effort to meet the other.  “Love at first sight meet” can make an unusual opening, especially if the parties are from different social classes or cultures.

A “spicy meet” occurs if one, or both, of the parties is naked, or semi-dressed, in an unusual circumstance.  The writer has the reader’s attention and she will wonder how the parties will resolve the situation.

The hero and heroine may be competitors in sports or business, lawyers in a courtroom or an environmentalist and a land developer.  If they are on opposing sides, it is a “conflict meet”, and usually involves a strong opening with action and drama.  War, the ultimate conflict, can create a strong background for any meet.

If the hero and the heroine have met before, their first meeting in the novel is a “reunion meet”.  Perhaps they are old lovers, divorced spouses or acquaintances from school or college.  They may not even remember or recognize each other, but they have a history and the writer can draw on their back story.

A “historical meet” takes into consideration the time period and the society in which the novel is set.  Geography, religion and customs are important factors to consider.

Writers of romance novels which involve supernatural beings have the freedom to create circumstances for meetings that differ from the usual ways humans meet.

In the first two chapters of a romance novel, the connection between the hero and the heroine must be established, even if other action is taking place. Since their meeting is one of the most important scenes in a romance novel, it must be unique and strong enough to grab the reader’s attention.  The reader must also have some indication of the conflict that will develop between the parties in order to empathize with the heroine and be hooked into wanting to know the outcome of the story.

About the Author:  Linda C. Butler is a freelance writer.




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