In this post, we explore the meet-cute when writing a romance. We ask what it is and why it’s important, and why the meet has to be cute.
All romances have three basic ingredients: they meet, they fall in love, they marry. How you accomplish that is what may set you apart from the hundreds of thousands of other romance authors.
One of the most important moments in a romance novel is ‘the meet-cute’.
But What Is The Meet-Cute, Exactly?
In the movie, The Holiday, Arthur an old and famous screenwriter, played by Eli Wallach, meets Iris (Kate Winslet). She has come to his aid as he’s lost and wandering around the neighbourhood. When she has seen him safely to his house he says their meeting was ‘some meet-cute’. She asks what he means, and he says, “It’s how two characters meet in a movie. Say a man and a woman both need something to sleep in, and they both go to the same men’s pyjama department. And the man says to the salesman, ‘I just need bottoms.’ The woman says, ‘I just need a top.’ They look at each other, and that’s the meet-cute.”
Does It Matter When The Two Characters Meet?
In its most basic terms, a meet-cute is when hero meets heroine for the first time and the story is then how these two end up together at the end of the book…or in the middle and what happens after that.
Why Is The Meet-Cute Important?
The meet-cute can and should set the tone of the book. It should also inform the plot, and foreshadow, if possible, the ending. It reveals character and plot. Without the meet-cute there is no story. Well, not a romance story.
Does The ‘Meet’ Have To Be ‘Cute’?
No. But do try and make it original. Here are 4 meet-cutes from famous books and films. As you can see they are diverse.
- Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
Elizabeth overhears Mr Darcy insult her. She meets him face-to-face a few moments later.
- Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
Heathcliff and Catherine meet as children when her father rescues Heathcliff off the streets and gives him a home on the farm.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Brontë
Jane meets Rochester on a muddy lane in the dark when his horse slips and he ends up being thrown off the horse and spraining his ankle. He is fairly rude to her and leaves her there in the dark.
- You’ve Got Mail – the movie
This has a meet-cute reminiscent of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. Kathleen and Joe are social media friends. They don’t know each other’s real names or what they look like. At their physical meet-cute, Joe realises they are business rivals but doesn’t reveal that to Kathleen.
It’s seldom that characters in a movie or a book don’t meet at the beginning, if at all during the book. But it can happen. 84 Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff springs to mind. In The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows the main characters, romantically speaking, meet only long after the book has started. In both these examples, the meet-cutes at the beginning of the books are done through letters.
The Last Word
The biggest challenge when writing a book of any genre is to be original.
Suggested Posts On Romance Writing:
- A Quick Start Guide To Writing Romance
- All About The Romance Writing Genre
- The Almost Moment Is The Secret To Successful Romance Writing
- 5 Ways To Write A Modern Romance With A Classic Twist
- Why I Write Romance
- 20 Things To Remember When Writing Category Romance
- The Romantic Heroine
- The Romantic Hero
- The 4 Pillars Of Romance
by Elaine Dodge. Elaine is the author of The Harcourts of Canada series. Elaine trained as a graphic designer, then worked in design, advertising, and broadcast television. She now creates content, mostly in written form, for clients across the globe, but would much rather be drafting her books and short stories.
More Posts From Elaine
- 5 Things To Remember When Outlining Your Romance Novel
- 5 Ways To Get You Through The Middle Of Your Romance Novel
- 5 Ways To End Your Romance Novel
- 5 Ways To Begin Your Romance Novel
- How Romance Writing Makes You A Better Writer
- Why Do We Love Mr Darcy So?