When Characters Meet

Wow me, please. Yes! Thank you! 
I’m talking about introducing the heroine and hero in a story. If you know me at all or follow this blog regularly, then you know I rarely write about writing. There are too many good writing blogs out there with people who can explain things much better than I, so I leave it to them.

But a comment left on my blog last Friday, the four books I’ve read over the last week and two days, and digging into an old ms of mine (polishing rewriting) has me thinking about how characters in stories meet for the first time.

The comment was left by Beth Vogt and she talked about when she met her husband, in a Karate studio, and he put her on the ground–also she was engaged to someone else. Of course she hooked me right there. My heart actually fluttered. 

There are a billion ways to introduce a hero and heroine, the earlier the better they say, but sometimes it may come fifty pages in. I wouldn’t personally go much further than that and some will disagree with even fifty pages. But as a reader, I think if things are moving fast…say a murder…then finding the hero a few chapters in is okay and it doesn’t bother me.

But when they do, it better be with a bang.  I want sparks the minute they walk on scene together. 

I finished up Love on the Line by DeeAnne Gist. When her hero,who’s working undercover as a telephone repairman, meets the heroine, the switchboard operator, sparks fly. He is demanding and she’s a woman who doesn’t want to be told what to do or what to hand over (a key and a desk) to a man. The attraction is there, but the attitude is off the charts. And it sold me.  The other 2 books I read have wonderful introductions as well, but for sake of time I chose the last book I read of hers.

In Save the Date, (another book I just finished) by Jenny B. Jones, the hero was mean to the heroine in the past and she hasn’t forgotten, but she can’t deny that he seems different and it helps that he’s delicious to look at it! The witty, and super sarcastic, banter between the two right off the bat…sold me! 

When there’s ZERO tension between two characters–when they’re both nice to each other but otherwise unavailable, nothing moves in me. It’s boring. Sadly, I have read a few books where the beginning is much like this. Some I’ve pushed through simply because I hate not to finish a book. A couple picked up about halfway (but really, shouldn’t we start off that way between two characters?) and the others never did pick up and as bad as I hated it, I dropped the books. But I don’t want to talk about books that failed, and honestly, it’s not like I’ve read dozens that have. So…

What are some of your favorite “meeting” scenes in books? Share the scene or just the book and author if you’re in a hurry. What was it about their first encounter that hooked you?

7 thoughts on “When Characters Meet

  1. This might sound very conceited, but my current favorite intro comes from my own WiP. The guy is so sexy it's sinful to look at him and the girl doesn't want any complications.

    Makes me happy every time I have to read the scene for edits.


  2. I loved Save the Date!

    Kristan Higgins had a hilarious meet in her book…The NExt Best Thing. She thought the hero was a burglar at the door and hits him in the face with something. Then after she calls the police she realizes that he 1) knocked on the door and 2) said "hi" when she opened the door. Two things she didn't think robbers did. LOL!!!

  3. Ahhh, you mentioned two of my favorite authors – Jenny B Jones and Deeanne Gist. Read and loved both those books. I believe you also mentioned two of my favorite soon-to-be-published authors – Beth Vogt and YOU! 🙂 And yeah, I'm all about great meeting scenes…

    Not going to lie – I love how my hero and heroine meet in my first book. She's breaking into a house by climbing in a second-floor window, he's just walking out of the bathroom after a shower…shirtless…good times.

  4. I'm a big Debbie Macomber fan. The way she creates romantic tension/comedic scenes within her books has me from the very beginning.

    I love the way Deeanne Gist writes, too. The first book I ever read of hers was "Courting Trouble." Of course, I was hooked. Love her fiesty heroines and the way sparks fly with just a mere glance!

  5. Just to clarify, Jess:
    I was the one who was engaged at the time my husband tackled me … er, swept me off my feet in that karate studio.
    And yes,he had my attention.
    Our kids love hearing that story.
    Well, Melissa certainly got my attention with the whole "he was just getting out of the shower…" comment. Glad she clarified that her hero had time to get dressed before the heroine climbed in that window. LOL.
    Oh, now all sorts of meet and greets are running through my head …

  6. I gotta go in a different direction on this one. I'm more of a mystery buff than a romance person so I actually like it when the characters just slide in and I have to wonder who will be "the one". I want the tension but it doesn't have to be immediate. A slow build works fine for me.

  7. Marianne and Willoughby in Sense and Sensibility. It was ridiculously romantic!


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