Friday, March 02, 2007

Comin' Through the Rye


La Promenade a Longchamp
by Gabriel de Saint-Aubin,
oil on canvas, 18th.c.
Musee Hyacinth Rigaud, Perpignan.

They say it is usually a good idea to introduce your main protags/lovers early. Depending on your plot, arranging that meeting may exercise a writer's ingenuity. Seems there are four basic methods to choose from which satisfy the reader's credulity.

Inevitable/proximity meetings: The characters live in the same town, or the same apartment building, work for the same company, are members of the same club, dojo or team. Even if they have already "met" before the story opens, the same explanation applies.

Occupational meetings: Their meeting is the result of some facet of either of their jobs. He's in law enforcement, she's a victim. She runs an art gallery, he's a collector.

By arrangement: Friends or family connections. Weddings and such.

Accidental/coincidental meetings: She prangs his car in the parking lot. She catches his eye in a bar. Plays into the Stranger Across a Crowded Room theme.
I seem to be fond of the occupational arrangement so far.
How do your main characters meet?
And have you read of a meeting that made you roll your eyes and say: Oh, come on?

27 comments:

anna said...

All these scenarios if clumsy can make one's eyes roll. Same thing if skillful can be perfectly plausible. I too rather like the occupational meeting although
accidental really entices me.
oh poo it is March, what the hell do I know?!

Bernita said...

The 'accidental" meeting can be most enticig, I agree, Anna - if done right.
Think this ice storm is headed your way.

December Quinn said...

In my last book, he shows up at her door in a sinister (but hopefully rather amusing) fashion.

In my next...he's going to attempt to rob her.

In the published books? Uh...you know, it's just occurred to me that in three of them he rescues her in some fashion. In one he leaps out of a painting in her bedroom, and in the latest co-written one he catches her...ah... alone with herself...in the woods.

That rescuing thing is a bit embarrassing. They were written far apart, but yes, they all start that way. (It's not the rescue that's embarrassing, because I love that sh*t. But using it three times is a bit much for me.)

MissWrite said...

Agreed with Anna. Meetings in a book are the same as real life... can happen anywhere, anytime, and your examples of different senarios are pretty accurate, but it's HOW it's portrayed that makes the difference between a smile and a pojectile aimed at a wall.

Ric said...

His wife had just left him and he sat in the bar playing the wronged party drinking copious amounts of scotch. She walked up and said, "You look like you need someone to talk to."

My wife of 30 years has a different version of this, but this is the one I remember.

Oh, wait, you wanted from novels?

spyscribbler said...

When I read romance, I already expect a meeting of some sort. It's going to happen whether I like it or not, so may as well get it done and over with.

I think it's done well, as you say. If they are already characters in the main storyline.

I guess that means I prefer my romance to be a sub-plot, rather than the main plot...

Sam said...

Let's see - I wrote this once and google ate my post.

One of my heros kidnaps the heroine because he thinks she's Persephone being kidnapped by Hades (he thinks he's doing her a huge favor, in reality he's trapping her in his own time.)

One of my heroines jumps out of a cake at a stag party and lands on the hero.

One of my heroines goes to interview a professional soccer player and sparks fly.

One of my heros falls in love with a pedantic android who's supposed to be teaching him all about life in the future, where he's woken up after being frozen.

One of my heroines has been in love with the boy next door forever.

One of my heroines is saved from being burned at the stake by the hero.

I better stop here before everyone starts rolling their eyes, lol.

Kate Thornton said...

I was in the public library at lunchtime, just wandering around.

He was hanging an art exhibit. I noticed his hands, so beautiful, deep brown with long fingers and man-sized knuckle joints.

I asked him out and he said no.

I came back every day for a week, and he declined every invitation.

So I got a job at the library and met him in the staff room for lunch. The rest is history - nearly 30 years of it.

Ah, romance! Thanks, Bernita, for bringing that improbable - but true - meeting back into my mind. Think I'll take him out to dinner tonight. Our anniversary is coming up...

Bonnie Calhoun said...

My two main protags were lovers years ago *gasp* ...LOL, as long as it's off screen I can get away with it!

If i have had some that I expressed incredulity about, the books weren't memorable enough for me to remember!

raine said...

Lessee...e-pubbed work?

I think I've got two occupationals, one accidental, and one...um...gee, I'm not sure where it'd fit in...kismet? As in, they were destined to meet at a certain time and place?

As for an eye-rolling meeting--yes.
No, I won't describe it or name the book, but I remember saying, "Oh, you're kidding me."
;-)

Bernita said...

Sorry, I haven't responded. Our power had been out. We may lose it again.
Do not be embarassed, December.
L'inconnu, the mysterious stranger, is major romance!

One could argue, Tami, that fiction is supposed to be more logical than real life.
But damn, I met my husband in a cab.

Aw, Ric. A chick magnent even when half-cut!

Bernita said...

Erm, I think it does, Natasha!

Sam, I really like the cake scenario!

Kate, I can see why. A man's hands are very, very important.

Just as long as you don't write any instant replay memories, eh, Bonnie?

Bernita said...

Pubbed is pubbed, Raine.
Kismet - wonder if "by arrangement" could be stretched to include "fate?"
Don't think so. Make that another category.

anna said...

Bernita you write a man's hands are very important and I agree.
A huge turnon for the ladies.
Do women's hands do the same?
I think not; what a shame.
a slim hand holding the gun
fingers clad in diamonds
wringing a thick neck
is really quite enticing
hee hee
and Kate! how romantic

Gabriele C. said...

Arranged marriage, failed seduction (she would have gone very far to free her brother), a guest meeting the daughter of the house. But it's all subplots, I don't have a major romance in any of my NiPs.

Jeff said...

I'm partial to the accidental/coincidental meetings.

On another topic, I thought you might want to know that Lester has already called me three times (collect) this morning from the feed store talking about the nice comment you left about him on my blog.
Part of the conversation went as follows.

Lester: "At thar Bernita shore is a perty woman. She hitched?"

Me: Yes, Lester, she's happily married."

Lester: "Dadgummit"

Bernita said...

Yes, Anna. I have had a character think he'd like to have her hands all over him, but usually males seem to be more interested in where they are going to put their hands than admiring female ones.

Doesn't matter, Gabriele, sub-plot or not. Those are fitting encounters.

Oh, Jeff!
Lester is sweet.
He's the sort who makes a true friend.
Those bits about him are a delightful read.

Jaye Wells said...

In my current project isn't a romance so there's two love interests. One guy is following her and the other she is sent to kill.

Bernita said...

"sent to kill" - I suppose that might fall under "occupational," Jaye...

I am sorry for the really, really stupid typos I made today - twitchy, expecting the screen to go blank any second.

MissWrite said...

You know, that's true Bernita, about the fiction is 'supposed' to be more logical than life, but that's something I really don't like... I want to read something that feels 'real'. In real life all kinds of weird stuff happens (stranger than fiction, don't you know) but I want it to read well and be believable too.

Dave said...

Read Iain Pears An Instance at the Fingerpost to see just how coincedental meetings can be spun into vast conspiracies. It's a literary read and takes its time getting to all sorts of plots and twists.

Bernita said...

I wonder if some people would believe how fantastic reality can be, Tami.

"Coincidence" always makes me think of "The Bridge at San Luis Rey," Dave.

Anonymous said...

Hi- I'm new this sight, but have to say I love your use of the pictures.

Donnetta Lee said...

Usually proximity. I am speaking of nothing that is on my blog. These are things that are onging or not yet birthed. But, I think usually proximity. Does being reincarnated into an unknowing family count as proximity? Donnetta

writtenwyrdd said...

Let's see... In the current dark fantasy, the dark fairy and my protag meet because he's hunting for a human who meets certain parameters, and she is it.

In my vampire novel, she's one of them (or soon will be); again, meeting certain parameters that the vampires hunt for.

In my alien invasion half finished project, it is via coincidence.

In the five-book fantasy arc, the main characters all meet "in the past" but the new characters get swept up in the quest to Save The World From Ultimate Evil due to the vagaries of Fate. (How overused is that one, huh?)

Scott from Oregon said...

I met my last girlfriend because she was going door to door looking for the owner of a lost puppy...

I opened the door and there was this beautiful, long-curly-auburn-haired single beauty holding a Golden Retriever puppy, holding it out and asking me, "Is this yours?"

Bernita said...

A delightful coincidental meeting, Scott.