Monday, March 3, 2014

How Cute is Your Meet Cute?

Well, Amy kicked off the weekend with some sizzle on Friday and though I can’t attempt to steam up the place, I do hope to chat about something I absolutely LOVE to read and write in my books! The “meet cute”. 
You know what I’m talking about!

The Holiday when Iris meets Miles and the whole ‘wind-blowing’ thing happens.
Definitely, Maybe and the “Toilet paper guy” scene
You’ve Got Mail  and the F-O-X chat.

It’s the hallmark of a rom com. The moment when the hero and heroine meet – and in romance, it sets the mood for your story.

It’s that certain spark.

The teaser for more to come.

The temptation to keep on reading or watching.

Movies are great for placing that particular moment into visual motion and that special moment doesn't just have to be in contemporary movies. There is a definite ‘moment’ in the Titanic when Jack sees Rose for the first time, or in The Last of the Mohicans when Cora meets Nathaniel.

You set up a scene in which the two characters meet in a humorous way or dramatic…and you show an ‘attraction’ or ‘repulsion’. Both work ;-) With the idea that the repulsion will turn into attraction over the course of the movie/story. Think Pride and Prejudice and You’ve Got Mail.

Over two years ago I shared what several authors had to say about the Meet Cute, but now I want to hear from YOU.

I’ll start off with one of mine- My VERY FAVORITE!! This is from my romantic comedy, Just the Way You Are, and my heroine is being picked up from the airport by the hero’s father. She’s never met the hero – in fact, she’s kind of running from ANY available men because of previous heartbreak.

Hope you enjoy.

"I guess we’re taking the Tube or maybe we can catch a taxi?"
“Actually, my son is to drive us. Wes is quite capable. He lives on the West End.” Mr. Harrison nodded toward the doorway. “And, here he comes now.”
Eisley followed Mr. Harrison’s gaze across the expanse of the meeting area, past the red bucket chairs and rows of people, and right into the eyes of a Greek god. Her vision zoomed in like a camera, blocking out everything else – sounds, noises, her phobia of Prince Charming look-alikes.
A taller, younger version of Mr. Harrison walked toward them, as if directly from a Google search for swoon-worthy.  His gray-blue gaze blazed through her igniting fireworks in her chest and heat in her cheeks. Unfamiliar sparks burned through years of avoidance and splintered directly into her pulse. The emotion flashed into recognition with a harsh light. She held in a whimper. Attraction?
Lord, really? Are you joking?
She tried to adjust her expression. The last thing she needed was to look like a three-year-old in a candy store. Too much eye-candy is bad for a wounded heart. Very bad. It might lead to thoughts of hope or worse, possibilities.
Step away from the candy and no one will get hurt.
She stumbled to a stand and bent to help Mr. Harrison from his chair.
“Eisley,” he whispered. “It would be wise not to mention the falling incident to Wes.”
Eisley jerked her gaze to his. “What?”
“Wes.” Mr. Harrison stepped forward and greeted his son. “This is Eisley Barrett. Our guest for the next few weeks.”
Wes’ gaze trailed over her, leaving a splash of warmth on her face and a knot in the pit of her stomach. Calm. Distant. Glacial. The perfect coolant for her overactive imagination.
The dutiful son offered his hand, somewhat reluctantly. “A pleasure, Ms. Barrett.”
His hot-fudge smooth voice swept all words right out of her head and melted any images of icecaps. The perfect combination – fascinating eyes, a British accent, and chocolate. Yep, he was Ghirardelli in human form. She gave her wayward thoughts a mental slap.
Pull yourself together, woman. No man is worth a Marshall-sequel.
She peeled her tongue off the roof of her mouth, took his hand, and pushed all the giddy, junior-high feelings down to her pinky toe. “It’s nice to meet you.”
A fake smile showed off his perfectly straight teeth. His taciturn expression proved he remained completely unimpressed with what he saw. Ah, the story of her life. Add a mile-high stack of comparisons to her twin brother and it was an instant flashback to high school. 
Your TURN!!!

How have you brought your hero and heroine together in a unique way? How does it set the scene for your novel?

Pepper Basham writes romance peppered with grace and humor. She’s a native of the Blue Ridge Mountains, a mom of five, a speech-language pathologist, and a lover of chocolate. She writes a variety of genres, but enjoys sprinkling her native culture of Appalachia in them all.  She currently resides in Johnson City, TN where she works as a university instructor, searches for unique hats to impress her friends, and plots new ways to annoy her wonderful friends on The Alley. She is represented by 2012 ACFW Agent of the Year, Nicole Resciniti.


Beth K. Vogt said...

I love meet-cutes -- and I've loved that phrase ever since I heard it in The Holiday.
And after reading your meet-cute example, I'm suddenly craving chocolate!

Pepper said...

You know Beth, this might be a nice time to share a meet-cute from Take Another Look ;-) Just a eensy teensy one??? :-)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Love Love Love this scene! This is the best! My cute meet isn't so cute. In my medieval, there is nothing cute about my couple's meeting. The hero saves the heroine from ruffians and he thinks she is a boy. much for cute!

rachel said...

1 – 2 of 2
Anonymous rachel said...
my current WIP pits two edwardian Bachelor Girl detectives against Toronto's 1910 crime scene-they often have to dodge the morality squad or risk arrest for vagrancy. so they dress as men:
one night,in disguise, Jemima Watts has a surprise encounter with a brash italian muckraking reporter:

I was in the process of moving some of the change from my hat to my breast pocket when I looked up to find someone crouched at my level. A man: black hair just barely contained by the circumference of a ratty old bowler and charcoal eyes piercing me straight on.
“Excuse me.”
My eyes widened. I wasn’t expecting anyone to talk to me. I growled something inaudible to test out a lower octave of voice and then added a quick “yes” hoping I sounded like a man. Instead my voice squeaked, and my hand flew involuntarily to my mouth.
“Have you been sitting here long?”
I nodded.
Shocked, I inched sideways on the step and gave him room.
“Isn’t this the way? The rich inside at a charity ball, dolling out 25.00 a ticket to aid the illustrious Tertius Montague while mostly tripping over you, poor fellow, right in front of their noses.”
I wanted to protest but was afraid my voice would give me away. Instead, I glared at him, hoping the flame flickering off the wick of the gaslight overhead would make my worried expression seem ominous, especially shrouded by the black grease Merinda had smeared over my cheeks and forehead.
“I want you to know that I advocate charity, yes; but I also want to have the voice for people like you! People who are just ordinary, under the noses of the upper crust who pass callously by…People who…” He examined me thoroughly, closely, “ People who…
The man clapped his hands on his knees…“Santo Cielo! You’re a woman!”
“You’re a woman!” he laughed.
“I’m not a woman!” I sounded very, very much like a woman.
“There are places for people like you. Safe places. Get you off the street. Do you want to get arrested?” He clapped his hands on his knees again then fidgeted in his coat pocket to retrieve a notebook and pencil stub. “Ray DeLuca of the Hogtown Herald.” He extended his free hand. The Hog, a biweekly rag filled with this fellow’s muckracking exposes on the city’s lack of social justice and reform. When I didn’t take his hand, he grabbed mine anyways and shook it hard. I studied his nails. They were coal black. As black as his eyes and hair. Ink, perhaps. “Trying to get the perspective of the street people. Especially in contrast to big parties like this.”
“Oh rats!”
“Do you find that you make more money with that disguise?”
“I am not a woman!”
“I don’t believe you!” He reached up and yanked off my hat, a lot of brown hair that had been piled on my head now fell around my shoulders.
“Your hair … it smells like lavender. You’re the oddest hobo I’ve ever met. If we could just get that grime off your face. Now, Miss…Miss…”
I buried my face in my hands. This was awful. “Jemima Watts.”

rachel said...

“Mi Scusi? You’re muttering.”
“Jemima Watts.” I enunciated.
“Ready for your interview, Miss Watts?”
“No!” I leapt to my feet and almost left my pants behind. I scurried away and hiked up the belt loops with my fingers, high over my bloomers. Ray DeLuca of the Hogtown Herald jumped up and followed. I was too mortified and angry to pay attention to the small crowd looking at us from the steps and the streets.
“Oh come now, Miss Watts. I need a story. And you need something to distract you from the fact that it is going to pour down rain any second and from the fact that you are the most embarrassingly poor excuse for a hobo I have ever seen.”
I looked to the sky. A heavy drop pierced my eyelash.
“Rats!” I was going to be soaked.
“You said that already.” There was a smile in his heavily accented voice.
“I’m going home!”
“Home? Then you’re a fraud. You’re not a street person at all! Miss Watts, I need my story! Why is a young woman dressed like a hobo and mounting the steps of the city’s most highbrow event. Are you a spy?” His black, black eyes twinkled.
“Ugh. Let me go”
I elbowed past him. What a disaster of a night this was turning out to be. Merinda would leave the soiree and probably have a cardiac arrest and melodramatically assume that my fate matched that of the poor woman Jasper had let us to earlier that day.
Finally, just as the sky broke, thunder crashed and water flooded in heavy, sheeted shards, my pants gave way. Mortified I watched as they puddled around my ankles. Leaving nothing but high-end lace and cotton (purchased with my employee discount at Montague’s) contrasting with the seedy grime of my coat. I gave a frustrated “argggh!” wiggled out of the hems and tossed them in the street. I tossed my hat on top of them and shook out my hair. This DeLuca fellow was watching me with interest. At the very least, reclaiming my identity, I asked him politely for a handkerchief, demurely accepted the one he held out and wiped the makeup off of my face. It became easier the harder it poured.
“Don’t ask!” I yelped. His eyes were a million questions. I bounded up the stairs to the covered pillars of the hospital entrance and stood, wet and shivering.
DeLuca followed and wriggled out of his overcoat. “Here.”
I wrapped it around me. Then, having gotten the frustration and humiliation out of my system, fell onto the side of the pillar and laughed.
And that’s where Merinda found me, breathless, perturbed at my new adornment, my nyloned legs sticking out from the ends of the overcoat, my makeup wiped away and my hair down around my face, while a strange, dark man looked on.
She took it in stride though: “ Jem! Jem! It’s a good thing we’re here! They’ve found another body.”

rachel said...

<i am the idiot who published under the wrong post and cannot find a way to delete because i am an idiot ;)

Ashley Clark said...

Oh, Eisley! How I love her! :)

Laurie Tomlinson said...

YES! I love Wes + Eisley! <3

In my current manuscript, my characters' meet-cute is pretty disastrous. They both assume way too much and talk about things they know way too little about.

But they make up for it :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Loved this, Pepper! I'm not going to share my meet-cute here, but I loved yours! :) Mine has to do with a Christmas tree and a true hero, although my heroine doesn't see it that way when she meets him. :)

Mary Vee Writer said...

Christmas trees meetings are always romantic. They're right up there with Valentines Day:)

Those bumbled moments when too much is said are usually quite humorous. It'd be fun to read that scene.

Always love reading about Wes and Eisley, Pepper!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Ahh, I love a good meet cute!!! And of course... I'm a fan of anything Wes and Eisley... And Pepper Basham ;)

Lol, Sherrinda!!! You HAVE to post that! And yours too Mary! I loved the confusion and biting banter in the opening scenes of Who Invited Hank.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Disastrous meet cute sounds fun, Laurie! Don't be shy ;)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Okay, since no one else is diving in with their scene I'll be brave..
“By the way, your hero is still here. Been waitin’ to see you.”
An unexpected flutter set Joselyn’s heart racing and Shelby cast a knowing smirk her way. Stupid heart-rate monitor!
“Oh, my. This is better than my programs. Got all the makin’s for one heck of a love story. Shall I send him in?” She raised a puckish eyebrow.
“Uhh, yeah. I g-guess that’d be okay.” Joselyn cringed. If she couldn’t play it cool with the nurse, how big of mess was she going to be for the hot, firefighter guy? Hmm . . . hot, firefighter. Gotta love the irony in that.
Shelby set off in her plotting, and Joselyn tried to calm her fraying nerves. Didn’t the nurse say that when her rescuer got to her all her clothes had burned off?
Great! So he’s already seen me naked!
And not like standing or attractively posed—not that it would have ever occurred that way anyhow—but slumped and unconscious in his arms. Oy vey!
And now, any moment her knight in shining armor would waltz in to discover her all crusty and scraggly in nothing but a saggy mint green hospital gown.
Not that she wanted him to ask her out on a date. She didn’t even know the guy. Yes, she was lonely but she wasn’t desperate. So it didn’t matter what she looked like, she assured herself. It didn’t even matter what he looked like. And even though Shelby’s high praise of his appearance chimed back through Joselyn’s ears, what intrigued her were the feelings her rescuer had stirred when he’d held her.
“Calm down, Joss. You just survived a fire. You can do this.”
A gentle knock grazed the door. Aiming to soothe the raspy sound of her newly acquired smoker’s lung, she cleared her throat. “Come in.” Sadly, a guttural cough spewed forth, turning her voice box into a trash compactor. Not a great start.
The doorway was set back and wasn’t well lit but what she saw was wide shoulders tapering to a strong and trim waist, and a value pack of thick muscles all wrapped around well over six feet of hard man.
“Hey, Joss.” The familiar nickname floating on the waves of his deep, resonant voice raised a rash of goose bumps on her skin.
Joselyn yanked the heart-rate monitor from her finger to silence the wild, runaway beeping, gulped down a burning breath, and waited for him to step out of the shadow.
Chapter 3
Finn Carson
“Uhh . . . are you all right?” Based on her rigid posture and frozen slack-jawed expression, he wasn’t who she’d been expecting. He drew near to the bed and bent over to make sure she was still breathing.
Okay, Finn. Be nice. She’s just been through a trauma.
She gave an exaggerated blink. “You’re the one who saw me nak—I mean, rescued me?”
He straightened, shoved his hands into his pockets and shrugged. “Guilty.”
A lock of silky black hair slipped from behind her ear, swaying despite her total lack of movement. A remarkable shade of red filled her creamy cheeks.
Obviously not the right thing to say. Try again. “Yeah. I was working last night and I . . . found you.” Finn’s fingers found the fine fluted edge of a spare poker chip in the pocket of the clothes Ryker had brought up. He’d lost the game but in light of the miraculous rescue, he supposed it might be his lucky chip.
Joselyn's eyes remained wide with disbelief. “You were the one I ran into, the one who held me?”
Held her? More like carried her down a flight of crumbling stairs. Was it really so hard to believe that he could be her hero?
“Uh, yeah, Joss. It was me. Are you feeling okay? Because I can call a nurse back in here. You seem a little confused.”
And maybe it wasn’t the first time. When she’d woken in the ambulance, Finn recalled her reaching out for him, holding his eyes in hers with a vulnerability that caught him off guard. Without uttering a word she’d communicated that she needed him. So he stayed. Her eyes had been a little bit glazed and wild but he was sure she’d recognized him. And why wouldn’t she? They saw each other often enough—one of the many down sides of having your worst nightmare be best friends with your sister.

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

(last lil bit...)
But now, seeing the shock paint over her flawless, fair skin like a fine dusting of snow, he knew she’d been delirious. And if nothing else, her unquestionable awareness of their mutual distain told Finn that while she may have lapsed for a moment in the ambulance, her memory hadn’t suffered any long term effects.
Pity. She looked a lot prettier without the scowl.

Angie Dicken said...

So I posted mine this morning and then deleted it because I wasn't sure if you wanted the scene! Will post it soon. Mine's on the side of repulsion ;)

Pepper said...

Your meet-cute is GREAT! Especially since you have a good section from your heroine's pov :-)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh my goodness! The awesomeness of these scenes!!!! I love them, gals! Such talent here!

Okay, Amy, you asked for it. My heroine, Joselyn :), has just been accosted by ruffians and is rescued by the hero, Malcom. She lays on the ground, unconscious.

Malcolm sat back on his heels and cursed his chivalrous self. What was he to do with this dirty, bruised pile of bones lying before him? By the saints, he had neither the time nor the energy to care for this scrawny boy.
The tournament at Ramslea would begin in little over a se’ennight, and he was not about to miss it on account of a malodorous halfling. He had yet to accumulate enough gold to buy land, but this tourney would prove profitable, if indeed he could manage to get himself there.
The pile of bones stirred and let out a pitiful groan.
Malcolm sighed and, after gathering water from his supply, poured some into the boy’s mouth. The lad vaulted upright, sputtering and choking through another whimper.
“Cease, please! What are you trying to do? Drown me?” The boy propped himself on one elbow and rubbed his face with hands, smearing dirt and blood across his pale cheeks. As he looked up at his rescuer, his eyes grew wide, and he gulped.
Malcolm had to smile. Boys stood in awe of him, men stood in fear of him, and women . . . well, women wanted to have him. Time spent in the lists honing his swordplay had made his shoulders broad and his arms well muscled. He had long since been unaffected by the reactions his visage wrought.
“Little man, you are indeed fortunate, as you would have been left to rot had I not come by when I did. Can you stand?”
Malcolm held out his hand, but when the boy continued to gape at him, he grabbed the front of his tunic and hauled him upright.
The boy gasped and pushed Malcolm’s hand away. “I can stand on my own without your aid.” The boy attempted to stand, but teetered and fell on his backside with a yelp.
Malcolm laughed and squatted beside the boy. He took the fragile chin between his thumb and forefinger and tilted the bruised and battered face to the side, wincing at the cut above the boy’s brow and the purple swelling across the high cheekbone. The lad would likely have his first battle scar.

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

I did it from the HERO's point of view in what I just posted, Pepper. :)

Pepper said...

Ohhhh, Rachel! WHAT FUN!! I knew from your description I was going to love this story. Mama Mia - BRING IT ON! And what a wonderful meeting. I like the hero immensely already :-)

Pepper said...

thanks, Ashley. Eisley is one of my all time favs. I'm not sure how I'm going to top her...though, I'm pretty sure her sister, Sophie, might come pretty close. Sophie reminds me of a adorable Floridian I know

Pepper said...

Misunderstandings are such a classic way to start, right Laurie!

Pepper said...

Christmas lights, snow, the glow of a fire...definitely a good place to start up some romance ;-)

Pepper said...

Thanks. Don't you just love some good humor

Pepper said...

I really need to read this story - but you're going to have to give me a few months.
Of course, you'll probably NEED a few months ;-)

Pepper said...

Oh Ang, so good! And even better because "I know what is going to happen" (said in a sing-songy voice) ROMANCE! Oh yes! Culture clashes are such fun

Pepper said...

Well Sherrinda, the hero's POV works too. I just LOVE Jos's reaction to all of Malcom's manliness.

Karen @ a house full of sunshine said...

Loving all these scenes! Such a treat getting to peek over everyone's shoulders and see what you've been writing! Sherrinda, I'm just loving that style of writing and time period - so well done!

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

Great scenes!! This was my first taste of yours Sherrinda! Love it!!! So fun! I sooo want to read more. :)

Amy Leigh Simpson said...

And Pep... That was from book 2. Which has been done for some time. And it wraps Sadie and Archer's story. So if you ever have time, it's fair game for a read through :)

Jeanne Takenaka said...

Pepper, um, actually, the Christmas tree doesn't make it home. And that's all I'm saying. :)

Anonymous said...

With these thoughts swirling in his head, the last thing he expected was to turn and find her asking if the seat next to him was taken.
The woman with hair spun from the sun cascading down her back and moon-lit skin. She seemed to be created of the lights in the universe. He thought he even caught a glimpse of distance galaxies behind her ice-blue eyes, when he nodded and grinned too large and toothy for the occasion, motioning for her to please sit. Please. She sat one seat away from him, but he moved his bulletin for her anyway. She laid her Bible open on the seat between them, but it seemed the space wasn’t there. He could feel the warm that radiated from her as if she sat pressed against him. He would suffocate in her sweetness had she sat closer.
She had come in late, after the opening praise and worship, after the congregational greeting. If only she’d come earlier, the excuse to talk to her would have been there. Instead, she turned off the ringer of her phone and carefully laid it in the shrinking space between them next to her Bible. He’d watched her many Sundays. Not intentionally, but it was hard not to stare into the sun. She always sat isolated, immersed in her thoughts. Flipping back and forth through the Bible, typing on her phone, scribbling in her bulletin. At least once each week, she would look at the pulpit, her lower eyelid would rise, obscuring part of her blue eyes, doubting the pastor’s teaching. Her eyes would hold like that, entranced, until she quickly returned to her typing or reading. Many times, as she rummaged through the Bible, her lips would curl into a crescent, a little smirk as if she and the beloved words she read shared a secret.
This Sunday, she didn’t smirk nor question nor lose herself in the pages before her. She sat motionless, poised, floating next to him. Each slight move she did make sent a wave of warmth and cinnamon and flowers blanketing him. At each pastoral point, Jason emphatically scratched notes into his bulletin, striving to pay attention. Striving to convince himself he was focused. Striving to ignore the moon, the sun-kissed locks and the scent of cinnamon, but his eyes betrayed him. He couldn’t keep them from drifting to her ankle. Her pale ankle embraced by star-like freckles. Freckles so fragile and faint, they called to him. Freckles that seemed to dance around her ankle as her foot slowly moved up and down. A soothing rhythm that occasionally caused her shoe to drift from her smooth round heel. Only for a moment, until it snuck into her dark black pump again. Yet if he waited, he knew he’d catch a glimpse of the hidden skin again, each time leaving him breathless.
He only looked directly into the sun once that morning. As the closing praise and worship began, before he could stop himself, he glanced over at her. For a moment he could feel her pulse cease. Quickly, Jason returned his attention to the music. This was something he didn’t want to pursue. Something he knew he should avoid. He closed his eyes and sang louder. Loosing himself in what mattered most. Lifting his arms, finding his focus, returning to what was important.
As the benediction came to a close, Jason had regained himself. He could be polite and speak to her and not falter. He sat down with what was intended as a casual sigh, but it came thudding out. His large frame falling into the chair clumsily, instead of naturally, giving the impression of adolescence and inexperience. Making him decades younger. Jason was relieved to find her ignore his fall from grace. He turned to Ryan and Amy and felt the temperature begin to drop as she walked away. The air becoming easier to breathe. He looked back only once, to see something fall from her Bible, but someone else had already picked it up. She had returned to her own world and hadn’t even noticed.

Pepper said...

Oh dear, Jeanne...twist on the Christmasy spirit.
Now I'm intrigued

Pepper said...

Beautiful imagery, Elizabeth! And very intense.
Love the freckles at the ankles - boy, his mind definitely wasn't on the preaching ;-)

Anonymous said...

Thanks Pepper! If you're curious to Lillith's POV of their meet-cute:

~sharyn said...

I'm having fun reading everyone's "meet cute"! Actually, I first heard that comment from Roger Ebert. He wasn't a fan. :-/

Anyway, in my novel, three friends - Catie, Jolene & Uli - have learned there will be a new GWP (Guy With Potential) at church on Sunday. They checked him out on Facebook, and now POV character, Uli, is trying to scope him out during the sermon:


I have a tough time paying attention to the service. It’s hard to listen to a sermon about the power of grace when you’re craning your neck for a glimpse of the new guy.

Especially when you’re trying to look without looking like you’re looking.

Jolene elbows me and whispers, “Can’t you wait another thirty minutes?”

“No.” I grin at her and glance behind me . . . right into the clear, silver-fox eyes of Brian Kemper. Wow, he actually has an up-to-date Facebook photo, except his dark hair is shorter and there’s some gray at the temples. His eyes are a little close together, and he has a rather large, hooked nose, but it works for him. Especially when he smiles, which he does, and I realize I’m staring. Then he nods at me. One of those polite, “what’s up” nods. Like we work in the same building and, every once in awhile, have to wait for the elevator together. What a disappointingly unromantic meeting! I can’t tell our kids that. “Our eyes met across a crowded room. . . . and he nodded at me.” Blah.

I want a do-over.

Though it’s too late now, I look away, feeling the heat crawl up my face. Well, that’s that. Then I make the mistake of glancing at Jolene. She has a serene, perfect, speak-to-me-Lord expression on her face. Good grief, the woman knows exactly where Brian Kemper is sitting. She’s probably known since we walked into the sanctuary.

Jolene: one; Uli: zero.