If you’re wondering what the heck I’m meaning when I say meet cute, let me quote the incredible movie The Holiday:
“Say a man and a woman both need something to sleep in and both go to the same men’s pajama department. The man says to the salesman, “I just need bottoms,” and the woman says, “I just need a top.” They look at each other and that’s the ‘meet cute.”
The sweet, genius, old movie maker Arthur Abbot speaks these lines as he is walking with his new friend Iris (a British weddings reporter trying to get over her ex-boyfriend) to his front door. The two walk into his house and Iris gasps when she spots an Academy Award in his study.
The meet-cute is the moment your love interests meet.
And there have been some pretty hilarious meet-cutes in movies and books.
You all know how much I love Harry Potter…can we just dwell for a moment on the fact that Ron and Hermione’s first meeting involved her searching for a toad and telling Ron he had something on his nose… “just there”. Nothing like an awkward first interaction to create the story your readers swoon over.
Or how about the ever classic hate-to-love scenario? Belle and the Beast are the perfect example…it takes weeks for them to be open to understanding each other. When they finally do open up though, their love story becomes passionate and poignant. And we all sigh in happiness.
While the meet cute won’t always set up your characters’ relationships with clear intentions, their first interaction can provide the emotional connection your readers want to feel to your readers.
A strong meet cute can render a couple in your story highly shipped and beloved by your readers and fans. It’s the start of the journey and the moment the characters’ and your readers’ relationships spring from.
So how do you write a clever meet-cute of mega-shipping proportions?
With these tips of course. 🙂
You probably have some idea as to why your main pairing falls in love. What are those reasons? Are they similar passions, interests, or hobbies? Do they share a similar cause close to their heart? Do they have similar friends? I say this all the time: start with your ending and work backward. How your characters end the story will give you clues as to how they start.
Did they travel to the same place? Did their friends set them up? Did they hope the other wouldn’t show up to that party? Did they hope the other would show up to that party? Are they both shopping? Are they both lost? Are they both after the same thing?
Take five minutes and write down what you know about how the main couples in your life met. Think about your parents, your grandparents, your best friend and her husband, your brother and his wife, every couple you know. Their stories are perfect examples of memorable meet-cute that are memorable. Aim for a story like those.
Even if your characters go from hating each others’ guts to being totally in love, you still want an endearing meet cute. It’s never a good idea to start a romantic relationship with abuse, intentional pain, or unwavering hatred. In life and in writing.
And just because I’m a big fan of my own story, I thought I’d share my husband, Joe’s and my meet cute.
We met when he was a freshman in college and I was a sophomore. His best friend and my best friend are siblings (we have a great photo of them high fiving behind Joe and I kissing at our wedding). Joe’s best friend had read all seven Harry Potter books in a few weeks and wanted to watch the movies. He and his sister rallied their friends to watch them week after week. My obsession with Harry Potter ran pretty deep so I was excited to watch all the movies with my college friends. Joe and I sat next to each other during Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
But here’s the thing…we both fidget during movies. A LOT. So there was a lot of “sorry!” and “oops!” as we fidgeted and jabbed each other in the stomachs with our elbows.
Joe likes to say he didn’t mind at all getting jabbed in the stomach by a pretty girl.
Three and a half years later we got married. On Harry Potter’s birthday. Unintentionally.
We still fidget a lot during movies. That group of friends moved on from Harry Potter and we watched plenty of other movies. We’ve all stayed in touch since college.
And Harry Potter is still our favorite fandom. So now you know why I reference it ALL. THE. TIME.
You just don’t forget the things that had big impacts on the trajectory of your life.