Friday, January 28, 2011

When do they meet?

Someone asked:  In a Romance, how long can you wait before the hero and heroine meet?

All else being equal,  [(all else) = (=)]  in genre Romance, you put the protagonists together in Scene One or Scene Two.
This is because the story is about the relationship between the H&H
and you want to get the story started.

Now, sometimes you can introduce that relationship without putting the H&H onstage at the same time. Books might start with letters exchanged or one protagonist neckdeep in dealing with problems related to the other.  In such stories the H&H do not 'meet', but they do have a relationship,
and that relationship is put onstage.

Or, look at the question the other way round --

What is more important in those early chapters than the relationship story? If you decide not to put the H&H together . . . are you instead frontloading backstory, worldbuilding, or suspense subplot.  Consider whether those would be better fed in later as backdrop to your main line of story.

When traditional wisdom says, 'the H&H should meet in the first or second scene,' what C.W. is saying is, "Stop putzing about and Get The Story Started.'
That is good advice in any genre.


  1. Carol4:35 PM

    yet one thing I like most about your books is the non-relationship parts, especially this fictitious world of the British Service and the people in that. I could easily enjoy a book devoted to Annique's mother even though there won't be much romance in that when her husband is killed. but your writing makes her life seem so intriguing even after I know she suffers an unfortunate end.

  2. Hi Carol --

    I love minor characters. The H&H have so many constraints on what they can be, what they can do.

    A writer's much more free with the secondary characters and minor characters. I can make Lucille tragic. She can be obsessed. Not Romance material, but I get to write her as a minor character. Yeah!!

  3. Anonymous9:52 PM

    Is it just me or does the lady in the side picture have a copy of the Forbidden Rose?

  4. Hi Anon --

    Yes indeed. Those are my photoshopped Forbidden Rose Readers.

    They're . . . like . . . visuals.

  5. I was just reading some of the threads on your Facebook page, and I see that Adrian and Justine's story will be called "Black Hawk." Is that final? I think it's a fabulous title.

    Sometimes I return to your novels just to reread the Adrian bits. That didn't come out quite right. *g*

  6. Black Hawk is final. You like? I am so very glad.

    I will try to make the story a good one. I know folks are expecting a lot.

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  8. I like the title. Yes I'm with Annie, I love all the scenes in Forbidden Rose between Adrian and Doyle and the development of their relationship - priceless!

  9. I am lucky in that Berkley lets me write at 100K to 115K. This is VERY long. Your average category book may be half that.

    Because Berkley gives me this space, I can add all sorts of subplot and secondary character development. I love that.

    The downside is that I DO add the history background and the secondary stories. A lot of folks come to genre Romance for the relationship and they get impatient with this other stuff.

    I try not to wander too far from the central story. Sometimes, I think I do.

  10. I don't think you wander too far from the central story. I wonder if there could be a market for a "Writer's Cut" for a story? You do one version for the genre market, and another, with more good stuff, for the folks who want to read more about the people and what happens to them. Sort of like the Director's Cut versions of movies (not that all of them are better, but it's always interesting to see what the director had in mind).

  11. I think a lot of writers do have a 'director's cut' version in mind, and then trim their cloth to match the market necessities.

    Sometimes we see this in the form of 'out takes' that authors post once in a while.

    Mostly, though, good writers develop the self-discipline and common sense not to WRITE these excess bits in the first place.

    That's what I'm hoping for. *g*
    Some day. Someday . . .