The Meet-Cute (Guest Post by AJ Norris)
by AJ Norris
March 10, 2016For those of you that are unfamiliar with the term meet-cute, it is defined by Dictionary.com as a situation or occasion when potential partners meet for the first time in a charming or amusing way. This is generally considered a Hollywood term, but also applies to romance fiction. I’ve been told that the “perfect” meet-cute should be memorable, happen early on in the story and display the couple’s attraction for one another and a potential conflict between them. A few examples of conflict are; a clash of values/personality, one person is in a relationship with another person, they instantly despise each other (but are still physically attracted) or in some cases, all of the above.
I try to take these elements into consideration when writing the first meeting between my hero and heroine, but in the end, I just write what my characters show me. A common theme for me tends to be awkwardness. The excerpt from Healing Hearts below is just that, awkward. The hero, Cayden, has had a crush on the heroine, Ana, since the beginning of the college semester. Ana on the other hand thinks he’s hot but believes him to be some meat-head without a brain. However, she’s much too polite to indicate her feelings. At the start of an Astronomy lecture, the students are given a project assignment and asked to pick partners. Cayden decides this is the perfect moment to formally meet Ana. Although he’s embarrassed after their first meeting, he departs feeling confident that he got her phone number.
AJ Norris is a short story writer and romance novelist. She began writing as a way to dim down the voices inside her head. She enjoys being able to get inside someone else’s head, even a fictional one, and see what they see. Watching how her characters deal with difficult situations or squirm with the uncomfortable ones make the hard work of writing all worth it. She is a movie buff, especially book adaptations, loves watching her son play baseball and communing with other writers. She lives with her family who are extremely tolerant (at least most of the time) of all her late nights behind the computer.
Her debut novel, Healing Hearts, was released in January 2016 and book one of The Dark Amulet Series, Her Black Wings, will be released July 12, 2016.
Ana Escher, the beautiful but often insecure college senior, is caught in the web of her intentionally cruel boyfriend, Danny Carmichael. He has the ability to exploit everything negative she has ever felt about herself; twisting it to his advantage. As his abuse worsens, Ana decides to dump him for the sake of her sanity. However, she soon learns he won’t let go.
When Ana meets Cayden O’Leary, a part-time cop, full-time college senior struggling with a dark past, she thinks he’s only a “meat-head idiot,” but quickly learns he’s a lot more than just a handsome face with a hot body.
Ana and Cayden become partners for a class project and begin a steamy romance, and a journey towards helping each other heal. But, as the intensity of their relationship increases so does Danny’s obsession with Ana. He begins a relentless pursuit in hopes of “winning” her back, but only Cayden knows just how dangerous Danny really is. Can Cayden and Ana’s love survive the weight of their pasts, or will it end with a bang?
Cayden needed a partner. He wondered if his mystery crush was still available. He stood up and turned around. She looked around but was unable to catch the attention of one of the other students to pair up with. It was now or never for Cayden to make a move.
He moved the couple of steps it took to reach her seat. “Do you have a partner?” He stared at her. Sure, he had no problems gawking at her. Smile, you idiot.
“What? I didn’t hear you.” She shook her head. Her eyes, they were so soulful. The compassion she exuded with one look made him wonder all the more about her. It seemed she understood how hard it was for him to talk to her.
He cleared his throat. He spoke up, “Um, do you have a partner, yet?” His voice cracked. Real smooth, genius.
“Ah, no I don’t.”
“Cool. I don’t either.” The “let’s be partners” was implied. “We should probably exchange numbers.”
“Yeah, that’s a good idea.” She handed him her paper about the assignment indicating that he write his number down, and he did the same with his.
More awkward silence.
He needed to say something here. “We could meet at the library on Friday.”
“Um, yeah, I don’t have class on Fridays, so during the day even, or, unless you have class.”
“I have no class, either.” Great, tell her she has no class, moron. He thought she smiled at his open-mouth-insert-foot moment. He blushed. “We can meet at the entrance to the library around one.”
How incredibly vague was he? “One,” he smiled recovering nicely, thank you very much. “Okay, see you Friday, or, um, the next class.”
No sense in waiting around making a bigger jerk of himself. As he turned, she said, “Oh, wait, we have to pick what we’re doing before we leave and sign the sheet up front.”
“What should we do?”
“I dunno. I guess I was thinking a constellation because we could tell how it got its name, what stars make it up.”
“Sounds good to me. Which one?” Cayden asked.
“I’m a Virgo,” Ana said, shrugging one of her shoulders.
“All right, fine by me.” He was showing about as much personality as a doorknob at that point.
“I’ll sign the sheet before I go, O’Leary,” she smiled up at him.
He walked toward the exit and turned around when he reached the door. Her face lit up as she filed the assignment in her folder. He’d written his name above his phone number.