Monday, March 21, 2011

Meet Cute

Hollywood uses the term "meet cute" to describe the first time the hero and heroine come together.

Film critic Roger Ebert has said that the meet cute scene is one "in which somebody runs into somebody else, and then something falls, and the two people began to talk, and their eyes meet and they realize that they are attracted to one another."

This first meeting sets in motion the emotional plot of the story, the ahhh moment, the catch in the throat, the faster heartbeat. The more dramatic and romantic that meeting, the more believable it is for us that this represents a major turning point in the hero's and heroine's lives.

If done right, a virtual stage has already been set up before that crucial meeting—where the hero and the heroine are, what time it is, their names, and what they look like—so we can see them and watch the unfolding action. But it's not just the impactful circumstances of the meeting that make it memorable.

It's that all important micro-moment—within the first meeting—that sets up the promise of a truly great romance. That recognition of each other and the silent acknowledgment that something exciting is in the air between them, signifies for us the start of their process of falling irrevocably in love.

Very often the most romantically significant moments are when nothing is said at all and not much is done either. Full-on copulation is not necessary for the hero and heroine to recognize that "this is the one." The dramatic suspenseful moment could a shared look across a crowded room, an accidental brush of his hand against hers, an unexpected act of kindness on one of their parts.

Which is your favorite meet cute in a book? What about your own meet cute?