Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The "Meet Cute" aka Boy Meets Girl--My Top Five YA Fiction Moments


Jill Williamson is a chocolate loving, daydreaming, creator of kingdoms. She writes weird books in lots of weird genres like fantasy (Blood of Kings and Kinsman Chronicles), science fiction (Replication), and dystopian (The Safe Lands trilogy). She had a podcast/vlog at www.StoryworldFirst.com. You can also find Jill on InstagramFacebookTwitterPinterest, or on her author website.

The meet cute. This is a Hollywood term for when a future romantic couple meets for the first time. It can apply to friendships as well, but this is a must-have moment in the romantic comedy genre and in any romance story. My new WIP has a romance thread, so I've spent the last few days working hard on that meet cute moment, trying to get it just right.

The options are pretty much endless for how you can engineer this first encounter. Some common tropes involve:

-A mistaken identity like in the movie Ever After when Danielle thinks the prince is a horse thief and pelts him with apples and a tongue lashing.

-Incorrect assumptions of character like with Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice.

-A bad first impression like in Bringing Up Baby when Katherine Hepburn's character continually annoys and eventually begins to stalk Carey Grant's character until he can't help but love her. Or how Buddy annoys Jovie in Elf. She says, "Go away," and he just keeps talking.

-Making the attraction obvious like in My Big Fat Greek Wedding where Toula can't stop staring at Ian. This scene always makes me laugh, so I thought I'd share it with you.



Here are my top five meet cute scenes from the YA books on my shelves:

5. Prince Haegan and Thiel from Ronie Kendig's Embers. After crippled Haegan's sister makes a pact to switch places with him, he flees the castle with working legs. As guards are chasing him through tunnels beneath the castle, he collides with someone. This person helps him up and propels him along with a small group of others, all running from the guards chasing Haegan. This person turns out to be Thiel, the leader of a ragtag group of commoners and a girl and . . . so much more. (But I can't say. Because spoilers.)

4. Princess Alia and Prince Wron from The Piano Girl by Sherri Schoenborn Murray. Princess Alia has been trying to reach the kingdom of her betrothed, but on her journey, she catches the swamp pox, which makes her face hideous. To make matters worse, she gets put into prison for hunting on the king's land. While she is in the dungeon, Prince Wron comes down to question her about her about another prisoner. They have their first conversation, and Prince Wron has no idea that he is speaking to his betrothed.

3. Marty and Abby from Replication. This is my book, but I can't help it. I've always loved this scene. Marty, a clone, has escaped from Jason Farms in the back of one of the doctor's pick-up trucks. This story takes place in Alaska in winter, and it's very cold outside. Marty sneaks into the house and into one of the rooms upstairs. Abby's room. She later comes in and finds him, and starts yelling at him. She thinks he is JD, a boy from her high school, and thinks that JD is playing a joke on her. Until JD calls her on her cell. Marty is not JD, but they do look identical.





2. Eleanor and Park from the book of the same name. Eleanor meets Park when she can't find a seat on school bus and everyone is waiting for her to sit down. The other students are so mean! And Park finally scoots in and tells her to sit with him. At the time, he thinks she's a total loser, but it's an "Awww" moment for Park as his compassion overrides his cool.

1. Katie Parker and Charlie Benson from In Between by Jenny B. Jones. They don't meet until the end of book one (their romance carries through the trilogy), but this is just about the best meet cute ever. Katie has been dragged along on another one of Mad Maxine's crazy adventures. (Mad Maxine is Katie's foster grandmother.) This time, Maxine has Katie up a tree, looking through the window of Trudy Marple's house, trying to find out if her boyfriend Sam is cheating with Trudy. Katie tells her Maxine that she sees Sam dancing . . . with a guy. Before the situation is fully understood, the tree branch Katie is perched on cracks, and she falls into the swimming pool. Maxine vanishes. Sam comes out and rescues Katie, drags her inside, where she finds out that Sam was here getting a dancing lesson from Trudy's grandson Charlie, a boy who attends Katie's high school. Ahh... So fun.

How about you? Do you have a favorite meet cute from a book or a movie? And if you're not into romance stories, how about a best friends meet cute, like how Harry and Ron met on the train or how Achan and Shung met while competing against each other in a short sword and shield match at tournament? Share your favorite in the comments. 

22 comments:

  1. I love writing this kind of scene! In my fantasy series, my main couple meets (at the moment) while she's a prisoner of the enemy and he offers to help her. She ends up smacking him in the face and they get in a pretty good fight before realizing they need each other. XD

    Then in my dystopia the female MC is being bullied by one of the worst kids at school and the male MC, who's small and scrappy but thinks he's a lot more powerful than he actually is, stands up for her.

    I've always loved the "meet cute" moments in the Lunar Chronicles (they're all different, but all so funny), and in one of my favorite series, Tales of Goldstone Wood, my favorite couple meet when they're both about nine years old and it's adorable. XD

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    1. The meeting in your fantasy one sounds like so much fun to read! Or to write for that matter. So does the dystopian one. . . I love it when small guys stand up for people against (comparative) giants. It's like a banty going up against a turkey.

      https://ofdreamsandswords.wordpress.com

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  2. I'm going to be bad and reference my own book.
    My character, Olive, is in a bad mood and she's taking a walk, not caring where she's going. When she ends up in an absurdly well-to-do area, she turns and heads back home, but not before something slimy bumps against her leg. She spins around and comes face-to-snout with her greatest fear.
    A dog.
    She screams and Brander, the dog's owner, comes running, apologizing and explaining that the dog is supposed to be a watchdog but, so far, he's a total wimp. Olive is so shaken up (and miserable because of other circumstances) that she snaps at him and makes a fool out of herself before running back home.

    Great post as always, Jill!

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  3. Okay, this is a Boy Meets Boy, but Simon and Blue from "Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda". These lads are email pen pals whose real identities are unknown to each other, allowing them to dicsuss their feelings about coming out with someone who is 'safe'.

    Towards the end they finally agree to meet in person, and when they do, and Blue's identity is revealed...it's just the Best Moment Ever.I'm stoked because they're making a movie of this beautiful book, due to be released early next year!

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  4. I have to say, but Kyrin and Jace (from the Ilyon Chronicles) are one of my favorite book couples. In the first book (Resistance) Jace is reserved when the two first meet. He avoids everyone. This makes Kyrin curious. They don't really speak to each other for a while. Kyrin just tries to be nice but Jace is an introvert and avoids her. However, Kyrin is just a s stubborn as Jace. The rest is something you have to read for yourself. The book is just that awesome! I JUST LOVE THAT COUPLE!!!
    Okay I'm done.
    - Book Dragon

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    1. AHHHHH JACE AND KYRIN YAYYYSSSSS I absolutely love them!!!

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  5. Awww! That video scene is so adorably awkward! I'm usually not a big fan of romance, but that clip was delightful!
    I think I'll take the friendship angle. I'll also cheat and use an example from one of my own WIPs. A scavenger named Reuben infiltrated a cyborg headquarters and wound up in the room of my central cyborg. He hid in the closet, which the cyborg opened. They kind of just looked at each other, and then the cyborg took out his emergency batteries, and Reuben ducked out of the way so the cyborg could put them into a charger. Just when Reuben broke the silence, the cyborg slammed the door. He thought a virus in his programming was causing him to imagine Reuben. Ever since, he called Reuben his "closet mirage." :)

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  6. Favorite meet-cute: Rogue One. Cassian trys to rescue Jyn from the prison wagon, and she KNOCKS HIM DOWN and RUNS AWAY. Because who the heck does he think he is--and also, why should she trust him? It's beautiful and I love it :D

    In my own novel, the meet-cute is not actually very cute; basically the MC is a Jewish teenage girl hiding in a back alley after the Gestapo arrested her only surviving family member, trying to figure out what her next move should be; and a Resistance fighter finds her and makes her come along with him to a place where he can hide her. She's 17 but he's convinced she's like 12 (because she's so tiny and skinny from not getting enough food). And she's in a really dazed state from a blow to the head a few hours earlier, so she's in no shape to notice anything whatever about him. Later on--much later on--they Discover Each Other's Good Qualities and Form an Unbreakable Bond, and all that rot. But not yet :-P

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    1. Oh my goodness. Your book. I have to read your book!! It sounds soooo good! Do you have a blog? I'd love to follow your writing journey.

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    2. *gasps* Really?!? Thank you!! I'm so happy you want to read it!! You have no idea! :D

      I don't have a writing blog, yet--but I'm thinking about starting one? I am on Goodreads a lot and I sometimes post writing updates/snippets there, though. And I once wrote a "character interview" with my two MCs for my friend's blog: http://ramblings-of-a-red-head-girl.blogspot.com/2017/02/character-interview-breaking-glass.html

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    3. You should totally start a blog! What's the link to your Goodreads??? Must. Know. I will not let this book grow up without me!! ;)

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    4. :D I'll try to start one! And here's my GR profile: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/53581393-jessica-prescott

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  7. I absolutely love Timothy and Leetra from the Ilyon Chronicles. I don't want to spoil anything, but their story arc...*flails*

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  8. Ahh, I just read the one with Katie and Charlie! That was pretty amazing, lol

    I have a lot of favorites (for someone who claims not to like romance, there's a large number of couples I'll gladly fangirl over, haha), but one of my top has to be Anakin and Padme's in The Phantom Menace. People will say a lot about these two characters, but as far as their Meet Cute moment, it's hard to beat, "Are you an angel?"

    Great post!!!


    Alexa
    thessalexa.blogspot.com
    verbosityreviews.com

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  9. I've only read In Between, but I hope to read Replication as soon as I can get my hands on it! Right now I can't think of any meet-cutes (probably because the only romances I read the characters already know each other :P) but I'll share mine because everyone else is. xD
    In my WIP, one of my characters, Kamri, is going to a church that's giving out free food for the poor on Thanksgiving. The other character, Mason, who attends that church and is helping sees her sitting alone and talks to her. Sounds like a nice meet-cute -- the catch being they actually met a few years ago in a fistfight. Kamri remembers, Mason doesn't, ensuing in a lot of lying and drama and eventually more fighting.

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  10. Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan in You've Got Mail! Totally not a book, but you know.

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  11. Cinder and Kai! That was so great!

    ~Mila

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  12. Ooh! This looks like fun!
    I could list SO MANY. Best-friends ones like Milo and Zack. They meet at the bus stop on Zack’s first day at that school, and bond as they try to avoid death or serious injury by the cyclone of all sorts of calamity that follows Milo wherever he goes. Or romantic ones, like Murdock (of the A-Team) meeting Kelly Stevens (played by the actor’s wife), a veterinarian. He escapes from bounty hunters by hiding under a tarp in back of her truck, and she told the bounty hunters to go away--even though she knew he was there--because her dog didn’t bark at him.
    But my FAVOURITE is the meeting between Doc Brown and Clara Clayton in Back to the Future 3. He knows (because of evidence Marty brought from the future) that he’s supposed to meet and fall in love with this Clara person, but he hasn’t yet. And he doesn’t want to, because space-time continuum stuff. Plus, love at first sight is ridiculous. But then, while he’s out testing the DeLorean with Marty, he sees a wagon going out of control and rides over to help. He rescues the driver right before the wagon goes over the cliff. After all the action, they look at each other, and it’s love at first sight. Of course, she’s Clara Clayton. It’s very sweet, and even more so because it’s our very own Doc Brown falling in love.
    None of those are from books, sorry. But those are some of my favourites!

    ~ Clara Murphy, Queen of Fandoms

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