#WritingChallenge! Update the Meet-Cute

by Deirdre

WritingChallenge imageHow do your hero and heroine meet? We see a lot of “literally bumped into each other” in Harlequin submissions. The hero rounds a corner and bumps into the heroine on the sidewalk. Or the heroine spins on her heel in the office and slams into her new boss – the hero.

There’s an understandable appeal to the “literally bumps into the hero” meet: the scene is set for conflict and physical attraction right away. But it’s hard to hook an editor with this trope, simply because we’ve seen it so many times. So how can you make your hero/heroine meet-cute new? Well, how do people actually meet?

lisa-meet-cute

Your challenge this week: Update the meet-cute by including an aspect of modern social interaction such as social media (Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook) online dating or dating apps (Tinder, OK Cupid, Match.com) or other online apps (Airbnb, Uber or just texting!)

Set the scene (approximately 300 words maximum) for us in a lively way using dialogue, texts, tweets, posts or description. Just make sure you jump into the action as quickly as possible to hook the reader.

As Senior Executive Editor Birgit Davis-Todd says in her blog post about making your book relatable, “the language, the characters and the plot all must feel as if they are part of the world we live in today.” (How many of you are reading this on your phone or tablet right now? ;))

Ready for the challenge? Post your meet-cute scene in the comments any time between now and Sunday November 27, and we’ll check in with you on Monday!

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  1. 429 Reviews from out TripReviewer Community

    Big Disappointment! via mobile NEW
    Went to Coconut Joe’s last night for a birthday celebration – what a disaster! The service was slow, the food came out cold and rubbery, and our drinks were never refilled. The promised birthday dessert tasted days old, and only arrived after three reminders! Will never return!
    – Party Girl

    Party Girl – I’m sorry you had such a disappointing experience, but I assure you, you weren’t at our restaurant, Coconut Joe’s. You should verify your information before posting. CJ

    CJ – I assure you I know where I was! You should spend your time improving your restaurant rather than calling out people who are trying to save others from the disappointment they experienced! Party Girl

    Again, Party Girl, I ask you to verify your information. You were certainly not at Coconut Joe’s last night. We do pay attention to our customers and respond to valid complaints. Are you trolling for a free meal to make up for this false review? CJ

    CJ – I am NOT trolling for a free meal – I’d never eat at your restaurant again! If this is your idea of customer service, your restaurant will fail, BIG time. Please stop calling me a liar to make up for your establishment’s shortcomings. Angry Party Girl

    APG – Coconut Joe’s is not open on Mondays. We were replacing our grill last night, so I assure you, you were not at our restaurant for your event. Perhaps we can disappoint you another time.

    • Mary Fahey

      Anne, that is excellent and really realistic on what we do see online. I want to read on and find out what exactly happened! Great tension between Party Girl and Coconut Joe.

    • The SYTYCW Editors

      Hi Anne,
      Thank you for sharing your idea, this is absolutely original – what an interesting way to create a digital meet-cute! This set-up is tons of fun and it’s great to see something outside the box.
      One thing to bear in mind is that, as well as grabbing the reader’s interest, it’s also good to give us a reason to root for your hero and heroine’s romance. So perhaps adding some more romantic crackle and spark to this argument would draw us in even further and make us long to see your Party Girl heroine and Coconut Joe’s hero meet in real life!
      – Tilda, SYTYCW Editor

    • So maybe if I added a bit more:
      Twenty people tag this review as helpful.

      APG – could you please remove this review since it is NOT about Coconut Joe’s. Please check your receipt to verify where you actually had this unpleasant experience, and warn people about that one.

      CJ – I can’t check the receipt. My boyfriend – my EX boyfriend took me there last night for my birthday because he had a coupon and we got in a big fight about whether I was too demanding and if perhaps some people could make a little extra effort for something like a freaking 30th birthday and not go on about their coupons…and where was I. Oh yeah, I don’t have the receipt, and for all I know you’re just part of this whole plan to make this the worst day of my life!

      APG – I am sorry that you had a bad day, but I have no part in what is happening between you and your ex-boyfriend. Coconut Joe’s has not given out coupons, so we are not the location of your unfortunate breakup. We would still like you to acknowledge your review is an error and remove it.

      CJ – I may be demanding and pushy and perhaps expecting my romantic partner to remember my allergy to shellfish is unreasonable, but I won’t remove my review until you prove I’m wrong.

      APG – come to Coconut Joe’s. We’ll give you good and warm food. We’ll give you lots to drink. You can tell us all about your horrible ex boyfriend, and then we’ll bring you a lovely piece of cake and sing you happy belated birthday. Then when you realize it is not the place you had your terrible experience, you can perhaps acknowledge your error.

      CJ – Oh no, I’m being a bitch, aren’t I? I’m taking this out on everyone else, just like my mother says. What is wrong with me?

      APG – Just come to the damn restaurant!

  2. Maggie Jones

    “Hello there, Handsome.”
    Nic Mulholland looked up, around the packed and arguing gallery, then back at the text that had just flashed up on his phone. Nope, absolutely no question who’d texted.
    His lips quirked. His thumbs caressed the keys briefly, then quickly flashed into action.
    “Missing me?” he typed.
    Her reply was equally fast.
    “It’s been so long.”
    “Two hours, Cary.”
    “I felt so cold after breakfast when you left.”
    His body reacted. Jerked, hard, to attention. He couldn’t risk her games, though. Not here. He couldn’t risk sending his blood pressure or anything else soaring. He should be concentrating. But she was always too much temptation to resist.
    “That would be because of the tiny little nightie you were wearing.”
    Damn, he was a fool.
    “You no like?” Her text was like a playful pout.
    “Even my toast incinerated…”
    And he smiled as he sent it when, dammit, he should just keep his mind right off her. She wasn’t his any more.
    “Maybe if you’d given me your pj top to cover up?”
    “Difficult. I don’t wear pjs, remember.”
    Why couldn’t he ever stop testing the waters with her? If he wanted her, he’d take her. But that was never going to happen.
    At least there was no reply to his tease. Had she been deliberately tormenting him? Or had he pushed flirting too far? They had rules – unwritten, unspoken – and weren’t they both better off if this could never go anywhere?
    “What’s on your mind? I thought we both had an important meeting to go to this morning.”
    Yeah, he was better to stick to that sort of tone.
    “Am just imagining you beside me, that’s all.”
    “Beside you where, exactly?”
    “Well, since you ask…”
    He shifted uncomfortably in his chair. Thank God everyone’s attention was on his assistant, pen in hand, whiteboard before him, pointing out the statistics that mattered.
    “Don’t toy with a man’s emotions.” He bashed out the words. Hurled them at her.
    Angry now. With both of them. They were both to blame for the way they still talked. Texted. Neither couldn’t quite leave things alone. Couldn’t quite give ‘them’ up.
    Well, no reply from her again.
    Ok, that was best. His damned libido could zip right the heck up.
    He swigged his coffee. He needed to pay attention to what the curator was saying. To figure what all this money of his was going on. Then his phone vibrated again.
    “OK, since you ask, big boy, how about beside me, as in walking me up the aisle?”
    His drink went right down his windpipe. The meeting came to a standstill. Someone patted him on the back. Brought him a drink of water. Agreed the coffee was too hot.
    Really nice. Didn’t help.
    He signalled them to continue. Forced himself to keep his eyes off her. He didn’t want eye contact, not when she’d just reached across the room and ripped out his heart.

    • The SYTYCW Editors

      Hi Maggie,
      Love the thought that this couple are texting each other while they’re at the same meeting – a definite element of danger and spice here!
      However, this did leave the reader a little too much in the dark about what is going on between Nic and Cary – was last night their first time together, and what happened to end their relationship so soon? Or was this only ever a one-night affair?
      Also, do keep in mind that although stories can of course start at many different stages in a hero and heroine’s relationship, we were looking specifically for a meet-cute in this challenge – which is the moment your hero and heroine first meet, and we’re missing out on this here.
      Thanks for your post!
      – Tilda, SYTYCW Editor

  3. Laura Joy

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    #AmazonWishList time. I still can’t decide whether to read #GoSetAWatchman. I feel I would be sticking my fingers up to #HarperLee #ToKillAMockingbird

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla Don’t.

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan Why?

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla It will break your heart.

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla
    @YoungMaaaan You’re assuming I have a heart #IceMaiden

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla You’re a lawyer. You must love #AtticusFinch, right? I mean, you can’t not.

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan Yes. I do. I hear he doesn’t age well, as it were.

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla It’s awful. #HarperLee, it’s a sin to kill a hero!

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan No wonder she didn’t want it published.

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan The title makes me think of #JimiHendrix. And #BSG

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla #BSG? You like sci-fi???

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan I do. I’ve only gone and outed myself.

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla Great taste in music, btw.

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan My dad met #JimiHendrix. At an after party. And #PinkFloyd. That’s like my second-hand claim to fame.

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla Awesome. How did he blag his way into company like that.?

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan His cousin was in the other band on the bill… #AmenCorner

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan …You probably won’t have heard of them. But their big hit was used in a shampoo advert… #BendMeShapeMe

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan … Less annoying than Jennifer Aniston setting up the science bit.

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla I like Jennifer Anniston. She’s still got it.

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan The first strip scene in We’re the Millers…? With the black wig. Damn.

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla I may have seen that…

    Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
    @YoungMaaaan Who doesn’t love a hot stripper? 😉

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla You look pretty hot yourself. And you read books and watch SciFi and listen to good rock music…

    Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
    @LadyLawyerGla Where have you been all my life?

    Harper Lee @HarperLeesGhost
    .@YoungMaaaan @LadyLawyerGla #GetARoom.

    • The SYTYCW Editors

      Hi Laura Joy,
      Fab use of Twitter here – very modern and the interrupting Tweeter at the end did make me laugh!
      It’s great to see them getting to know each other in this way, but there are a few moments when (realistically for Twitter!) this conversation strays a little bit too much, which could risk losing the reader’s focus and becoming a little confusing.
      Also, to really hook the reader in with this meet-cute, wondered if perhaps we could have seen something teasing that Lindy and Duncan are going to meet, to keep the momentum of this first meeting going?
      Thanks for your great post!
      – Tilda, SYTYCW Editor

    • Lauran Joy

      Thank you both! I’ve just finished an eight-week writing course and was too scared to share much. So hey, why not share stuff with the internet instead!

      It’s amazing to get feedback. On reflection, there are a few references that probably don’t translate beyond a UK audience — the Jennifer Aniston ad is infamous. People used to go around mimicking her. But it might not have aired elsewhere. I would like to keep the conversation a bit niche though, to show they are on the same wavelength. Cheers, Laura 🙂

    • Laura Joy

      I was so encouraged by the notes I had another go. Thanks again. Tilda. 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      #AmazonWishList time. I still can’t decide whether to read #GoSetAWatchman. I feel I would be sticking my fingers up to #HarperLee #ToKillAMockingbird

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla Don’t.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan Hello Stranger. Why not?

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla It will break your heart.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla
      @YoungMaaaan You’re assuming I have a heart #IceMaiden

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla You’re a lawyer. You must love #AtticusFinch, right? I mean, you can’t not.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan Yes. I do. I read he is a racist in this one…?

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla It’s awful. It’s a sin! #HarperLee

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan The title makes me think of #AllAlongTheWatchTower. And #BattlestarGallactica

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla #BSG? You like sci-fi???

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan I do. I’ve only gone and outed myself.

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla Great taste in music, btw. #Hendrix

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan My dad met #JimiHendrix. At an after party. And #PinkFloyd.

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla Awesome. How did he blag his way into company like that?

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan His cousin was in #AmenCorner.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan https://youtu.be/kM-y1a1oeCo #BendMeShapeMe….

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan It was in a shampoo ad… Less annoying than the Jennifer Aniston one. #HereComesTheScienceBit

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla You want me to bend you???? 😉 I like Jennifer Aniston. She’s still got it.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan The first strip scene in #WeretheMillers …? With the black wig? Damn.

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla I may have seen that…

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan Who doesn’t love a hot stripper?

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla You look pretty hot yourself. And you read books and watch SciFi and listen to great rock music…

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla Where have you been all my life?

      Harper Lee @HarperLeesGhost
      .@YoungMaaaan @LadyLawyerGla #GetARoom.

      Lindy Loo (LadyLawyerGla)
      @HarperLeesGhost LOL! Sorry!!!! @YoungMaaaan Maybe we should…?

      Duncan Young (@YoungMaaan)
      @LadyLawyerGla Really?

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan Yes.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan Really.

      Lindy Loo (@LadyLawyerGla)
      @YoungMaaaan DM.

  4. Sandra Martin

    “Are you even listening to me?” Dannon’s co-worker sat across from her in the lunchroom. “Earth to Danni.” he snapped his fingers.

    “What? Oh yeah that’d be fine drinks, tonight.” Dannon continued to dig in her purse.

    “What are you looking for?” Mark stared at her, his fork hanging half out of his mouth.

    “My phone! I think I lost it somewhere?”

    “Where…” Mark’s phone buzzed. He look at it. “I think I found it.”

    “What!”

    “Well someone found it.” he turned his phone around for her to see it.

    ‘Found phone, texting all contacts.’

    “Well text him back.” Dannon started shoving the contents of her purse back into her bag.

    “He says he wants to talk to you.”

    “What!”

    “I called instead of texted…ooops.” Dannon gave her friend an evil glare. “What he sounds cute.” Mark gave her the phone.

    “Hello.”

    “Hello Dannon Sweet?”

    “Yes.” Dannon wondered how he knew her name.

    “I think I found your phone.” his voice was husky, and smooth. “I was hoping to meet you some where to return it.”

    “I’m supposed to meet my friends for drinks tonight at the 56th street bar.”

    “What time?”

    “7:30.”

    “Ok I’ll meet you there, bye.”

    Dannon started to ask what his name was when his silence cut her off. “Hello? Hello!? What the. He hung up.”

    “What did he say?” Mark was practically jumping out of his seat.

    “He said he’d meet me there.” Dannon sat down and handed Mark back his phone. ” He knew my name. I don’t have my name on my phone contact list.”

    “Maybe he logged into Facebook, or your Twitter accounts. Hope you didn’t have any imbarassing photos in your gallery.”

    Dannon felt her stomach flip and looked at Mark. “Crap!”

    • Hi Sandra,

      I love the idea of the hero and heroine meeting via a lost phone! I also like the natural tone you’ve got between the heroine and her coworker – the evil glare and “What? He sounds cute.” Nice! What if you ditched the coworker and used that great dialogue to establish more of a spark between the hero and heroine? Perhaps if we had a clue about the photos in that phone, and some hints from the hero’s dialogue that indicate he’s already taken a peek. . .

      Well done!

  5. “Oh! I’m sorry.” Angela said as she bumped into someone as she carried her coffee to a table, narrowly missing spilling someone else’s coffee on her.

    “No problem.” He said, she glanced at him, gave him a quick smile, and turned away. Sitting down, she signed onto her REAL LOVE profile. No new messages. She sighed and decided to message him first.

    FrankJ, do you think it’s time we meet?

    She looked at the words on her screen, chewed her lip nervously, then took a deep breath and pressed the send button.

    A few seconds later she felt her pulse quicken as she saw his quick response.

    AngelC, are you sure?

    FrankJ, I’m nervous, but I’m sure.

    Angela sipped her coffee, tapping her foot nervously as she waited.

    AngelC, I think that’s a great idea, in fact, I was going to mention it to you today.

    The breath she didn’t know she was holding whooshed out in a rush.

    FrankJ, should we start with a picture then meet later today for coffee?

    AngelC, that sounds great.

    Angela raised her phone, smiled her best, took a selfie, and sent it off.

    “Wow” she whispered as she looked at his picture. She felt a little confused, why does he look familiar? She spun around in her chair to look at the tables against the back wall, and sure enough, there he was, heading in her direction, warm brown eyes looking at her.

    “You almost wore my coffee.” He said as he sat in the chair next to her. “I’ve seen you in here every day.”

    “I’ve seen you too.” She smiled at him.

    “I’ve wanted to introduce myself, but didn’t want to interrupt.” He gestured to her phone. “If I’d known you were messaging me, I would have interrupted you.”

    • Hi Amy,

      I notice you’ve actually used the “bump into each other trope” – but in a new way! And the fact that FrankJ looks familiar when AngelC sees his picture was fun. I wonder if your setup could be reworked slightly? Most people post photos on their online dating profile, and if FrankJ comes into the coffee shop daily, AngelC would probably have made the connection earlier. Maybe this is their very first time viewing each other online, and they look up with recognition. . .Also, be sure to establish a spark in the online conversation as well as the personal one – to give FrankJ and AngelC a reason to want to meet each other – and the reader to want to see where things go. Thanks for writing!

  6. Julie pursed her lips as she swiped through the pictures. They were all meh handsome and less than meh interesting. Like tubs and tubs of vanilla ice cream at a Cold Stone Creamery when you were looking for mint chocolate chip. And they looked like they were trying too hard. Perhaps they, too, had mothers on their case about meeting someone.
    She loved her mom, but today’s exercise was strictly for appeasement.
    Yes, Mom. I looked at some guys on the dating site you paid for and I put up a profile.
    One as boring as Julie could make it. Once this was done, she could get back to studying Intestinal Disorders in Felines so she could ace her midterm and stay at the top of her class in veterinary college.
    Her green eyes swept over another page, automatically advancing the page before she swiped back to focus on a picture. Now there was a gorgeous fellow. Regal. Obviously athletic. One of the most beautiful German Shepherds she’d ever seen. Julie couldn’t tell much of the guy in the picture due to the shepherd on his lap, blocking a lot of pertinent details. Judging by the long legs visible from the knee down, he was tall, easily taller than Julie’s five foot eight. And anyone who could hold a hundred-pound-dog in his lap had to be strong.
    The brief profile included traits of agility, directness, and fearlessness but not hostility, self-confidence, and an aloofness that didn’t lend itself to immediate friendships. Julie snorted as she recognized the American Kennel Club’s standard of a German shepherd. Obviously not someone willingly out in cyber dating. For her, the best kind of guy. More Mom diversion without time-consuming entanglement. Heart unexpectedly thumping, Julie reached a slightly shaking finger to the tablet.

    • Hi Jocelyn,

      I loved your angle here, and the misunderstanding regarding who we’re reading about (even as Julie understands perfectly well.) Great way to establish a connection between the hero and heroine, and excellent use of humour!

      The only suggestion I have is to remove the moms. Why the reluctance to be on a dating site? Maybe Julie’s just looking for something casual between exams . . .and stumbles upon the perfect dog-lover.

      Thanks so much for a fun setup to their meet-cute!

  7. Lakisha friday

    Blu Bryd? Are you there?
    I’m here “D”. How are you?
    I’m good. Tied up at work.
    Yeah me too unfortunately. My jerk of a boss has me cleaning when I could be at home all snug in my bed with a good book and ice cream. Blu Bryd typed.
    It’d be better if I were with you. You wouldn’t be reading and I can think of something else to do with that ice cream.
    Blu Bryd nearly dropped her laptop onto the floor. ” D” certainly has a way with words. She wondered if they met would he say things like that in person?
    I want to see you. Tonight. “D” typed.
    I don’t know. Blu hesitated. She never thought it would come to this. Blu didn’t want to lead him on any further.
    Just one date. “D” said, if it doesn’t work out you won’t hear from me agai I’m just nervous. My track record with dating hasn’t been that great.
    If you let me, I can change all that. Just one night with me. Can we meet?
    One date?
    One date.
    We’ll meet at Juice Cee’s. Is that alright with you? “D” asked.
    Yes, that’s fine. Blu replied. How will I know its you?
    I’ll be wearing a white dress shirt and a blue peacock neck tie. Blu got dressed and drove to Juice Cee’s which is a soul food restaurant. She was a bit nervous about meeting him. Maybe he won’t show and she’ll just go home once again dateless. Low and behold there is a guy sitting by the large fish tank. He looks familiar. He’s wearing a peacock neck tie. Her cell phone beeps signaling a text has been sent to her phone. Its “D”. Could it be?
    Just checking to make sure you hadn’t forgot about me.
    No, I hadn’t. Are you here?
    Yes, I’m here. Right where I said I would be.
    Oh no. Can’t be.
    ” D” ?
    He stands up to see an employee of his wearing a blue dress and a peacock headband just as described.
    Ava? You’re my peacock?
    You’re “D”?
    I don’t know what to say. I can’t do this. Ava said, you’re my boss.
    Darius moves closer to her. His maid is his online date. How crazy is that?
    Well, tonight, he holds her hands. You’re my Blu Bryd. Would you care to have dinner with this jerk of a boss?

    • Very nice natural dialogue in your online messages, Lakisha! And a fun, surprising twist at the end. One thing you might want to watch for is keeping the point of view consistent in your scene. It’s great in a romance if we get the POV of both the hero and heroine, but in one scene you want to stick to either Blu’s or D’s, and here we make a bit of a switch at the end.
      Love your setup though! Thanks for writing!

  8. The Match app on her cell pinged. Rose couldn’t stop herself; she picked up right away. It was alright to look; she needed possibilities to forget. Her time with Pers had been scorching, she couldn’t look at apps were too hot to hold, but Match was just right and she was addicted to it.
    Lucky for her because it was impossible to fall asleep in a hospital ward.
    The phone dropped from her hand, she was no longer reading the profile, but living in the past. She had no wish to experience those emotions again, they hurt too much.
    “Why can’t I get those blue eyes out of my mind?”
    “I’m not a recluse.”
    She’d been single for less than a day.
    It was the text from Pers that did it.
    “Am I over reacting?”
    “Cheap flight online last minute. AirBNB at the Governor’s palace Nassau!!!!!!!! Cancel dinner for me.”
    She thought he might propose, instead she had a cast on her arm.
    The wet pavement made it impossible to keep her motorcycle upright.
    First step, create a profile.
    “Pers!” Are you angry with me?”
    His arms around a woman on his Facebook feed.
    “Babe, it didn’t mean anything, you know how it is.”
    She looked at the profile twenty times.
    She smiled every time.
    “Conrad.”
    She ticked off the points on her fingers. He was not Pers, about her own age, easy smile. It was hard to see what color his eyes were in the pic. A mutt, a dog not the guy, was running circles in a tiny kitchen. You could see that the next frame would be him falling over the dog. Rose wanted to be the one to laugh with him and there he was.
    Her finger moved. It was raining and a there was a hurricane watch in the Caribbean.
    Hey, sometimes things just work out.

    • Hi Kathryn,
      Working backstory into your scene with a few brief sentences is a great fiction technique. But I confess I’m a little confused about what’s going on here. You may want to limit flashbacks in such a short passage, and keep just one or two hints instead. It’s also good to remember that you want your opening to be as active as possible to really hook the reader. That means staying in the present and hinting at things to come rather than past events. Thanks so much for writing!

  9. Hope this isn’t too late:

    Falling out of love after ten long weary years in a marriage isn’t an easy thing to do. Cat glanced down at her cell phone. No calls. She turned on her computer and went to make a cup of coffee. A series of beeps let her know her computer was on and her email was entering the box, on funny ping at a time.
    She sat back down at the computer, mug in hand, and scrolled through all the junk emails, deleting them to find the ones from real people. One email jumped out at her. “*Drifter* – still waiting your confirmation.” Her confirmation for what? Though she never clicked on spam emails this time she did. Boredom or temptation, either was a good enough excuse.
    Reading down the email he was promising she could make more money in a year than she would believe, working from home. What a crock. Irritated at the fake promise she hit reply and typed in her response.
    “Dear *Drifter*, Please don’t send me any more of these false promises. I can’t deal with any more disappointments in my life right now. Shame on you for playing on people’s hard times and hopes for a better future. Signed ~Cat~.”
    Jesse hit the send/receive all folders and waited for his email to download. He stretched his legs, weary of the job that forced him to sit at a computer for more long hours than he wanted. Life had gone down the tubes since his father died and left him his million dollar company. He wasn’t interested in online commerce. He wanted to open a small café where people could relax and chat and maybe even make a few friends out of strangers. His dream, but no time to start it.
    He deleted twenty-odd emails before he found one that caught his eye. Someone actually sent a personal response to one of his dad’s stupid solicitation emails.

    • Patience Bloom

      Dear Chrissy,
      I laughed out loud at the idea of the heroine writing back to one of those spam posts! It’s something I have always wanted to do but am afraid something worse might come back. And what a unique way for two people to meet! The fact that both characters are kind of bored/lonely makes this meet cute entirely relatable. I love that this nothing-to-lose interaction brings them together. My one criticism is that I was jarred a little by the change in POV from Cat to Jesse. Obviously, this is just a set up so I understand that this might not be the actual narrative. Well done overall!
      –Patience