boy meets girl and…and…nothing

April 22, 2010

I have the perfect girl.   She meets a heavenly boy.  The first encounter is electric.  Something intangible draws them together that neither can fight.  A look, a touch, a hitch in breath leads to the growing need that pulses their blood.  
And then…

After that first chance meeting…

I’ve got nothing.
I can create a dynamic meeting.  I can even jump weeks into the future and have them spinning in love but that middle ground, the getting to know you period, I suck.  

I don’t know how to make my characters get to know each other without it looking obvious/cheesy or come off angry.  Yes angry.  For some reason when I can’t get my couple to… become a couple, I have the girl mad at the boy.   Guess I’m releasing my own writer frustrations.  So my two love birds either know nothing about each other and I let their imagination flame.  OR they intimately know everything about each other, down to the color of her favorite panties.   BUT this middle, I have trouble writing.  I literally stare at the page waiting for something, anything to occur between them.

It’s the most awkward, painful part to write and once I push through it, I know it will be two or three revisions before I get it quite right.  So until then I have a fumbling unnatural mess of almost love, wading through the painful process of getting to know each other.

How about you?  What stifles your writing?  
(Phew, I promised a post today and I barely made it.  Thanks to everyone being patient.)

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  1. I honestly had almost the same problem.
    Romance is by no means the central theme of my book, but the relationship between two major characters is critical to how the plot unfolds.
    The first time they meet they fight. Then they date, but then (like you) I got stuck. So I literally jump a few weeks into the future when they are well and truly in love (although she is such a fiery character they still fight.

    Play around, sometimes jumps in the narrative can work.


    Publish or Perish

  2. I'm positive something stifles my writing, but I just got up and can't think of anything. I write YA romance, and so far I haven't had the same issue as you. Either my mc already knows the guy or her BBF is involved in the match up.

  3. Hmm, this is my favorite part to write. I guess I approach it as any other kind of friendship, with different stakes. Let them debate about some topic, then discover by happy accident they have a similar passion. Let something in the setting trigger a memory and get one of them talking about childhood. Have one need the other to help with something--getting up to speed in a difficult school subject, or fundraising or some volunteer opportunity. I think romance that grows from a caring friendship is THE BEST and that's what makes me swoon! :-)

    Sarah Dessen does these kind of slow-build relationships really well. _This Lullaby_ is one that comes to mind. And in films, _When Harry Met Sally_ has loads of great scenes showing how a male-female friendship blossoms to love.

  4. I've been in that place before. My first draft of my WIP, my MC ended up in an arranged marriage with Male Lead. I didn't have the foggiest how to make their relationship sound sweet or romantic.

  5. Ah, that period of no-man's-land between sparks of anger and sparks of love.

    It's made worse by the telescoping nature of books -- time passes in fast-forward mode.

    But yeah, it's just like you do when you meet someone -- you notice them because they are noticeable, but you become friends (and more) because you sense something in common.

  6. Al - I'm writing YA. Teens want ever juicy detail. If I jump ahead, my reader will not be happy with me.

    Stina - that is my problem, the love interests in all three of my books didn't know each other. The next book I write, they will know each other for sure.

    Laurel - your favorite part to write? all your suggestions are great! Find the common link that bonds them is EXACTLY what will help me in this story. You know it's funny you mention Sarah Dessen, my crit partner said my first chapter or so sounded like her work. I've never read her books but I borrowed two from a friend to check out her writing.

    Donminique - yeah...arranged marriage and romance can not be used in the same sentence. You gave yourself a real challenge there.

    Cynthia - "no man's land" so true. the "sense" of something in common before they know what it is. I like that. That helps. Thanks.

  7. I've found that in reading and writing YA romance that part of the magic of the genre is that the teens are learning about themselves and each other as the story progresses. When I'm not sure what to do to make two scenes mesh, I throw a decision into the mix that may or may not have huge consequences for the relationship. Then the connection is stronger as they overcome this "decision" together.

    Also, I'm glad to hear I'm not the only one who writes in separate scenes and then worries about connected them. Thanks and I love your blog!

  8. JT. Nice suggestion, i think I can actually make that work here. See this is why I love the blog community, other people have been through this and they can pass on what they have learned.

    Glad you like my blog, come back anytime.


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