The moment our two characters lock eyes, and their stories become forever intertwined. That’s a meet cute. It’s a first meeting thrilling enough to keep your readers flying through the story.
1. A Character in Distress
The classic damsel in distress situation has become a favorite meet cute. Don’t stop there. Why not have a damoiseau in distress? We’ll get our strong female character to be the hero.
When you put one of your characters in a potential life or death situation, your reader’s heart pounds. Build that story until the last second, when it looks like it’s too late. That’s when your second character swoops in. You can’t deny it. It’s an effective meet cute.
2. Competition Meet Cute
Make your characters compete against each other. Whether it’s in a school contest, a secret mission or a global competition. When the competitors meet, they either become allies or enemies. That’s a great meet cute to kick off a story.
You can be inventive with it, waiting until each character is close to winning to have them meet. As the readers follow each character’s journey, the excitement will build. The meet cute will have to be explosive, each character fighting for the chance to be the victor.
3. Immediate Enemies
A meet cute born out of conflict is thrilling. Make one character steal someone from the other, or match them together for a fight. When two characters meet with the immediate impression of dislike, you’re set up for great character arcs.
It could be a Hatfield versus McCoy situation. Dueling families. Two characters meant to be enemies that can’t hide their growing feelings. Even better, they don’t realize they’re supposed to be enemies when they first meet. By the time they find out, their bond is too strong to break.
4. Anonymous Meet Cute
Your characters meet cute doesn’t have to be face-to-face. It could be in a chat room, a dark street or shouting from opposite places. They might not initially know who the other person is, or what they look like. That’s an impressive way to build suspense within your story.
Now, you can have the characters cross paths within your story without realizing who the other one is. Your readers will go mad! Imagine how excited the readers and the characters will be when they finally have their face-to-face meeting.
5. Right Place, Right Time
Your characters might just end up in the same place by coincidence. They get booked in the same hotel room, they both hide in the bathroom to escape a wild party, or they get trapped in an elevator together. Fate (or rather, you as the writer) strikes in wild ways.
A coincidence meet cute might be the most common type of meet cute, but that doesn’t mean it has to be unoriginal. Make the coincidence fun and exciting. They’re in line at the bank when robbers suddenly storm the building. What are they going to do? Band together? Fight for the same hiding place?
6. An Accident
Consider this. Both of your characters are reckless drivers. One of them is on the phone. One of them is trying to beat the yellow light. Both of them fly through the intersection, smashing into each other. It’s a meet cute your readers will remember long after they finish the story.
A burning building. A plane crash. A survival setting. Characters band together in tense moments. Fear-bonding is the perfect way to forge a relationship. Put your characters in an unlikely situation and turn it into a crazy meet cute.
7. Pre-Determined Meet Cute
Let’s say one of your characters has been hoping to meet the other. They’ve been watching and waiting. Finally, it’s their moment. They stumble into the other, pretending it was a coincidence. In reality, they’ve been planning it all along.
This is a great meet cute because it clues your readers into what’s happening, but not all of your characters understand. It gives the story a leg up, with immediate suspense and excitement, knowing at least one of your characters cares for the other already.
8. A Literal Run-In
Your characters physically run into each other, creating the perfect start to your story. We’ve all seen the meet cute. One character knocks something out of the other’s hand, and they both go to pick it up, starting something special. It’s a little clique, but there are ways to make it modern and new.
You could have your characters fall into a lake or a pool after they run into each other. Maybe one of your characters can’t swim, so it turns into a dramatic rescue. It combines a run-in meet cute with a damsel in distress meet cute. The perfect combination for your story.