I've been writing romantic women's fiction for several years now. Of the eleven
books I've published to date, seven of my fictional couples fall somewhere on
the "opposites attract" spectrum. The couple in my new release, WHEN YOU KNEW, is probably
the most extreme example I've created to date, which made them eminently fun,
yet challenging, to write.
Obviously, this is a trope I adore, but I am not alone. There are literally
thousands of these stories out there. If you're getting ready to write a new
story of your own, here are some reasons you might want to consider basing it on
one of these couples:
This kind of relationship is relatable to readers because it's one that's
played out in real life rather often. (In fact, my own relationship falls into
Opposites create lots of friction. Friction drives tension, which is
necessary to keep the reader interested in turning the page instead of putting
the book down;
The push-pull provides nice opportunities for witty banter, which is
something romance readers typically enjoy; and
The compromises and transformations that will be required of the characters
if they want to stick together will help you set their character arcs.
Of course, as much fun as it can be to create these opposites, you must be
careful to craft this union in a way that convinces a reader that the couple can
truly be happy together despite their differences. Nothing is less
satisfying than a romance that leaves the reader ambivalent (or worse) about the
happily ever after. Here are a few tips to help you avoid the pitfalls of this
A successful romantic relationship requires more than friction, so this
dynamic only works well when combined with the spark of sexual attraction. Be
careful, however, not to rely solely on physical attraction. While that is
certainly important, I think the bigger thing to ignite at the outset is a
character's curiosity about what motivates the other person. In other words,
have the POV character question what makes the other character do or view things
so differently. There is something delicious about watching a couple engage in
that special dance of poking and prodding at those differences, negotiating with
each other and themselves, and initially fighting their attraction because of a
belief that those differences can't be reconciled.
Try to craft differences that the other character can admire (for example,
perhaps a shy character admires the confidence of an outgoing character, or, in
the case of Ian and Gentry, his rather serious character admires her ability to
laugh and approach the world with spontaneity and imagination).
Make sure that the couple shares at least one core commonality. Perhaps that
is a substantial goal (to protect the environment or build a business, or, in
the case of Ian and Gentry, to find a sense of true belonging/fill the void left
by absentee parents). Another commonality could be a shared history (maybe they
grew up in the same town or suffered a similar tragedy or any other significant
thing that gives them a foundation for bonding). You probably don't need both
types, but if you can create them, you stand a stronger chance of establishing a
believable, lasting connection.
I hope this has been helpful or, at least, interesting. If you have questions
about any of it, drop them in the comments. Also, I'd love to hear about some of
your favorite "opposite attracts" couples, so feel free to share those as well.
Gentry Cabot's rebellious life comes to a screeching halt when a one-night
stand leads to a sobering new reality: motherhood. Exhausted and overwhelmed,
the former wild child struggles to raise an infant on her own. After a lifetime
of feeling like the odd Cabot out, Gentry knows that what her son needs most is
family. For his sake, she plans to rebuild bridges with them, but first she
needs a little help on the home front.
Humanitarian worker Ian Crawford has devoted his life to service. Forced to
temporarily return stateside, he's eager to head back to Haiti to expand the
nonprofit he just founded in his late father's honor. He can't do that without
money, so when Gentry offers a hefty paycheck for a short-term gig as a live-in
nanny, he can't afford to say no. Ian expects to deal with a barrage of
privileged problems. What he doesn't expect is how quickly being a makeshift
father transforms him.
Despite his growing attachment to Gentry and her child, Ian still has his
dreams, and Gentry wants a full-time dad for her son. When the baby's father
reenters the picture, will Gentry and Ian embrace the family they've formed or
end up worlds apart?
[Montlake Romance, On Sale: June 26, 2018, Trade
Size / e-Book, ISBN: 9781503902503 / ]
National bestselling author Jamie Beck's realistic and heartwarming stories
have sold more than one million copies. She's a 2017 Booksellers' Best Award
finalist, and critics at Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly, and
Booklist have respectively called her work "smart," "uplifting," and
"entertaining." In addition to writing, she enjoys dancing around the kitchen
while cooking, and hitting the slopes in Vermont and Utah. Above all, she is a
grateful wife and mother to a very patient, supportive family.
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