Funny how it took me so long to get to this post. To be fair, I made a note on a piece of paper with badly erased pencil on it. Anyway, this is about characters that are connected, but don’t meet for a while. For example, Kira Grasdon and Sari having a connection through the relationships to Luke Callindor and not meeting in person until Sleeper of the Wildwood Fugue. It took 5 books to get to it, but there were reasons:
- Getting Kira into the same area as the heroes during Books 3-6 tended to be ridiculous. It was too much of a coincidence.
- The exception to the above was Book 5, but Sari was ‘away’ while Kira was around. By the time the two of them would have a chance, the adventure was over. I didn’t want the big meeting to occur as an epilogue, prologue, or between books.
- The Sari/Luke connection needed more time to evolve.
- The Kira/Luke connection needed more time to destabilize.
The big point I see in these things is that timing is everything. Too early with an important meeting and you lack something that makes it work. Too late and people won’t have any more interest. Like many things in writing and life, you need to find balance. If not that then give really good reasons why the meeting can’t happen until it does.
The problem is that every book that passes while risk people feeling the inevitable meeting is anti-climactic. Is there any way to avoid that? Probably not because every person has a different level of patience. I’ve had some readers who wanted Kira and Sari to face off in Allure of the Gypsies even though there was no reason for the former to be in Haven. I think I’ve had requests for them to meet in every book and I did have scenes set up for it at one point or another. It just never worked. So again I come back to timing being essential for something like this.
Now as a reader, I do enjoy the wait. There has to be a good payoff though. A casual ‘hey! nice to finally meet you!’ doesn’t usually work for me. Depends on the character personalities and reasons behind the necessary meeting. Rivalries especially need conflict and tension for me to be interested. Maybe, as a reader, I put a lot more faith into the author and accept that they know what’s best. I’m far too easy going with books, so it’s hard to go into any more detail.
So, how do you handle big meetings between characters as a writer and a reader?