Long Delayed Meetings

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:

  1. Getting Kira into the same area as the heroes during Books 3-6 tended to be ridiculous.  It was too much of a coincidence.
  2. 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.
  3. The Sari/Luke connection needed more time to evolve.
  4. 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?

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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5 Responses to Long Delayed Meetings

  1. L. Marie says:

    I can understand the need to wait on things. I also can’t help thinking of the Aang meeting with Firelord Ozai, which didn’t take place until season three. I’m willing to wait for things like that if I understand the preparation involved in such a momentous meeting. I wouldn’t want an author to rush to make that meeting happen.

    In my own book, a story with three main characters (one of whom is the antagonist), I wondered how to finally have all three meet up. That meeting takes place in the last third of the book. But I had to bring two of those characters together sooner. I allowed them to meet once, then go their separate ways until almost the last third of the book. But while they waited to meet, I made sure they were at least mentioning each other. In that way, I hoped to at least build up a desire in the reader for this meeting to take place. I also needed to resolve some of the differences between the two heroic leads before they could meet the antagonist in combat.


    • It’s probably a lot easier to delay a hero/villain meeting. You can use henchman, alternate enemies, and other distractions that will keep things moving along. Getting 3 to meet sounds complicated, but the use of mentions is a smart one. That way people remember that there is a connection that will get stronger at some point.

      Liked by 1 person

      • L. Marie says:

        Good points. I also used delay tactics like fires, roadblocks, and other things to keep everyone apart until I needed them to come together. It’s like you mentioned–if there was no reason for them to be in a certain area, there’s no need to rush into a meeting. None of these characters lives in the same region. Though one was sent to kill one of the two heroes, he didn’t know exactly where she was. So I didn’t want him to find her without some kind of struggle.


  2. As you put it, timing is everything. I’m like you, in that I’m patient with my authors. Or at least with the ones I trust to get it right 🙂


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