How I Write a Love Story: Part 1


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Photo by luizclas on

Ted stood, for what felt like the hundredth time this week, alone on the same sidewalk overlooking the pier. How did this keep happening? Was all he could think. He was a good guy, somewhat attractive. He had a good job was consistent and secure. He even read all the books on how to find the “One.” Why then was he failing so miserably? The flowers in his hand drooped as his head hung in despair. “Well, thats it I guess, Love wasn’t meant for you, Ted.” He said lifting the bouquet of roses and threw them as hard as he could into the water. The roses broke apart and showered the sea below in a dance of red and green on the ocean of blue and white.

“Nice arm man, you play ball?” A woman’s voice said from behind Ted.

“Huh?” Ted said turning around to a blonde woman wearing a black pea coat and looking cold, her cheeks were rosy from the wind, and her eyes were squinted with severe discomfort.

“Huh?” She said back mocking Ted. “Do you play ball? You know baseball, football? Things with balls?” She said laughing at the last part.
“Oh, ha. No, I uh… There was a spider on those roses, and it freaked me out, so I chucked em.” Ted said, blood rushing to his face, utterly embarrassed by his ridiculous answer.
“Spiders can be scary; you should have let it bite you, what if it gave you superpowers like Spiderman?” She said smiling.
“I guess we will never know,” Ted said with a shrug. Wondering who the hell this woman was.
“Yeah, unless we see a shark swinging from buildings and shooting webs out of its fins.” She said looking very serious.

“Ha, yeah that would be strange. I am sorry, do I know you?” Ted asked walking closer to the mysterious women. It was a fiercly cold night, and the wind had picked up biting Ted’s neck as he pulled his collar tighter around his face.

“No… No, I don’t think so? I was just out enjoying the weather and saw you heroically defeat a spider and thought I would commend you for it.” She said smiling through the cold, teeth chattering a bit.
“Well, I am Ted. Thanks for the kind words. Honestly, though there was no spider, I got stood up again. These damn online dating sites are a crap shoot.” Ted said sticking out his gloved hand.
“Hey, Ted! Marissa, nice to meet you. Sorry, you got stood up. Probably not the best idea to set up a date with someone in January in New York on a pier. Maybe the weather was a factor? Marissa said shaking Ted’s hand.

“Well, you are out here in January. Maybe you’re crazy!” He said, realizing to late she had said nothing about him being crazy and maybe sounded a bit to harsh.  He was just having a hard time accepting that his love life was broken beyond repair.
“Ha Ha, oh Ted. Maybe I am crazy, maybe the only reason I am out here is that I have been stalking you for months now on social media and waiting for the right moment to strike.” Marissa said, eyes wild.

“Wow, ok lady look I am going to get out of here. Have a nice night.” Ted was freaked out now. This is what women where like now, crazy stalkers. No wonder he had a hard time finding the right one.
“Oh Ted, take it easy,” she said laughing still. “No one is stalking you. It is called a joke.” Marissa said smiling brightly. Her eyes lit up sparkling blue, and she had a beautiful smile that could have been seen from across the street.
“Oh… yeah, sorry.”  Ted gave a pathetic chuckle.  “My head isn’t in the best place right now. This isn’t the first time I have been stood up. It’s happened three times this week.” Ted was looking down at his feet embarrassed.
“Not bad man, I am impressed. You know the greatest home run hitters in history struck out more than they hit home runs. They just never stopped swinging. I guess you do play ball. You wanna go get some coffee; you can tell me why you deserve love more than everyone else.” Marissa said reaching out to Ted, inviting him to come along.
“What, I don’t think I deserve it more than anyone else. I just know that I deserve it.” Ted looked offended.
“Well then keep swinging big guy. Come on let’s get out of this cold I need some thing hot and stiff in my life, and I might not be talking about a drink?” Marissa laughed and winked at Ted, who was unable to keep the smile off his face this time.
“Fine,” Ted said.
“Alright, that a boy! So how long you been playing ball?” She asked.
“You mean baseball or dating?” Ted asked confused, as the two walked off together arm in arm.

The How

So with any story, we need a setup, and we have started with a fair one. The main character has just thrown in the towel on dating or in this case the roses. And believes that Love is all but lost to him, or it must not be in his cards, because he has everything that could make a person Lovable, right?

Enter in the love interest, at the depth of Ted’s hopelessness. Seemingly out of nowhere. This technique is used often in writing love stories.  Show the Setup, which includes a letdown, followed immediately by a chance encounter.
The question of what Marissa was doing out on the pier that night is something we will find out as the story progresses along.


Today I learned to start with the setup, by asking these questions.

  • Who is my main character?
    What has happened that makes him believe he is hopeless to find love?
    What qualities does he possess?
  • Who is the love interest?

I have answered these questions at the beginning of my love story above. The main character is Ted, an attractive hard working, good guy that has taken shot after shot at finding the women of his dreams.  Marissa is the love interest, even though Ted doesn’t know it yet, and maybe Marissa doesn’t either. That is all stuff we will find out.


My goal is to write a short love story about Ted and Marissa. While also explaining how I am doing what I am doing along the way. If you enjoyed the story so far check back into tomorrow where I will continue the Love story of Ted and the mysterious Marissa.

I am on a mission to grow my ability as a writer and Love stories are something I have never really done.  But I know that the only way to get better at something is to practice it.  I am doing this as an excercise to stretch myself and if anything I do is helpful to anyone else than it will be a bonus.

I hope you all enjoy this.  Please feel free to leave comments or ask any questions you may have or critiques.  I am on a journey of self discovery and I am finding I have to lose myself to truly be found.  Happy writing.




Published by Matthew Whiteside

I am a writer, a storyteller, a yarn-spinning freakazoid. My life is full of two things today, lessons and blessings. I write fiction mostly but I also love to write about my life and the things I go through on a daily basis. Writing it out inspires and motivates me and that's why I do it. Plus if it does that for me maybe it will for someone else too.

12 thoughts on “How I Write a Love Story: Part 1

  1. Interesting! I like the breakdown of what you’re doing after the fact. Other writers’ processes are intriguing to me. Love stories aren’t my thing either, as a reader or a writer, but I’m going to keep reading what you’re doing. Maybe it will help me out next time I get Rom-Com in the NYC Midnight competitions 😂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Maybe you’re secretly a “pantser” instead of a plotter? I’m purely a pantser 😂 but it takes guts to share those early drafts! Good on you!

        Liked by 1 person

      2. A pantser is someone who writes “by the seat of their pants” rather than someone who outlines and plots before drafting 😂 writer nerd lingo if you start hanging around writing groups a lot. Typically plotters have less editing to do in later drafts, but the initial draft takes longer, while pantsers fly through the early drafts and then spend their time on restructuring later drafts. There’s no right way, of course, but most writers lean more one way than the other.

        I left some feedback on the story for you on part 4 😊

        Liked by 1 person

      3. 😂 I wish I could do that! I’m soooooo slooooooow! I refuse to plot and outline, but I labour over individual sentences or even individual words. It’s like pulling teeth! The upside is that my drafts are pretty clean, but my first draft takes as long to write as many people would spend on two or three. Oh well, we all get there eventually, I guess. I have been trying to practice just letting go and writing. I need to find a writing spirit to possess me!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I like the idea of an angel of nonsense… that could be a great story idea!

        I learned everything I know about writing from other writers, so passing that on to others when I can is my way of giving back to the community 😊 it’s one of the ways that I serve others (and myself!)

        Also, I like your blog.

        Liked by 1 person

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