Warning - possible cliche ahead: At the start of my project, taking advice to jump into the action and wanting to introduce some key characters early, I had my protagonist meet a love interest in the first chapter. I've had my first chapter critiqued in my writer's group, and on here, but only recently, did someone point out that bumping into someone is a dreadful old cliche. I know that dropping your shopping is an oft used cliche to get characters to meet, but hoped that this incident would work. Come clean - is it old hat?
(My protagonist, Jack is arriving at an address for the first time for a job interview)
'Curtains fluttered at open windows and typewriters clattered. The sound of telephone bells ringing, unanswered. This must be the place.
As I reached over a railing to a porcelain bellpush, the door opened, and all I saw, before she crashed into me, was a woman walking backwards, waving her hands, and shouting ‘Only five minutes for a fag.’
Her heel caught a flagstone. We collided, and thinking she was falling, I grabbed her.
‘Get off,’ she yelled, pushing my hands away, turning around as I backed off.
‘I’m sorry. I thought —’
‘Are you Jack?’
Her eyes were smiling, cobalt blue.
‘Hah! My fault. Wasn’t looking.’
A shrill voice from inside the building. ‘Maddy. Shut the bloody door.’
‘That’s our receptionist. Let’s go inside.’
I followed Maddy into a dark hallway. A trace of frangipani perfume mixed with Camel cigarette smoke, then a flash of her blond curls in the shadows as she leaned forward. A narrow hatch slid open and a pale beam of electric light framed her face in the gloom.'