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Hot Encounter: Vertical guide

Hot Encounter: Vertical guide Hot Encounter: Vertical guide
In this article:

    Hot Encounter is Wattpad’s contemporary romance Vertical. There are three crucial components to a Hot Encounter story. The story must: 1) follow the development of a central romantic relationship 2) be set in our contemporary world and 3) end with a happily ever after.

    While Werewolf and Dangerous Love have some really specific narrative elements, Hot Encounter is a lot more broad. In this Vertical, we’re looking for steamy, sexy, trope-forward stories where the romantic relationship is positive in character. 

    Components of Hot Encounter

    Romantic Relationship

    The romantic relationship should be the focus of the story, and while there should be external plot events shaping the story, these events exist to serve the romantic relationship. Characters should have their own Goals, Motivation, and Conflicts, which serve to bring them together and produce the relationship conflict that they have to work through to be together.  The overall nature of the romantic relationship should be positive. In Dangerous Love, the romance is often really fraught or has taboo elements; in Hot Encounter, the romantic relationship should still involve conflict, but it’s less intense and more emotionally straightforward. While power dynamics can still be present in Hot Encounter, they are generally less pronounced than in Dangerous Love. 

    Contemporary Setting

    The setting of Hot Encounter stories should be our normal, contemporary world. These stories can be set anywhere in the world, but should not feature magic or a lot of elaborate worldbuilding. 


    Wattpad readers love tropes! A trope is just a commonly used convention or story element. In Hot Encounter, we’re looking for those tried and true romance tropes like enemies to lovers, forced proximity, and fake dating, to name just a few examples. 

    Tropes are often predictable, and that’s not a bad thing. The reader should, on some level, be able to predict plot events, because if they can’t predict the plot at all, you probably haven’t given them enough information. Part of the pleasure of reading comes from the interplay between expectation and arrival, setup and payoff, familiarity and novelty. Using tropes is a form of setup and payoff that shows a reader a familiar pattern and then uses that familiarity to illustrate something specific about the characters or the world. In Hot Encounter, we’re looking for tropes that set up both the draw and the conflict between the main characters, and the payoff for the reader is watching them navigate their growing relationship. 

    Tone and Stakes

    Tone refers to the story’s approach to the subject matter, and Stakes refers to the range of potential consequences the characters could face, i.e. what is at stake in the story. Tone in Hot Encounter stories can vary from a really light-hearted rom-com to a more intense drama, but these stories should not become dark. Stakes in Hot Encounter are more personal, and are generally about the lead characters finding personal fulfillment and romantic happiness. Violence is not a normal or expected part of the world in Hot Encounter stories. If violence does occur or life-or-death stakes are present, this is a break from the story’s norm, and the characters should respond accordingly. Stakes should generally match tone; a light and bubbly romcom should not suddenly develop a car crash and amnesia plotline, for example. 

    Romantic Fantasy

    Hot Encounter readers come to the genre for larger-than-life romantic fantasy. In real life, love is so often balanced against daily concerns like paying the mortgage and making dinner. In Hot Encounter, love and romance fill up every corner of the characters’ lives. These big feelings are shaped by the setting and profession of the romantic interest, whether a CEO or a college athlete. The characters’ connection is special, and this should be represented in the story through special, setting-specific moments that the characters share with each other. 

    Hot Encounter vs Dangerous Love 

    Confused on the difference between Hot Encounter and Dangerous Love? Here’s a quick guide: 

    Hot Encounter

    Dangerous Love


    Contemporary world

    Secret/underground subculture of our contemporary world


    Overall positive even in conflict, with a happy ending

    Complex, fraught, or taboo but with a happy ending


    Ranging from light to dramatic

    Dark, intense, dramatic


    Romantic happiness and personal fulfillment; violence, if it happens, is shocking 

    Life or death stakes are present; violence is always a possibility

    External conflict

    Present but limited; story focus is on development of romantic relationship 

    Big external conflict that shapes development of romantic relationship


    Hot Encounter stories span a range of subgenres within the contemporary romance bucket. This is not an exhaustive list of subgenres for Hot Encounter, but these are some of our most popular. 


    Workplace romances are set in a variety of workplaces, though they’re usually offices. The central thing here is that the characters work together and have to see each other all the time. This both brings them together and provides a source of conflict to their developing relationship. The appeal is that they are stuck together because of work, and this is what shapes their developing romance. 


    Billionaire can overlap with Workplace, but it doesn’t have to. In the Billionaire subgenre, the emphasis is on the fantasy of wealth and luxury, of having every need taken care of. There is usually a power differential between leads, with one being very wealthy and the other not. 


    In Sports romance, the sports league provides external stakes for the characters to respond to and strive for. Winning or losing games/championships provides the external stakes that shape the romantic relationship. The fantasy of Sports romance is of getting with the hot jock that everyone wants. Usually these romances are between one professional professional player and a regular person, though we sometimes see two professional players getting together. 

    College/New Adult

    New Adult romance features big emphasis on self-discovery, becoming an adult, and normal early 20s problems.  These characters are trying to figure out what they want to do with their lives, who they want to be as they grow into adulthood. These stories often feature a lot of firsts—first time being intimate with a partner, first time falling in real love, first time cohabitating with a partner. The appeal here is in the self-discovery of the main characters as they grow into themselves and into their relationship, and the relationship is emblematic of the characters becoming adults together. 

    Small Town

    Small town romances usually feature one character who is established in town and one who is new, or newly returned. Often one of the characters will have a manual job like farming, carpentry, or owning a restaurant. In Small Town romance, the town should be quirky and charming, and have a cast of memorable secondary characters who help or hinder the romance. The appeal here is the fantasy of the cozy small town where everybody knows your name and where romance can blossom outside the hectic pace of the big city. 

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