What is chemistry?
Chemistry between your characters, just like humans, involves an undeniable and uncontrollable connection.
It’s what makes your readers want to keep reading. They want to see if your characters will end up together and the journey they face.
Here’s the trend I’ve notice with romance novels:
I love romance novels and I read them all the time. I’ve came up with a sequence of events that nearly all of them follow.
The first encounter is not always a good one. And that’s because it doesn’t have to be. The author has the whole story to create the love. Not every story has to be love at first sight.
The Second Meeting:
I’ve noticed the second meeting to be more positive or neutral in terms of moving the story forward romance wise.
Of course it changes per story but the second meeting the characters are a lot more relaxed in their mind and they have a better idea of what to expect when they see the other character.
Attraction: No matter how good or bad the first meeting is the attraction level between the characters were always vibrant and present whether the characters liked it or not.
First Kiss: Usually “takes both characters by surprise” but deep down they both want to have the kiss.
I find this part sweet because it showing a little bit of the love growing inside the characters.
This brings me to the next thing to usually happen…
The Almost Love Scene: This scene is usually sure to happen at some point. The characters are alone, or try to be, and things are getting hot until they are interrupted by a phone call, a person, a doorbell…anything to pose a distraction.
I really like these scenes. Not because I can predict when they’re going to happen because I can’t. I like them because the characters realize just how much the other person wants them sexually.
Love Scene: It’s just a satisfying part for both the readers and the characters and it’s crossing into a new part of the story. No longer is the focus so much on getting to the sex but rather a solid relationship.
Fight Scene: At some point in a romance story the climate is a big fight between the lovers. Either a secret is revealed, a misunderstanding happens, they doubt their relationship would work, etc.
The fight scene lets you know that the story is near ending and as soon as they resolve the story is over. Climax=>Resolution
This is when your main characters finally make up and presumably live happily ever after. Of course if you writing a series then this may be delayed but for the most part for a romance novel this is the happy ending conclusion.
So how do you create this chemistry?
Now that you know how I see romance novels’ structure let’s talk about the characters’ actual relationship.
Here are 7 ways to create chemistry between your characters:
1. Create a reason why your characters can’t be together right away
This could be an emotional issue such as being scared of commitment or family issues such as a strict father or that one character is already spoken for.
2. Provide a strong uncontrollable attraction
What is a good romance without the heavy, hot passion the characters feel for each other. Your characters have to feel an emotional and physical attraction to each other to create a constant reminder that they want the other character sexually.
This can drive your story forward because you’re creating something your characters want.
3. Promote their differences as well as their similarities
Don’t portray the hero and heroine as perfect idols meant for each other and completely dehumanized. People are different from each other no matter how similar they may appear to be. Don’t treat your characters like perfectly bonded robots.
Share your characters’ differences as well as their similarities to create a more balanced couple that appear realistic and relatable.
4. Create a connection, hold, bond, obligation, anything that keeps the two seeing each other again and again
After the first meeting you have to give your characters a reason why the two of them keep coming across one another.
This could be something simple like attending the same school, working the same job, living in the same neighborhood.
Or it could be more complex like being a bodyguard, being in a legal situation or part of a big project.
This is where your creativity comes in and what can make you stand out as a writer.
Here are some examples from books I’ve read;
A Crazy Kind of Love by Maureen Child, they can’t get rid of each other because they both want to buy the same house.
Simply Sensual by Carly Phillips, the bond was being in the same neighborhood and him being secretly assigned to “look after her”.
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, the bond was high school because both characters had to show up there and sit next to each other in science class whether they liked it or not.
5. Take advantage of the time your characters spend together; make it count
Now that you’ve got this chance to bring your characters together take baby steps to moving them to liking each other more and more.
Don’t jump the gun too fast and have them sleeping together in the next two scene. You want to create suspense for your reader. You know, something that makes them want to keep reading further and further.
Take your readers on your characters journey and let them see why your characters should be together.
Remember that love is more than physical but also an emotional connection that develops over time.
6. Let them argue
Allow your readers to see how your characters interact when they’re mad at each other.
If they can get past a fight or two and still stay strong because of their love it’s a very good sign to your readers that they can make it through anything.
7. Allow them to change
The novel is a journey your characters take and they must grow. You can have your romance characters grow and change together as the story unfolds.
If your characters fight with each other, let them resolve their issue before the story ends. (unless it’s a series like Fifty Shades of Grey) This must to resolve all issue is for stand-alone novels.
Even so, at the end of the series the characters should have reconciled their differences if it is a romance novel.
Bring it all together: Actionable tips
1. Take a notebook and pen and write down two opposite characters. What are their names, where do they live, what are their limitations, what are their skills?
2. Write down 5 ways these characters can meet.
3. Write down how each character are attracted to the each other.
4. Write down what they are hesitant about or any obstacle that keeps them from being together.
5. Take your notes and look over them again and again then close your eyes and picture the story unfolding in your head.
6. Get to know your characters before they can start getting to know one another.
7. Free write for fifteen minutes and include your characters meeting and the “bond” that keeps them interacting with each other.
8. Share your thoughts or what you’ve created in the comments.
How do you create chemistry? What are some things you’ve noticed in the romance trend? Please share your thoughts, I would love to hear from you.