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In case any of my friends or family members actually read this Blog, please consider all Names, Characters, Places and Incidents to be the product of the author's imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales are entirely COINCIDENTAL...Muaaah!! Now, really, about me: I bring the crazy wherever I go, so I've been told...I make fun of myself more than anyone else ever could. I hate: the awkward silence in elevators, watches with no numbers, picky eaters, Cancer and legalism. I love: coffee, stalking Hugh Jackman, my Spanx, COMMENTS, sarcasm and writing: Middle Grade, NA, YA Paranormal and Urban Fantasy.

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Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Insecure Writer's Support Group: Character Chemistry

It's the first Wednesday of March. You know what that means. If you don't know what that means, you need to hustle on over to  Alex J. Cavanaugh's blog asap and check it out. Welcome to the  Insecure Writer's Support Group!

My topic this month is Character Chemistry-  Just like in the real world it's pretty apparent when that spark between two people is there or it's not. When it's there, ZAP! It hits you like lightening.  If the chemistry between two characters is well written, the reader can't help but get sucked in and vested in the relationship too. A reader (like me) will find themselves  zooming through a hundred pages in what seems like a couple of minutes, without even realizing it. And there is just no way you won't go running out and purchasing or downloading the sequel, you HAVE to know what happens between character X and Z, right?  But on the flip side of that, when there's zero chemistry between two characters, nothing stalls a romance faster. Talk about boring! It's the equivalent of being on a date with someone you feel no interest in.  Wicked uncomfortable, right?

My fellow insecure writers, what do you do when you feel like things are just not working between your characters?  How do you turn it up a notch? Personally, I'm a huge fan of writing exercises.  Sometimes, the right one, can really help you out of a slump. And honestly, even if they don't particularly help, I don't think the practice could ever hurt. Does anyone know of any other techniques/suggestions to help light up that chemistry? 

What two characters come to mind when you think of INSTANT CHEMISTRY?
Oh my gosh I have so many! But some of my favorite couples who have chemistry in spades:
*Mac and Barrons, Karen  Marie Moning
*Cat and Bones, Jeaniene Frost
*Rose and Dimitri, Rochelle Mead
*Grace and Sam, Maggie Stiefvater
*Karou and Akiva, Laini Taylor
*Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester, Bronte

What about tele shows? People will tune in week after week just to see what happens between the main characters wondering if or when they will ever hook up:
*Buffy and Angel (OK,  maybe it  didn't work out so well for her when she hooked up with Angel, but its still one of my favorite episodes)
*Bones and Booth (I realize this is kind of like listing Angel twice. Just consider it a David Boreanaz squared bonus.)
*Scully and Mulder
*Carrie and Mr. Big

Don't read or write romance? That's OK friends- drop  me a comment about who your favorite couples are from tv and/or the movies and why.  For those of you who do write romance, have you ever had the chemistry stall between your characters? How did you write you way out of it? I'd love to know~ Jaybird

38 comments:

  1. Carrie and Mr. Big are a great example. You can't help being mesmerized by what they say and do. I love when characters behave in ways I never could or say things I never would.
    Karen

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    1. Hi Karen-Who knew what would happen between those two? I had to watch, just to see what would pan out between them in the end.

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  2. I like to write characters who either hate each other at first, or fight a lot, or have a whole lot of conflict keeping them apart. It makes it that much better when they do get together. You have a lot of great couples listed here.

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    1. That's how I like to write my characters too. Kind of like me and The Husband, lol We fight all the time but we always have great chemistry :)

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  3. I thought this post was about science heheehe! Glad it's not :D

    Just finished Daughter of Smoke and Bone and I loved it! Can't wait to see the movie in 2014.

    Lately I've been reading the Write Great Fiction series and it's helping me move forward more than anything else I've tired.

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    1. Ha! Oh my gosh no way I don't know jack about that kind of chemistry- LOL

      I absolutely LURVED Daughter of Smoke and Bone. Hope they don't ruin it with the movie adaptation. I will have to scream. Lots of my fav books get turned into poop that way.

      Thanks for the tip about Write Great Fiction Jen-I will definitely be reading it too.

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  4. Dr Peter Venkman and Dana Barrett.

    I can't even explain why. It's just there, and funny.

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    1. Can I tell you how awesome you are for naming those two? Yes, Dr. Peter Venkman and Dana Barrett had funny, phantasmic chemistry for sure!

      PS: Whenever I am standing in front of the New York Public library, all I can think of is that scene in Ghostbusters when they go screaming out the door and down those steps!

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  5. Interesting, I never think about the chemistry when I write. I guess I hope it exists. I admit that you certainly know when it's not there and it makes the whole story awkward.

    This did make me think about those most unforgetable couples. One of my favorites; Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy. I love that feisty misunderstand scenario that exists in their story.

    And, while I don't have TV today, I used to love the X-Files particularly because of the unique chemistry between Scully and Mulder.

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    1. I loved the X-files even though I'm a big chicken and sometimes the episodes would scare me and I would have alien nightmares, lol. But I always had to watch to see if Scully and Mulder would one day, hook up!

      Pride and Prejudice is one of my all time favorite books and movies. But only if it's the version with Colin Firth in it. None of the other ones count, for me. LOL

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  6. I wish I had an answer. I have been asking myself the same question...in the story I am working on, is that chemistry there? Because you are right, if it's missing, the story is dead no matter how well written.

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    1. I am wondering the same with my WIP. Is what I find sexy and interesting in my main characters going to resonate with my readers? What if it only works for me? Ugh. That reoccuring thought has been driving me nuts.

      Thanks for popping in and commenting Elizabeth!

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  7. While chemistry is tough to define, I think it's even tougher to portray in prose. My compliments to those who can do it well.

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    1. Hey Jeff! Seriously, it takes a lot of talent for someone to capture and properly articulate what's attractive. Especially since not everyone is attracted to the same things. Maybe (like me) it's intelligence and a sense of humor. But to someone else, maybe it's much more physical, like long blond hair and blue eyes.

      Thanks for commenting.

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  8. Do you remember that show Moonlighting? It was with Bruce Willis and Cybill Shepherd? I was a tween when it was on and it taught me everything I knew about chemistry for at least five years :)

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    1. Do I ever! Lord have mercy those two were smoking on screen. I wonder now (as an adult) if they ever hooked up in real life- because their chemistry was almost too good to be faking it, lol!

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  9. When I think of character chemistry, I can only dream of getting it right like they did in the old "Thin Man" movies.

    William Powell and Myrna Loy as Nick and Nora Charles had -the- best on screen chemistry I've ever seen in a movie....ever. I always keep them in the back of my mind when trying to measure character chemistry.

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    1. Nice! I think you may have just proved my point Mark because right away you were able to conjure a perfect image of chemistry to compare your characters to straight away.

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  10. I admit, I don't read or watch romance but I enjoy when characters in my thrillers all of a sudden spark a connection!

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    1. I love a good romance when it's thrown in somewhere I least expect it, like in the middle of one of my Sci Fi books. It's always a bonus when an author can take me by surprise like that.

      Thanks for commmenting and stopping by!

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  11. I don't really watch much romance....I'm a "western" kind of gal.....I love Miss Kitty and Matt Dillon!
    I love to write characters who don't have chemistry....at first. In fact, they may not even like each other at all. Then let it build!
    I love your posts my friend! Keep up the great work.
    Hugs
    Katt

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    1. Thanks so much for the encouraging words Kat!! I really, really appreciate it. Hugs right back at you girl!

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  12. I'll have to give this character chemistry some more thought. But I do think it is important.

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    1. I think any interaction between characters can be catagorized (even if it's loose) into some type of chemistry. With a friendship or a rivalry between characters, to me, couldn't that even be defined as some form of chemistry? IDK- what do you think?

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  13. I don't write romance, but for the chemistry between Byron and Athee in my last book, the spark was mutual admiration and annoyance. A fun combination!

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    1. That is a fun combination Alex! Makes for very interesting reading too.

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    1. Agreed! And that chemistry must be believable- or it can make or break the story.

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  15. I never necessarily notice the chemistry, but it's very obvious when it's missing!

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    1. It doesn't even necessarily need to be romantic, just two characters that "click" or "clash" still, must contain some kind of chemistry, right?

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    1. Most of the guys I know are not big fans- What genre do you read most Adam? Because I adore Sci Fi and sometimes I find the author will sneak a little romance in there along the way. (That's actually my fav kind of romance to read).

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  17. Well, when we wrote Slim, we weren't planning for there to be any kind of romance because we loved the idea of him fumbling up with women (while thinking he's a ladies man), but then I came up with Emmy, the blind woman who truly saw him, and it just kinda evolved into a love story. I wouldn't call it a romance novel, but I know that all of the women I've talked to that have read it always say they loved the love story. Maybe we have a future career in romance novels...?

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    1. Big shout out and props to the romance you created between my homeboy Slim and Emmy! I loved the way the romance slowly unfolded between those two. The chemistry was well done indeed. Who knows, maybe B&B should start turning out romance novels next!! That's not such a bad idea :)

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  18. I know this is sacrilege to some, but I like Buffy and Spike better than Buffy and Angel. My favorite couples in writing are Anne and Gilbert (Anne of Green Gables series), Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy, and Grace and Sam in Shiver. I know there are others, but those come to mind the most. And yes, my characters have chemistry issues sometimes and sometimes it is because I get myself too involved. I don't always love the moony, over-the-top, highly dramatic love affairs in fiction (including my own). I like the romance that is special and beautiful, challenging and bumpy, and not always dire (i.e., Edward and Bella's love affair put me off a lot because it was so angst ridden... though I did love the books). Once I step away, the characters do what is right for them and that works out right for the stories in my opinion. Great post!

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    1. Hi Julie! Welcome to the Bird's Nest. I'm so happy to *meet* you!

      I loved ALL of your comments- (1) I hear ya about Spike- he is epically awesome and one of my fav tv characters of all time. (2) Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy are high on my list of top ten best couples ever (3) I am always WAY too involved in my characters affairs as well, sometimes I can't even sleep until I've put their conflicts to rest-lol (4) If love isn't over the top, all-cosuming and dramatic, what good is it? :)

      Thanks for commenting!!



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  19. All your TV examples are from shows I don't watch! :( One of my favorite movie couples was Baby and Johnny on Dirty Dancing. :)
    I don't know if I have any good writing tips. The one thing I do is listen to a good romantic song, or think about when I first met my husband (so many years ago!) and try to remember what it felt like way back then in the beginning.

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    1. And here I thought I was chosing more mainstream tv shows that people could relate to! LOL How delusional am I? Truth be told, these shows are all old, (pre-kids for me) and off the air now. I actually don't watch much tv anymore. Probably because my head is almost always stuck inside a book!! LOL

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