As you all likely know (since you’re here), I like writing romance into my books. It just makes a book feel more… well-rounded. After all, the vast majority of people want companionship, even in the most trying times.
Hell, especially in trying times.
But writing romance isn’t as simple as just throwing two attractive characters together and writing a scene with them kissing. That works for a one-off sex scene or a continuing, strictly sexual relationship.
But if you’re writing romance, chemistry is important.
There needs to be a reason for them to get together. Something has to draw them together.
So, today we’re discussing how to write good (aka believable) romance.
It all comes down to your characters and their personalities. (Yeah! More psych stuff!)
To write truly good chemistry, you have to know what your character is looking for in a partner.
And a lot of that comes down to what people think of themselves.
People have a tendency to seek out people who embody qualities they either like about themselves or wish they possessed.
An introvert who’s tired of always failing to reach out might like an extrovert because they admire that outgoing spirit and wish they could be more like them. Or if they’re sick of being pressured to go out and do more social things, they might like a fellow introvert because they understand the desire to stay in or the social anxiety and the overthinking that plagues them.
Extroverts might flock to other extroverts so they can go party all the time with a kindred spirit. Or if they’re starting to feel reckless and foolhardy, they might seek someone more reserved as a sort of balancing act. Maybe they admire the thoughtful nature of someone who spends all their time thinking through all the possible outcomes of every situation.
So, you’ll need to analyze the personalities of your characters. What do they like about themselves? What do they hate about themselves? Drop them in a room with someone who embodies the former and stands in contrast to the latter, and they’ll probably feel a spark.
But there’s more to it than that. That initial spark only goes so far. We’re capable of analyzing ourselves and our motives, as well as the motives of others.
Which complicates things.
To a degree, most people look for someone with similar values. At least, when it comes to the things that are most important to them.
The vast majority of people don’t want to spend all their time arguing with their partner.
If they’re a passionate rebel who genuinely hates the leaders of the realm, they probably won’t fall for the leader of the realm.
They might, but it’s going to come down to some SERIOUS character development, plot lines, and world building to overcome something like that. (Maybe the leader is being blackmailed, maybe they’re being controlled via magic, maybe they just don’t know the effects their actions are having on their people and come around to the cause after learning about it. Maybe the rebel learns that the leader is justified in their actions, sparing the people some greater hardship that they just aren’t aware of until they get close to the leader.)
Similarly, a devout, evangelical christian probably isn’t going to fall in love with an atheist who openly looks down on religious folks. They might. But it’s going to take some serious work on your part to write them together.
But all bets are off when it comes to self-sabotage.
And since that leaves the realm of chemistry and romance, I’ll leave that for next week.
Now, if you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been making shit tons of progress since getting laid off work.
A Heart of Salt & Silver is off for proofreading, and I been designing merch for it. I started another round of edits on Allmother Rising and started writing a dark romantic thriller this week. I have the prologue and a couple chapters written.
And even though I thought I knew the general premise of the entire story, the characters are developing a little differently than expected. As per usual.
But that just keeps it interesting.
Come back next week for another update and for some tidbits about writing a self-sabotaging character. Follow me on social media (links below) for more updates, memes, and cat pictures.
Keep reading. Keep writing.