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Chemistry Dr. Frankenstein Would Be Proud Of

June 25, 2010

Great characters. Great chemistry.

That’s the concoction. You mix up the order, and then you’ve got a bread that doesn’t rise. If you’re not a baker, think of it this way: Even if you’re planning on writing a trilogy, it’s integral for the first novel, at least, to stand alone if necessary. The first novel creates interest, grabs the reader. The second complements the first and cultivates further reader interest. (If you’re not a writer or a baker, you’re out of luck.) When it comes to characters and chemistry, the same is true. Characters have to be well-developed, three-dimensional, and intriguing. If I’m not interested in them, if I’m not rooting for them, than chemistry is moot. Actually, the chemistry is unlikely to be that… chemistry-y.

Take for example, Richard Castle and Kate Beckett (above). I’m hooked on the TV show Castle (by the way: Castle’s an author!), and a majority of the credit goes to the characters. They are fantastic. Standing alone, I would watch the show. However, their chemistry complements each of them. They are at their best when bickering with each other. Those characters can hold their own. If the episode isn’t all great, the mystery lacking in a few areas (which usually doesn’t happen), I will remain glued to the television screen solely to watch their banter.

The point of those two paragraphs (and this one, actually)? – Great characters are the priority. Chemistry complements them. And great characters tend to breed grade-A chemistry.

Some characters hit it off right away. From page one or the pilot episode, you’re certain that the show/book will be amazing, if only for the characters. Examples:

  • Castle and Beckett, as mentioned earlier. From minute one, you either love or are interested in  both of them. They’re multi-faceted to the extreme, yet there’s something predictable about their movements because, as a viewer, I feel I know them. Because they’re well rounded and incredibly real, their chemistry feels more natural. It rolls off of them effortlessly, and it’s a joy to watch. Side Note: I firmly believe that Castle should by my uncle on my Rex side and that Beckett should be my aunt on my mom’s. I’m absolutely certain.
  • Hermione and Ron. Even as friends, did you realize how perfect they were? Immediately, they “clicked.” They could be irritated with each other or laughing together (and, you have to admit, they were usually irritated with each other), but it always worked. However, when they were alone with Harry, they could hold their own. They were entertaining and lovable individually, but together they were magic. (Forgive the pun.)

I can’t remember when I mentioned this before, but at some point, I said that love interests have to be as interesting as the main character, and vice versa. If one or the other is lacking, I feel the interesting one was swindled and I was cheated as a reader. On the other hand, it’s unbelievable if someone intriguing and clever falls in love and is content with a dimwitted person. How would they ever carry on a conversation? Where’s the satisfaction?

It’s the great characters that makes the complementary great chemistry believable, or possible for that matter. There is nothing fun about watching one character talk down to their counterpart. They can’t banter cleverly if they aren’t on equal ground.

I love it when I read or see something that gets everything right. The characters are fantastic and stand under the pressure of my skepticism, the writing is superb, and the chemistry between one character and the other enhances the entire experience.

P.S. Wow. This post sounds so dry. It’s the thought that counts! I took a two week break, too, so I’m kind of rusty.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 26, 2010 8:00 AM

    Great post! I loved Ron and Hermione too! And what you said about love interests and equal ground is spot on. You don’t sound rusty at all. ^_^

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