I write romance. I read romance.* From both points, it’s all about that undeniable chemistry between the two main characters.

There are arguments spread out across the board on novels:
It’s about the plot!
It’s about the prose!
It’s about the characters!

Thing is, it’s all of those rolled into one. Each of the above needs to be present, whether or not one element stands above the others, and each of them stems from one thing:
The writing.

The character chemistry is no different. And it isn’t always about meeting the hottest guy/girl in the entire town. Nor does it have to be about a literal jolt of sparks, or amazing monkey sex.  But it has to be something. 

Chemistry also has to be shown quickly. It can be something small that sets it off, like a shared interest in music or hobbies that gets them talking and ignites it. Or it can be that literal jolt from touching. But if something doesn’t gel, from early on, the reader won’t feel much of a spark when, all of the sudden, out of nowhere, two people are in lust then, ultimately, love. 

There are tried and true tropes: hate to love, where the initial chemistry is shown through aggression of some sort before boiling over to desire; friends to lovers, where long-term friends already have a camaraderie that builds through a slow burn; long-lost lover, where old flames reconnect with an immediate reigniting of the old spark… and so on.

My favorite thing, which isn’t necessarily a trope—but can be, is a meet cute. I am a sucker for a, um, cute meet-cute. Do you have a favorite romance trope?

*I read lots of genres, but not in the vast quantities I consume the lurve stories. 

LAST CALL (Tara Watson)


[My ex-husband hung up and I lifted the phone to text my older kiddo.]
Scott was probably out with his girlfriend by this time on a Friday night. If I called, he’d be sure to give a lecture that would put his father to shame. Another future lawyer: just what our family—and the world—needed. I tapped Tyler’s name instead. At the same time, the sticky mat under my feet vanished. Both of my heels slid over the slick tile, my left not stopping. I twisted my right ankle, tumbling backward and flailing out to grab hold of some anchor.
I sunk fingernails into something soft and warm.
“Crap.” The word huffed out as my back hit the ground and I lost half my breath. A weight crushed my chest and claimed the rest of the air from my lungs. My head hit the rubber floor mat and bounced. Smack into a very hard part of the thing that had landed on top of me.
My hand flew to cover my stinging nose and I squeezed down the tears that leapt into my eyes.
“I’m so sorry,” said a deep male voice from above.


Elephant's Child said...

'Falling for you' in action.
My favourite books are hard to categorise, and refuse to be confined to any one genre.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That sounded painful.
Hopefully chemistry is she tries his patience and his aloofness intrigues her. Because that's what I wrote.

Tara said...

I love books like that, EC--they're usually some of my favorites.

Alex, I hope so. Cause flip that around and you've got the above story that I wrote. ;-p

Deniz Bevan said...

I love meet cutes, too. Now that I think about it, I've written a slow build up (Rosa and Baha), two hate to loves (Ayten and Devran, and Alice and George), and quite a few love at first sights. I hope I'm making the latter believable.
One thing I *don't* like much is characters eager to jump into bed but that save the "I love you" for the ending. It doesn't seem right or realistic, somehow. Except in Pretty Woman [bg]

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love good chemistry between characters and am just starting to try to write some in a YA fantasy. Not sure that I could pull off a true romance novel.