Friday, November 20, 2020

Putting Chemistry on the Page

Given the title, you probably expected a "show / don’t tell" kind of post, but not today. πŸ™‚ Instead, I'm going with a feedback list.

The other day I posted a question on social media. I wanted to know readers’ favorite ways to read/experience chemistry on the page. That build up of tension between the hero/heroin in a romance novel that makes you keep turning the pages.

I got some great answers, so thought I’d start a list. That way when I get stuck or feel like I’m repeating myself, I’ve got a resource. So here we go, favorite chemistry moments in romance:

  • The moment when they’re eyes meet and they connect for the first time.
  • The way they avoid each other, even though they are attracted to one another, but still have to be in the same room or elevator.
  • The first casual touch. It doesn’t have to be sexual. (But not a handshake) It can be as innocent as a hand on the arm, or a hand on the lower back to guide them.
  • Where you can tell they really, really want to kiss, but neither will make the first move. Then they’re interrupted and the moment is gone, but they’re both just SMOLDERING.
  • That “will he/won’t he” moment when you’re hoping he will.
  • When they’re laughing and then the chemistry kicks in and they stop abruptly
  • That shared joke or inside piece of information that no one else in the room knows about, but you see them connect over it.
  • When they share a vulnerability, fear, or experience that builds intimacy and connection.
  • When the other person sees more than everyone else.
  • Becoming hyper-aware of each other. Both physical – the sweep of her neck, the way she blushes, his strong forearms, and personal – the way she’s nice to everyone, how he defended her when he didn’t need to.
  • A feisty dialogue exchange where the underlying tension just screams through both words and actions
  • Their inner thoughts reveal that they both WANT but can’t HAVE, but still WANT

Okay – that’s what came from Facebook and Twitter (and me lol). What else? Help me add to it!


Nancy Gideon said...

What a great list!! I'm saving this for one of those scene that just needs more understated sizzle.

Maureen said...

Love this list!

Diane Burton said...

Great list.

Mary Morgan said...

Yesss! I love all of these, Abigail! It's what I strive for in my writing and what I want to read in a story. It's that "tug-of-war" of emotions lifting off the page.