I watched the Academy Awards last night. Funny enough, the three hour celebration of film and acting had me thinking about character chemistry. I'll tell you why.
Co-hosts Anne Hathaway and James Franco had little to no chemistry. Outside of a fabulous opening three minute montage celebrating the year's best films, they fizzled. Badly. They couldn't time joke delivery, they seemed awkward (especially in the case of Franco) and over enthusiastic (especially in the case of Hathaway). I literally thought that if these two were characters in a book, I probably wouldn't continue reading.
On the other hand, Robert Downy Jr. and Jude Law came out for a brief award presentation. They had me laughing, leaning closer to my television, and I even pushed rewind to catch something I'd missed. Talk about great chemistry!
This is what I strive for in my writing, taking characters and making everyone pay closer attention. So how do we do it? I'd like to paraphrase something I heard from Sarah Eden during a Writing Excuses podcast at LTUE (and even though she was speaking about romance, I think the idea applies to all relationships). She said that in order for a relationship to work and feel fulfilling, each individual must compliment something lacking in the other person.
So tell me, how do you do this in your writing?