Ooh, We Got Chemistry

By Shrout, Bill, Photographer (NARA record: 8464472) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

By Shrout, Bill, Photographer (NARA record: 8464472) (U.S. National Archives and Records Administration) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

My wife and I are catching up on season 4 of Suits. And while the personal morality of the characters makes me uncomfortable from time-to-time, the chemistry that the characters display is exquisite and uncanny. In episode 10 of season 4, there is a scene between Harvey and Mike in which they affectionately tease each other with a falsely insulting banter. As a storyteller and writer, I couldn’t help but notice the dialog and the skill with which it was written, directed and acted. Here’s a taste:

Mike: What took you so long?

Harvey: What are you the bathroom monitor?

Mike: Well, if I were, I’d say you’ve gone three times in the past hour.

Harvey: Yes, and this is our third drink.

Mike: You know they have medicine for that right?

Harvey: You saying I’m old?

Mike: Yes, but I’m also saying I know you haven’t been going to the bathroom.

Harvey: Alright. You want the truth? I’ve been calling Donna.

Mike: [sarcastically] Oh my God! That is so great! You guys finally decided to take the plunge…

Or, maybe you had to be there. But, I realized that this very human and very entertaining dialog is at the heart of good chemistry. This dialog and chemistry is often present in many of my favorites stories.

  • Richard Castle and compatriots in the TV Show Castle and in the companion novels.
  • Hadrian Blackwater and Royce Melborne in the Riyrian Revelations and related books by Michael J. Sullivan
  • Atticus and (of all things) his dog, Oberon in the Iron Druid Chronicles by Kevin Hearne
  • Lock Lamora and Jean in the Gentleman Bastard series by Scott Lynch.
  • Sherlock and Watson in BBC’s Sherlock.

I could go on. But the point is, this kind of character dialog is a big draw for me. If your stories have characters with this kind of chemistry, it’s likely that it will draw me in. And that’s the kind of chemistry I’d love to be able to put into my characters. But, it’s not easy. It’s not easy to create in the first place, but it’s even harder to maintain throughout a story. I dream of building these kinds of characters and chemistry in my stories.

What do you think? Do you like this kind of chemistry and dialog?

 

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