How to Craft Romantic Chemistry Between Characters

Kristen Keiffer

As both a reader and a writer, I am a big fan of romance.

I love the unique tension and allure that exists within a love story, the will-they-or-won’t-they mystery that leads to such great page-turning material. But that material can’t exist without strong romantic chemistry between the characters in question (as evidenced by many a lackluster rom-com, right?). And unfortunately, chemistry isn’t exactly easy to define or to craft.

Though I don’t write within the romance genre myself, romantic subplots are a staple in my personal brand of storytelling. So today, I’m going to share with you everything I’ve learned about crafting romantic chemistry readers can believe in.

But what exactly is romantic chemistry?

To craft a believable romance, it’s important to first define what romantic chemistry is. Or rather, what it isn’t.

Romantic chemistry isn’t physical attraction. Just because two people are physically interested in one another doesn’t mean that romance will blossom between them. However, an immediate physical attraction can encourage people to get to know one another better (no innuendo intended — wink!). This, in turn, can lead to a deeper attraction that may result in romance.

It’s important to note this difference between romantic chemistry and physical attraction for several reasons. Firstly, conflating these two types of attraction erases the existence of asexual people, many of whom feel romantic attraction despite a lack of sexual desire. For asexual people (and even some sexual people), romantic chemistry can exist without physical attraction.

Secondly, relying solely on physical attraction to build romantic chemistry between characters will always result in a shallow, lackluster love story. People don’t fall in love simply because they find one another sexy. That’s lust. And while lust can lead to a similar will-they-or-won’t-they tension and erotic passion, it doesn’t make for a love story. Not on its own.

So what is romantic chemistry?

We’ve all heard romantic chemistry defined as a “spark” between two people, and this definition isn’t wrong. Romantic chemistry is an energetic exchange between people that indicates that romance could exist between them.

Like all relational chemistry, a key ingredient in romantic chemistry is attraction, the pull that interests one person in another. But the types of attraction that create romantic interest will vary from person to person. In fact, there are four main types of attraction that you can use to craft a romantic profile for your characters. Let’s take a look: See More . . . 


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