Writer Wednesday: Using Chemistry To Define Character Relationships #writerwednesday #amwriting #science #IARTG

Yep, I’m talking about using chemistry, that good ol’ science requirement, to help define your characters relationships within your work-in-progress. Honest, it works!


First, here’s a bit of history regarding yours truly: my first (and some would say one true) love is science. I have a degree in environmental science, and am therefore well acquainted with the building blocks of that discipline, namely botany, biology, and our friend chemistry. Today we’re going to discuss denaturing. Here’s the definition according to Merriam Webster:

denatured; denaturing

  1. transitive verb
  2. 1:dehumanize

  3. 2:  to deprive of natural qualities :  change the nature of: such as a:  to make (alcohol) unfit for drinking (as by adding an obnoxious substance) without impairing usefulness for other purposes b:  to modify the molecular structure of (something, such as a protein or DNA) especially by heat, acid, alkali, or ultraviolet radiation so as to destroy or diminish some of the original properties and especially the specific biological activity.

Basically, when you denature something you alter it to a point that it becomes a different substance. A great example of this is when you bake a cake: when you have just the dry ingredients–flour, baking powder, cocoa, etc–you could (theoretically, with a very powerful microscope and very tiny and precise tools) separate all the ingredients out into their component parts. It’s really nothing more than a few types of powdered substances sitting in a bowl.

Once you add the wet ingredients, things get interesting. You could still separate the ingredients, but that’s fast becoming a Sisyphean task. Then comes the point of no return–you put the batter in the over and apply heat.

When heat acts upon the various ingredients and changes their chemical composition, that’s when denaturing happens. The components can no longer be separated out into the sum of their parts. The ingredients have been changed, and there’s no going back. This change is permanent.


Let’s take this concept and apply it to our characters. What forces have acted upon them? Have they merely been tossed into a situation with a few other characters, and will eventually emerge relatively unscathed? Or have you added heat in the form of an action or chain of events that will forever change them? These are important plot points that every author needs to consider in some form or another. After all, who wants to read 80,000 words about a few characters who stumble from one situation to another and never change their approach or outlook? That would leave your story devoid of character growth, and that would be a very bad thing indeed.

Chemistry: it’s not just for lab work.


Karina didn’t set out to free the Seelie Queen’s gallowglass. Now she’ll do anything to keep him.

Click to purchase—> http://amzn.to/2vKKEU9

After Karina and her brother, Chris’s, lives fall apart in separate yet equally spectacular ways, they leave New York behind and head to the UK. Karina buries herself in research for her doctoral thesis, all the while studiously not thinking about the man who broke her heart, while Chris—who’d been a best-selling author before his ex-fiancée sued him for plagiarism—drinks his way across the British Isles.

In Scotland, they visit the grave of Robert Kirk, a seventeenth- century minister who was kidnapped by fairies. No one is more shocked than Karina when a handsome man with a Scottish brogue appears, claiming to be the Robert Kirk of legend. What’s more, he says he spent the last few hundred years as the Gallowglass, the Seelie Queen’s personal assassin. When they’re attacked by demons, Karina understands how dearly the queen wants him back.

As Karina and Robert grow closer, Chris’s attempts to drown his sorrows lead him to a pub, and a woman called Sorcha. Chris is instantly smitten with her, so much so he spends days with Sorcha and lies to his sister about his whereabouts. When Chris comes home covered in fey kisses, Karina realizes that the Seelie Queen isn’t just after Robert.

Can Karina outsmart the Seelie Queen, or is Robert doomed to forever be the Gallowglass?


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