How to Write Pairings That Have Never Met
by Angel Jade
The biggest problem with pairings that have never met is that you, the writer, and every one else, the readers, have absolutely no idea whether the character’s would get on, clash, be attracted or repulsed by each other…it’s a question of judgement. And that wacky pairing you think is a match made in heaven, to some people, is about as enticing as watching a spin off about Kathy, the insane demon roommate from season four. It’s all down to opinion. And while ‘but they’d look so cute together’ might work for you, you need to convince everyone else why a relationship based on ‘looking good together’ would be a workable one.
So lets start with your reasons. Common interests, personalities and the kind of people each character likes to be with. Who has each character had a relationship with, had sex with, crushed on…? Buffy dated Riley, therefore it’s not completely off the wall to assume she’d date Graham too, considering their personalities are very similar. Xander kissed Willow once upon a time, Fred isn’t so different from Willow, so would the same incentive be there if the characters actually met? But don’t let that be the only way to decide your pairing is suited, it’s not enough to base your fiction around.
Your characters don’t have to get on. Clashing personalities does not mean they can’t end up happily ever after. Spike and Xander, one of the most popular pairings in slash, don’t get on at all and still, hundreds of writers have managed to write them convincingly. How? Well, it’s all down to three things. Events, timing and writing. When characters are thrown into a dangerous situation, anything can happen. Likewise, being drunk can get you doing things you might not even think about while sober. That pairing, however unlikely, can be brought together realistically with the right events leading up to it. Timing is also very important. What are the characters going through when you want to set your fic? Think Season five ‘The Body’ is a great place to start a romance between Buffy and another character? Think again. Personalities change a lot through out the series. Buffy and Willow especially have changed a great deal from their season one selves. Buffy from season three would not have dreamt of sleeping with Spike, chip or no chip. You have to remember that the events of the series have shaped who each character is, so you have to think carefully about the best time to place your fic for your characters to get on as well as possible. And finally, writing. An obvious one, but if you think about it, the most powerful. You control what each character is going to say, how they’re going to react and who they feel attracted to. Saying that, there needs to be a balance. You can’t have the characters reacting exactly how you want them to, because you’re going to lose your characterization. Speaking with the same words a character uses is not enough; it has to be the kind of thing they’d say. If Spike flirted with Fred and suggested going upstairs for some naughty action, Fred would not (under normal circumstances) say, “Sure, sounds like fun.” However easy it makes it for your characters to say what you want them to say, it’s not going to win you any characterization points. At all times you need to stay in your characters heads and think, would Fred really say that?
Now you have your reasons, your chemistry and your pairing. All you need to add is a plot (or not if the case may be) and you have your fiction. Just remember these simple things. Love at first sight is not realistic, love takes time. Characters that have never met need to get to know each other first, and one short bonding session won’t be enough for them to declare love. Sexual attraction will get characters into bed with each other, but no relationship can last on it. Ability to talk to each other, trust and friendship have to play a part. Keeping these in mind, take those characters and show everybody why they would be so perfect for each other.