Saturday, June 5, 2010

Together or Just Almost

Do you wish for fairy tale endings where the man and woman fall in love and walk off into the sunset to live happily ever after?

Wait, I’m talking about in your favorite book and on your favorite TV show not real life. I’ve mentioned before that I only keep up with a few TV shows. A couple of those shows feature a male and female lead.

For the most part I can’t help but want these characters to get together. The chemistry is there, that spark that makes them work so well together (thanks also to the great writing team).

One example is on Castle. The characters of Detective Kate Beckett (Stana Katic) and mystery novelist Richard Castle (Nathan Fillion) have a yin and yang relationship. They build the case they are working off of each other and finish each other’s sentences.

You see the attraction grow between them, as well as see the jealousy rise when others get near. But yet, nothing has really happened between them.

Another example is on Bones. You have FBI Special Agent Seeley Booth (David Boreanaz) working with forensic anthropologist Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan (Emily Deschanel).

Their’s is a more complicated case because Booth has revealed that he loves Bones. You get the impression that she loves him but can’t show it.

In both shows, I’d love to see the main characters as a couple. However, I know that probably won’t work. It’s happened before. Does anyone remember Moonlighting? When Maddie and David got together the show lost it’s spark.

Is it the same way in books? I don’t think so. In romance books the lead man and woman always get together and they do live happily ever after. That’s one reason we read them. There may be twists, turns, complications and some heartbreak along the way but in the end they will be together.

With mysteries and thrillers it’s a little different, especially if there is a series involved. One such series that comes to mind is Cleo Coyle’s Coffeehouse Mystery series. Starting with the first book, protagonist Clare Cosi and Detective Mike Quinn have had an attraction to each other. With each book that attraction has grown until they are now dating.

I guess what it really all comes down to is the writing, especially with the TV shows. It’s that dialogue between the characters that draws our interest in. It’s their interaction that creates the spark that we’d like to see grow into a flame.

As a writer do you include a touch of romance in your work, even if it’s a murder mystery? Do you plan for your characters to become a couple or do they just work their way together?

Am I alone in wanting Bones and Booth, and Beckett and Castle to get together, but at the same time don’t want to lose any of either show’s spark?

BTW, thanks to everyone who commented on yesterday‘s post. The gift certificate seems to be the most popular choice of a product giveaway item. I’ll be checking into the matter and hopefully have something to report back soon.

Hope everyone has a wonderful Saturday. Be sure to check back tomorrow for Sunday Salon. My review will be on Emeril Lagasse's FARM TO FORK: COOKING LOCAL, COOKING FRESH cookbook that was just released June 1. The review will also include a couple of great recipes from the book. Be sure to share that smile again today. :)


  1. Mason - I remember Moonlighting very well, and yes, the show lost its spark when Maddie and David began to date. Your larger question - what about happy endings for couples - is an important one. On one hand, the reader does what characters to get together, especially if they are sympathetic characters. On the other, that's not always realistic. It can be cloying, too. The key is a strong plot, so that if there is a happy ending, it fits in.

  2. I think for TV shows it is a matter of suspense. If they let the characters get together, it ruins something, so they have to keep hinting and teasing, giving just enough to keep people wanting more.

    With books I like a much more satisfactory 'get together'!

  3. What an interesting post - I never thought about the fact that in TV shows, they tend to keep the couple apart as long as possible to increase tension, whereas in books, there seem to be more happy endings, although I guess it depends on the genre.

    I think Margot's point is excellent - as long as the plot, is strong and the characters well-developed, a happy ending won't feel cloying or overdone.

  4. I like books with happy endings, but not if they seem too formulaic and predictable. I like books with sad endings if they don't seem contrived.

    I don't watch TV.

    I just finished "To Kill a Mockingbird," a reread for me, and boy was that good. No romance though.

    I like romance. I like it a lot, but I don't find it necessary. That is, I enjoy books without it as well.

  5. Mason, I am reading your post and something hit me; in movies, I want the characters to walk away into the moonlight and live happily ever after, but if a book ends that way, I tend to get annoyed or feel the author did not put enough effort into thinking up a unique ending. Strange why I would feel one way for movies and another for books. Something I need to think about.

    Thanks for getting the brain working so early in the morning today! Lisa

  6. I think suspense in a possible romance between characters is very exciting. But I am in agreement that even though we might want them to get together, if they do, the story might lose some of its excitement.

    Isn't it funny that even in life it's more about the chase than the capture.

    Have a great Saturday too.

  7. I don't have to have a fairy tale ending in my books or TV shows, but I've been lucky enough to have one in real life.

  8. OMGosh! Love Bones and have always wanted them together. Now it breaks my heart that Booth finally said "I love you" but Brennan just can't reciprocate. The truth is that is her character. She has grown a lot, but when she grows enough to embrace that love that she does feel, the show will be over.

    That's what the show is about for me--Her growth from totally logical, unemotional robot to a human. :) Yeah, a little harsh, but you know what I mean.

    The sexual tension and the question of when, how, maybe even if Brennan learns to love is what keeps me watching.

  9. I can see, if you're writing a series, that you might eventually get your characters together. It changes the dynamics. (For the worse in the case of Moonlighting.) Plus, if they're attracted to each other, yet never hook up, it's a bit unrealistic after book 7.

    Straight From Hel

  10. I always enjoy the tension in these types of relationships, it adds a great dimension for the audience wanting something to happen, yet the writer almost toying with that desire. I don't mind if they get together, but love it when the plot twists and turns so much so that you don't know if it's possible!

  11. THat's a good question. In the mystery I'm writing, I have the two MCs having chemistry. I eventually want them to get together but I don't know when that will be. I'll leave that decision up to them...I'm just the writer.


  12. Those are 2 of my favourite shows as well. I definitely want the characters to get together, but the show's spark will definitely change if they do - those moments need to wait for the last season I think :)

    I always include a touch of romance in my books. Real life is always partially about relationships, so for me books have to be as well.

  13. I like all my books to have a happy ending whether it is a romance or a mystery. If there is a potential relationship, especially in a series, I like to see it grow and if the writing is good, then the romance won't lessen the series.

    However, if there is a relationship in a series and the author breaks them up, I will leave that series because I invested in that relationship.

  14. Margot, you're so right. Sometimes that happy ending really wouldn't be realistic.

    India, I agree the suspense or tension between the characters is one reason we love to watch shows.

    Ingrid, maybe we want the happy ending in books because most are just a one time deal. We know these characters won't be in another book so we want happiness at the end.

    Mary, I think some books have added romance that's really didn't need it.

    Lisa, you sound like me. I had just finished a book where the couple got together and then I watched an old episode of Castle. It got me to thinking about how the show would be if they became a couple.

    Teresa, there is something about that chase that creates spark. :)

    Bermudaonion, to have a fairy tale ending in real life is wonderful.

    Charity, you're right. That sexual tension between Bones and Booth does keep you going back for more. You keep hoping there will be at least a moment when they connect.

    Helen, I know there are some stories where they protagonist has been attracted to one person for several books and then changes to someone else. I guess that's a way to keep it fresh.

    Joanne, that tension with the twists and turns is what draws us back for more. You keep thinking surely this time it will be different. :)

    Clarissa, I like that. Letting the characters decide when to get together makes it more realistic and natural.

    Jemi, that's what I'm afraid of - that spark will go out or won't be as intense as it is now if they get together.

    Dru, it does hurt a series of the couple is separated. The new character would have to be written in well and there would have to be a great reason for the other character to be written out.

  15. I am sure you're not alone in wanting Bones and Booth and Becket and Castle!

  16. LOL! Considering all five of my YA books involve a male & female lead, I'd have to say I'm a big fan of romantic relationships. And happy endings. It's never perfect, either in my books or real life, but I'm living one, so I know it can happen.

  17. Laura, I'm sure you're right. :)

    Diane, it's great to know it can happen in real life not just in the movies and books.

  18. I like happy endings but it's risky for the series writer. It seemed to have worked for Deborah Crombie to get her two partners together but I think that Earlene Fowler's books lost something once her character and the detective tied the knot.
    Ann Summerville
    Cozy In Texas


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.