Read on for some useful tips on creating conflict from “The Guide To Writing Romance” online course:
Fourth Secret: Create conflict.Your characters may be irresistibly drawn to each other, but something must keep them apart.
You can’t construct a romance based on two people meeting, having a few happy times together – walks on the beach, going out with his friends (who all like her), meeting his mother (who approves) and finally tying the knot. What’s there to keep us reading?
The tension between the possibility of love and the threats to its success is what keeps us reading. Conflict doesn’t mean a few arguments and misunderstandings. If there’s a simple misunderstanding, your readers will wonder why the hell they don’t just speak to each other and clear it up.
And if they’re awful, cruel and far too arrogant with each other, we’ll hope they never do end up together.
The conflict must be considerable enough for us to fear they may never end up together. It could be that their emotional situations have set them at odds. Perhaps he finds it impossible to trust women or she has never been able to commit.
On the other hand, their goals and life plans may be in opposition and set them on a collision course. She’s the property developer, while he’s the biologist set on saving the habitat of a rare and endangered salamander.
Think back to the last romance you’ve read or romantic comedy you’ve seen. These might be the ones we prompted you to see in the last exercise. Or use a fresh lot. Why not? It is homework, after all.
Now, consider the tension that exists between hero and heroine. We know they ought to be together, but what holds them apart during the course of the story? Does it intensify? Is it darkest before the dawn? Just as you think it’s about to resolve, does another obstacle appear?