5 Reasons to Love Romantic Conflict!

We editors strive to relay the importance of romantic conflict. After reading umpteenthousand books, we just know that the key to long-lasting romance novel love is the delicious brewing of angst between your hero and heroine. I mean, things are never perfect in romance, are they? To make this point more clearly, here are some visuals, which we hope will bring home why romantic conflict fuels the relationship in your story.

1. Without conflict, your hero and heroine would spend 250 pages doing this…

I mean, good for them, but well, I have laundry to do. Give me conflict before the HEA! Make them fight for the happy ending.

2. Conflict builds character. You know that annoying adage that hardship builds character? There is truth to that. Conflict adds layers to your hero and heroine. If they had led harmonious lives, why would we want to read about them? They would be writing self-help books telling us how to lead perfect lives. Right?

3. Conflict creates a bond between you and the character. We all go through stuff. How great is it to see someone else suffer and know that you’re not alone? I adore heroines who truly never expect to get more than what they already have. And those good heroines go through a lot and they are fighters. Doesn’t that make you want her to have an HEA?

4. Conflict adds richness to the story as a whole. Without it, you would have, well, not a romance novel that we could sell. The landscape would be colorless, instead of bursting in glorious shades of anxiety, courage, and redemption!

5. With conflict, the romantic payoff is huge! Those warm fuzzies you feel are even fuzzier when the hero and heroine overcome their resistance and bond like magnets.

So go out there and torture your characters. Give them a big can of angst and three bottles of determination against all odds. Your readers will thank you and ask for your next book!

5 replies on “5 Reasons to Love Romantic Conflict!”

Can you please clarify item 3, sentence 4? If a heroine doesn’t expect to get more than what she already has, does that mean she doesn’t have a goal? I’ve read so much about writing, some specific to romance, and some not, that I remain confused and feel I don’t “get” it after reading writing blogs and books for about three years now. I’ve read a character MUST have a goal before they meet the love interest, and I’ve also read the character can be drawn into the conflict, which sounds to me like the conflict created the goal where none existed before. Is this addressed in another article? I’m still really confused about the importance of an external goal in romance. To me, it seems that it often is just a device to throw the H & H into each other’s orbit. Then again, some authors say the external goal is how the internal goal is manifested. Please help. I’m a perfectionist, and I want to write, but I keep studying the craft hoping it will become second nature, but questions still abound. Also, my absolute favorite author doesn’t seem to follow the rules at all times, and I still adore her writing, and find myself returning to her books to re-read time and again because I can’t get enough of her stories. She must be doing something right. I want to do it as well as her, but that would be a huge accomplishment.

My goal in writing romantic conflict is what I’m looking for when I read a Romance genre novel. I need to *believe* that this couple is *capable* of living happily ever after. That’s a tall order in a society which seems to believe great nookie will magically transform a selfish jerk into a faithful mate.

To me, the “conflict” part is easy. The fact that no matter what you do to these two characters they will have HEA, means that you can fling them far away as you can from each other with circumstances, but no matter what happens, they WILL end up together. The hard part for me is creating a conflict both enthralling enough to turn pages, AND edifying enough that the romance can believably– and comfortably– endure after it.

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