Advice from the Archives: 5 Things Romantic Conflict Provides

In today’s post from our Archives, we share the many benefits of creating romantic conflict, a key building block of great romance!

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’s five reasons why romantic conflict fuels the relationship in your story.

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

The Notebook - Soulmate GIF | Couples, I love you animation, How to fall  asleep

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. 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!

4 replies on “Advice from the Archives: 5 Things Romantic Conflict Provides”

Even though this post is from the archives it is still staunch advice. Torture the two main characters and make them overcome all obstacles to fall in love = HEA. That’s what the H&H’s unseen goals are in the first place, BUT they have to learn about it, almost lose it, cave in and accept it, and fight for it. Yes, I love conflict. 🙂

I agree.
#4 Conflict does add richness to a story.
Now in all seriousness, why do many cozy romance and movies forget to remove the “obvious” misunderstandings that populate them.
I am reminded of a wonderful movie with a good premise. All for Love.
Two critiques I have with it.
1) The misunderstanding is too late in the movie to be of use (heroine romance writer sees hero Navy captain instructor/source reference speaking with another woman (Not what it looks like at all)
2.) While much of the movie is about the writing process and partial publishing process, I would have enjoyed it more if they “showed” the scenes that they quarreled about….
“How would you do it then?…”
The funniest line in the movie is the captain’s declaration of his feelings about the heroine to her boss (agent/publisher/his sister) and her response.
“Thomas, you’re sounding like a romance novel…” Hint Hint!

Will a Harlequin series ever include conflicts in relationship faced by older characters? Wouldn’t it be exciting to read about romance between people older than forty. Romance happens throughout life.

I would love to see older characters being the main characters. Senior Moments would be a great line.

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