This week: What Causes the Conflict?Edited by: Dawn Embers
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Romance/Love Newsletter by Dawn
Questioning conflict in romance and the source of troubles. Conflict is an important element and even when the focus is on the known aspect of two people coming together in a relationship, there has to be something in order to make a story develop
This is a bit of a broad topic, but I want to go back and talk once again about a key story element. This is big for all stories, not just romance. However, I find at times, in particular with ones that have very limited word counts, there can be a tendency to set this one the backburner a little and as a judge and writer, I'm going to recommend not doing that when writing romance here. For some this may be obvious. Still, I'm going to write this newsletter about it: don't forget conflict.
Conflict is important for a number of reasons and I'm not going to go into detail over that or what qualifies. The basic deal is that even when a story is less than 800 words, what helps to get a readers attention and make it a story is the problem that surfaces. Sure, it's nice to read that something nice happened to a random character but really, the end result is a snapshot but not quite as substantial as many readers want to experience. We want to see a struggle, to have a bit of doubt then reach that satisfaction. But it doesn't have to be big. We're not talking epic fantasy here where an entire world or way of life is in jeopardy.
So, where can we find the conflict in a romance story?
There can be a number of chances, most of which will surround the main character, in particular the point of view one. Part of what many readers enjoy with the genre is how personal the stories can feel. It's intimate and close to read about how people fall in love. So, the problems within a story can be very personal for the character. It can be an issue of being a relationship. Or it can be something external that makes it difficult for them to be in a relationship.
Sure there are some common conflicts too. Questions of fidelity, doubt and the classic miscommunication (if only they had talked to each other instead of getting wires crossed and blowing things out of proportion). However, sometimes with a limited word count it's hard to get certain types in while making it believable and still allowing the satisfying end the reader desires. Then again, that's the trouble of short fiction in general and why I stick more to novels.
Still, there are ways to still give problems and conflict with romance/love short stories. The character can have personal issues that aren't related to the relationship but instead get in the way of their own happiness. Or there can be external forces, other people, situations and the like that are obstacles for the couple.
Overview: while romance is about the couple falling in love, it is still a genre that needs conflict. Personal conflict in particular and a closeness to the main character can make for an interesting story. What problems does your couple face within the confines of their story? Let us know.
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What causes the conflict in your romance story?
Back in the end of February, I wrote a Romance/Love newsletter about the unexpected romantic. It pointed out the potential for a romantic character in someone we might not expect, like those figures known from history for different parts of their lives. Here is a comment sent on the topic:
Comment by Kimbug
It's hard to imagine Adolf Hitler or Idi Amin as romantic (gag!) as heinous as they were as leaders. I would think that the lack of romantic involvement for each would cause them to behave as they did. That might be an interesting topic to explore.
- That is a good example of someone we don't really think about as romantic. I remember after a while people were using Hitler in argumentation as a reference to try and prove your point wrong so often the counter argument became about how Hitler might like cookies, so if we like cookies are we like Hitler. Even some of the people who are considered the worst have positive sides and moments. And people act in different ways for varying reasons we don't always know.
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