Monday, May 11, 2009

Monday, Monday

Working on: Revisions
Listening to: Il Divo, not sick of it yet.
Reading: Hawk's Way - Carter and Falcon

I am making little progress reading as Saturday night we had company and last night I was cursing at the sewing machine until 10 p.m. after which I promptly fell into bed.

Today I'm working on revisions - and already I'm excited about the changes. They are not big but they are significant as it really is bringing out some threads and minimizing others and making it shine. It is amazing how a line here or there or a small paragraph shifted can make such a big difference.

I also got an agent request this morning so that's good as well.

And head on over to the Harlequin Romance Author blog as there is a good news post that is guaranteed to make readers of Romance very happy. :-)

Before I dash out again I wanted to address Janet's question in Friday's comments. She said "In the Modern romance editor's top tips on the M&B forums, one of the tips is:"Ideally, construct two or three emotional conflicts that can be played out and resolved through your story". I took that to mean three related conflicts (all stemming from the core conflict?). Maybe one being the H's emotional conflict, another the h's. But what sort of thing would a third one be?"

Good question Janet and I'm following that thread on the M&B forum as well, so I'll be interested to see how Jenny responds to it.

I'm going to go back to the bit I wrote about The Rancher's Runaway Princess for a second. When I talked about central conflict, I said this:

Lucy doesn't disclose her true identity to Brody because she longs to feel at home at his Ranch and to be treated normally, not like a Princess. But when she starts having feelings for Brody she knows she should come clean, and if she does she knows that it will be over. Brody already doesn't completely trust her at the beginning but he too develops feelings, even though he's been burned by his exwife. And yet they need each other - she needs to broker this deal and he needs the alliance with her father. That's it. They need each other and if the truth comes out, it'll screw up everything.

So we have Lucy's and Brody's conflicts, that's two. But then there is another conflict that you'll find cropping up, and that is the conflict caused by the developing feelings for each other. That too creates a conflict because usually being together creates a problem for the first two conflicts. Lucy needs to broker the deal - but if he finds out she's been hiding who she is, the deal will be off. He needs the alliance. If he alienates Lucy, he stands to lose that. And then, OH MY, attraction shows up, and feelings, and gasp! LOVE. HOW INCONVENIENT. Because Brody is in Alberta and her life is in Marazur and they are worlds apart.

Take some of your favourite category romance novels and see if you can find the 2-3 strands of conflict.

Then my argument for core conflict would be this. Heroine's conflict + hero's conflict + the resulting conflict = core conflict. The problem with TOO much conflict is if you give any one of those elements too much.

Here's an example straight from my current revisions - my hero's conflict is really with himself and dealing with the changes in his life. But as a continuing thread I also have him dealing with his mum. Mum = too much conflict, because it detracts from the central issues, and so it weakens them. Now I can't get rid of mum altogether, because that would be weird. But I can tweak it so that the thread loses it's "conflict power" and becomes merely a continuing thread and not a conflict point.

That's how I see it, and I'm going to be really interested to see what Jenny Hutton says about it on the M&B thread. :-)

Thanks for asking though Janet, because it's a different perspective I hadn't thought of.


  1. Thank you!!! I just couldn't figure out a third type of conlifct

    "Take some of your favourite category romance novels and see if you can find the 2-3 strands of conflict."

    I'll do that.
    I was looking at one today. H and h each had a strong emotional conflict, but as these were resolved towards the end of the book, a third conflict took centre stage: they couldn't be together because each had their permanent home miles away from the other and strong reasons why they couldn't move.

  2. Ah, Donna, I see what you mean about Jenny's post! I was wondering how you could have different conflicts without cluttering up your central conflict, but I wasn't counting the hero and heroine's as separate! Doh!

    And of course falling in love when you don't want to is another. Double Doh!

    Thanks for making that a little clearer.

  3. Fantastic question. I'd never cut the conflict down to a precise number. Really interesting stuff! Thanks Donna!

  4. Congratulations on the agent interest, Donna!