Forums Forums Editing the Romance Novel Week 2 Discussion Questions Reply To: Week 2 Discussion Questions

Misha Robinson

1. What are some pitfalls authors fall into when creating conflict between hero and heroine?

Lack of believability is always a big issue, not only in terms of if it would/could really happen or not, but also if it’s something that makes sense for the characters. Sustainability can also cause problems. You can have a conflict that is believable but not enough to carry an entire story. Sometimes authors fail to give their main characters both internal and external goals. That’s when I find myself not caring what happens to one or both of them.

2. What are some steps authors can take to create conflict without making the hero or heroine unlikable? (Is it okay for a main character to be unlikable occasionally?)

It’s absolutely fine for me when a character is unlikeable sometimes. In fact, I actually would prefer it because it shows that a character is flawed. As long as their redeeming qualities outweigh their few negative moments, I’m happy. Honestly, I get more irritated when characters seem too perfect. Conflict should show you who a character really is. The stress of the conflict and the high stakes are going to affect a person. Make it realistic by giving them a snippy moment or two or causing them to make a bad decision. Just don’t make it so bad that there is no coming back.

3. How can you authors use motivation-action-reaction and inner goals versus outer goals to drive the plot?

One of the reasons I read romance is for those internal goals. I want to see the characters overcome their pasts and change in a way that will allow them to love and be loved. Make sure a character has internal goals. Use their internal goals to create strong emotions in the reader. These goals are the fuel for the character’s external goal(s). It’s the foundation. Then we see the character physically doing what has been manifested through the internal goal as he or she works toward the external goal.

4. What are ways we can help authors turn favorite types (the alpha male, the soldier, the friend-turned-lover) into real people?

Give them flaws, and real flaws at that. I often see authors making characters klutzy as a default flaw. Please give me something better than that. Take stereotypes and turn them around. People are complex. Just because he’s a solider doesn’t mean he can’t like to bake. Just because a woman is a doting mother doesn’t mean she can’t be an expert marksman. Even just giving a character unique mannerisms adds to the character’s personality and makes him or her more believable. Also, an author can change up physical characteristics. Why does a certain type of character always have to look like X? It gets boring. I find variety much more relatable.