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

Sabrina Young

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

Common pitfalls include:
– The conflict is too light and could be easily resolved (i.e., a misunderstanding that could be cleared up with a conversation).
– The conflict is insurmountable and the only way to resolve it is with a literary magic wand that suddenly makes it all okay without believably explaining how or why.
– The characters are mostly there to serve the plot (rather than the other way around) and their conflict becomes secondary to everything else.
– One MC inexplicably acquiesces their goals just to be with the other MC.

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?)

I think it’s okay, sometimes even preferable, for the hero and/or heroine to be unlikable (L. J. Shen does this well). When the reader meets a character at the negative end of their arc, it often means the journey to the positive end of that arc is going to be pretty interesting.

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

A character has to want something that they cannot presently obtain. What (or who) keeps them from obtaining it and how they change as a result of trying to do so is what drives the plot.

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

Make them relatable. Give them a friend they confide to, a family they love (or hate). Give them a dog or something that makes them feel connected (or reminds them that they’re alone). Give them both flaws and redeeming qualities. Make them unique, interesting, full-dimensional characters that the reader would want to know.