Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Conflict and Tension, Part One



by Melanie Dickerson
                          

It’s my first official post as a Seeker! I’m excited to be here on a regular basis, and I pray that I will be a blessing, as much as Seekerville and its Seekers have been a blessing to me these past ten years.

When I tried to think of something helpful to share with fellow writers, I thought of Conflict and Conflict’s first cousin, Tension. Without these two elements, your novel will be boring. And as any reader knows, boring is the kiss of death.

Conflict and tension are essential across all genres. But conflict and tension are slightly different in different genres. For example, in a thriller, the conflict and tension may be life and death drama—the hero is running for his life. He’s been shot, tortured, his wife murdered, and now he has to stop a killer before he detonates a nuclear bomb and destroys half of North America.
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In a romantic suspense, you might have the hero and heroine running for their lives. But in a romance you wouldn’t see them get tortured, they wouldn’t be trying to save the world, and you probably wouldn’t have a close relative murdered in front of them.

So how do you keep up the tension and conflict in a romance?


You can give them a conflict of interest. For example, in the movie While You Were Sleeping, Lucy is falling in love with Jack, but Jack’s whole family believes she’s engaged to Jack’s brother Peter, who happens to be in a coma. Lucy is afraid to tell them the truth—she’s never even met Peter and certainly isn’t engaged to him—because she has no family of her own, is really lonely, and Peter’s family has practically adopted her.

So you have Jack suspicious of her, afraid she’s going to hurt his family when they realize she’s a fraud, and he’s trying to prove that Lucy isn’t really engaged to Peter. Yet he’s falling in love with her. But how can they tell each other how they feel? She’s engaged to Peter. So the conflict involves Lucy losing her newfound adopted family if she tells the truth, the tension of keeping this huge secret, and the fact that she’s falling in love with her fake fiance’s brother.

Now, I’m not the best at teaching the craft of writing. In fact, I don’t claim to be a very good writer. (The bad reviews that criticize my writing? I'll be the first person to say they're mostly RIGHT.) But I do think I’m a good storyteller, and when my book is putting me to sleep, I know I don’t have enough conflict. I know I need to identify or strengthen my characters’ motivations and the obstacles that are getting in the way of their goals. (And here you have the three-way interaction of Goal, Motivation, and Conflict, which Debra Dixon talks about in her book GMC: Goal, Motivation and Conflict. Which, if you haven’t read, you need to. Or at least read the posts about GMC in the Seekerville archives.)

In The Golden Braid, my heroine Rapunzel is a poor peasant who has a fear of men, which was instilled in her by her mentally unbalanced mother. The hero Sir Gerek is determined to marry a wealthy woman in order to show up the older brother who cast him out of the house. They don't stand a chance of falling in love. Or do they? When Sir Gerek is forced to teach Rapunzel to read, her biggest goal in life, I use their fears and goals to keep up the conflict and tension, and to keep them from admitting their feelings, as they start to enjoy spending time together. External events also intrude to cause tension and danger.

Personally, I think it’s easier to keep up the tension in a romantic suspense story, or a story that has a lot of action and danger. The scenes where my hero and heroine are running for their lives, bullets (or arrows, in my case) are flying thick and fast, flow from my fingers to the page more quickly. That kind of conflict propels the story forward. After all, a threat to your life is definitely a conflict of interest. But in a romance or women’s fiction, most of the conflict and tension has to be more subtle and complex.

One thing that can be hard to maintain is the tension between the hero and heroine. We know they are going to fall in love and probably get married at the end. They can’t hate each other until the very end and then suddenly decide they’re in love and want to get married. (I've read books like that, and I didn't like them.) But they also can’t fall in love too soon, or if they do, there must be something keeping them apart, keeping the conflict going, and it must be believable.


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In my first published novel, The Healer’s Apprentice, my hero and heroine pretty much like each other from the very beginning. The tension and conflict comes in because of class issues—he’s the oldest son of a powerful, wealthy duke and she’s a peasant. That could be overcome eventually, but there’s another problem—he’s been betrothed to a duke’s daughter since childhood, betrothal being a bond almost as binding as marriage in that time period. And he is a man ruled by a strong desire to do his duty and always do the right thing. So even though they are in love, there is enough internal conflict to keep them apart until the end. Add in some external conflict, and it’s even more fun.


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And stories that have lots of conflict are just more fun to write, because it's fun to enhance my story's angst factor. It’s fun to cause problems for my characters and NOT give them what they want too soon. The more real, believable conflict, the more fun I’m having. And the more fun I’m having, the faster my fingers type. 

In my Regency romantic suspense story, A Dangerous Engagement, Felicity is in danger of losing her head--literally. She's just learned that the house party she is attending with her aunt is full of insurrectionists bent on overthrowing the government. The hero is a government spy who has infiltrated the group. He suspects Felicity is an innocent who got caught up in this mess against her will. He discovers that's true pretty early in the story. So that conflict is overcome, but I needed more conflicts, so I had her get engaged to one of the insurrectionists--and immediately regret it. Whenever one point of conflict is overcome, I better have two or three more to replace it. Never let all your conflicts get resolved until the end.

And that’s Part One of my series on Conflict and Tension. It’s such a huge topic, I’d like to talk about it some more in a future post. 

Time to discuss. What conflicts and tensions are your characters dealing with? Is it enough? Is it appropriate for the genre you're writing? And if you’re not a writer, as a reader of romance, what’s your favorite kind of conflict? Characters who hate each other from the beginning but gradually fall in love? Or characters who like each other from the beginning but have to overcome other obstacles to get to their Happily Ever After?

I’ll be giving away your choice of a paperback or Kindle copy of A Dangerous Engagement, my romantic suspense story set in Regency England, to one commenter.


Just as merchant’s daughter Felicity Mayson is spurned once again because of her meager dowry, she receives an unexpected invitation to Lady Blackstone’s country home. Being introduced to the wealthy Oliver Ratley is an admitted delight, as is his rather heedless yet inviting proposal of marriage. Only when another of Lady Blackstone’s handsome guests catches Felicity’s attention does she realize that nothing is what it seems at Doverton Hall.
Government agent Philip McDowell is infiltrating a group of cutthroat revolutionaries led by none other than Lady Blackstone and Ratley. Their devious plot is to overthrow the monarchy, and their unwitting pawn is Felicity. Now Philip needs Felicity’s help in discovering the rebels’ secrets—by asking her to maintain cover as Ratley’s innocent bride-to-be.
Philip is duty bound. Felicity is game. Together they’re risking their lives—and gambling their hearts—to undo a traitorous conspiracy before their dangerous masquerade is exposed.

Melanie Dickerson is the New York Times bestselling author who combines her love for all things Medieval with her love of fairy tales, and her love for Jane Austen with romantic suspense. She is a Christy Award winner, a two-time Maggie Award winner, winner of The National Reader's Choice Award, and the Carol Award in Young Adult fiction. She earned her bachelor's degree in special education from The University of Alabama and has taught children with special needs in Georgia and Tennessee, and English to adults in Germany and Ukraine. Now she spends her time writing stories of love and adventure near Huntsville, Alabama. 

146 comments:

  1. LOOK AT THAT LIST OF AWARDS....

    Aye Caramba!!!!!

    I can't even sit at the same table with you, Dickerson!!!! THAT'S SO STINKIN' COOL!!!!!

    And I love that a now Alabama girl is writing fun, old-fashioned stories that my dear young friend Taylor Tydings says are "BETTER THAN HARRY POTTER...." And she meant it!

    Oh, this is so much fun, Melanie, to have you on board. WELCOME TO SEEKERVILLE, SWEET GIRL!!!!!

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    1. Thanks, Ruthy! It's so fun and exciting to be on this side of Seekerville after I've enjoyed it for so many years on the receiving end.
      And remember, Logan-Herne, I write in a genre (Christian YA) that's much smaller than the genres you write in!
      Love that Taylor! Please tell her I said hello and "Bless you!" the next time you see her! :-)

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  2. COFFEE IS HERE!!!! We'll freshen it later, but I managed to catch whatever nasty bug is going around... so there's little sleep to be had on the farm right now. #QUARANTINED!

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    1. Sad day! So sorry, Ruthy. Tell your family I said they have to take very good care of you!

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    2. I'm already getting bossy, being around you, Ruthy! LOL!

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    3. I will share your message... and I love the bossy! :)

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    4. Oh, no!! Hope you feel better asap!

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    5. Ruthy, the prescription for nasty bugs is: good, nutritious food, lots of liquids, and REST.

      I know you have the first two - no problem. But the REST thing? Let me explain this to you. That's when you sit down, snuggle up with your favorite pillow and blanket, grab a book or the TV remote and do nothing!

      Sending prayers for a quick recovery!

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    6. Perhaps if you would REST for a nanosecond every other week or two, Ruthy....never mind. LOL! Feel better soon, lady!

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  3. Melanie, I loved reading your post. When I read the first half of it, I laughed at myself. I could remember working on my first Christian book, The Long Road Around the Corner of Hope, and wanting it to be free of conflict. First of all, that would go contrary to the words of the first half of the title. Secondly, it would be nothing more than a smooth story that wouldn't entice readers to keep reading the pages. In fact, it wouldn't be a story, period. After some work, I found I thought of some conflict. I have since pulled out all of the stops in my subsequent books and works in progress, the best of which is in my most recent published book, Wise Turned Foolish, which is about a '80s rock star becoming a Christian. Needless to say, that would be replete with conflict and tension.
    I'm currently working on my first contemporary romance novel, Twofold Love Comeback. The following are the conflicts:
    (1) Mandy Reinhart, the main character, is legally separated from her husband and does not want to fall in love again immediately.
    (2) She meets Adam Littleton and Chris Keller, both of whom frequent the used bookstore she works at, are pursuing her...and were in a previous rock band together and still have unresolved tensions between them.
    (3) She tries not to let them know she is seeing both.
    (4) Her co-worker, Yvonne, is fond of Adam, but not in "that way," and thinks more of him than Mandy does.

    I love how you mentioned While You Were Sleeping. I have that movie and is one of my favorite romantic comedies. In fact, that is one of the movies that inspired me to write romance.
    I look forward to reading what else you have on conflict.

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    1. Faye, there have been a few times when I just didn't want to make trouble for my characters, but I knew I'd have a boring story if I didn't, and I knew I didn't want my story to be boring!
      While You were Sleeping is one of my favorite movies! I've seen it so many times, and my daughters and I had recently re-watched it, so it was fresh in my mind. But any good movie has conflict. Dare I say it? Even those Hallmark movies. LOL! There is something keeping them apart, obstacles both internal and external.
      Thanks for your comments, Faye!

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    2. Faye, I think the plot of your book sounds good!

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  4. Good morning, Melanie! And welcome officially to Seekerville!! :)

    It's so much easier for me to come up with ideas for a realistic INTERNAL conflict between the hero & heroine than realistic BOOK LENGTH EXTERNAL conflict.

    I mean, I don't personally know anyone who broke up with a guy because he's trying to get her ranch so he can turn it into a shopping mall. :)

    Usually real-life relationship conflict has to do with values, beliefs, expectations, etc., so I always have to spend considerable time and effort figuring out a way to convincingly illustrate the internal conflict in an external world.

    But I know other authors who can whip out those external conflicts in the blink of an eye but struggle with developing a convincing internal conflict!

    Fortunate are the writers who have no problems easily coming up with both!

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    1. Thank you, Glynna! It's good to be here! I was afraid I might not be able to think of things to blog about on a regular basis, but I already have ideas for at least two more posts--probably three! Without even trying.
      Yeah, I guess I shouldn't say that it's easier to create external conflict through danger and action, because that is probably harder, not easier, for some people. I think I always struggle with one or the other, especially when I first start writing a new story. In life, I avoid conflict! To a pretty extreme degree, actually. That might be why it's so hard to think it up! :-)

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    2. I have a much easier time coming up with internal conflict. External is the hardest for me, too!

      I wonder why internal angst is easier for me??! Does that say something about me? ;)

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    3. I'm with you, Missy. Internal is usually easier for me than external.

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    4. Hmmm, I must be odd (Hush, Ruthy!) because the external conflicts always come first for me. Maybe because I'm a plot first novelist who then comes up with characters to stick into the plot rather than dreaming up characters whose conflict influences the plot?

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  5. Good Morning, Melanie! I love your "official" first post!

    I brought English Breakfast tea and scones to share!

    Blessings and (((HUGS))))

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    1. Thank you, Caryl!!! How did you know I LOVE English Breakfast tea!?!? And SCONES!!! Oh my goodness. That's the best.
      My friend gave me a mug that says, "I Turn Tea into Books."

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    2. Caryl, you just reminded me that I never ate breakfast! I only had my coffee. Now my stomach is growling. :)

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    3. Melanie, I love English Breakfast too. Brewed from leaves and steeped in a china pot, but only when I have the time. My husband likes Earl Grey. We are Tea people!

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    4. Another tea lover here. Oh, and I do love me some scones. My day has been made.

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  6. Melanie, great post! I still consider myself a novice writer and I do have the problem of not wanting to be too mean to my characters LOL. But that makes for very dull stories. My NaNoWriMo novel this past year was supposed to be romantic suspense, but I'm not sure it contained a good amount of either. I'll be ratcheting up both in my rewrites. Thanks for the tips. And I'd love to read your book--it sounds great!

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    1. Glynis, I'm the same way! But when I force myself to be mean, it can turn out to be fun. :)

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    2. Glynis, I understand! At first I didn't like being mean to my characters either. But as soon as I detected pity or compassion for my characters, I would ruthlessly squash it! And remind myself that I have to do what works for the story, what would make the story more satisfying. And a story ending can't be satisfying without conflict to overcome.
      Thanks, Glynis! You're in the drawing!

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  7. What a great post, Melanie! Tension and conflict can be a challenge for me. One thing you said that I haven't considered as much as I should is the idea of letting some conflicts be resolved during the story, but always having 2-3 (or more) conflicts ready to arise in the story. GREAT Tip!

    For the story I'm preparing to write, I have two sisters who had a rift in their relationship 15 years ago. They are both called upon to help their mom save her shop. Meanwhile each sister wants something the other has. I think it's going to be a fun story. I'm going to copy and paste this post. I'm looking forward to future posts on this subject. ;)

    BTW, your cover is beautiful!

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    1. That sounds like great conflict, Jeanne! Two sisters who want what the other has. So human to feel jealousy and envy. I love it!
      One thing that happens sometimes when I'm writing a story is that the conflict I had planned starts resolving itself sooner than I wanted it to. When that happens, I have two options. I can either draw the conflict out, which is boring if it's not believable or seems flimsy. Or I can let it resolve and add a new conflict. I choose that option, and it has worked out well. That's what happened in my book The Beautiful Pretender, and I honestly think it's one of my best books. When the conflict is believable, it makes for a much stronger story, even if it's a new conflict that pops up halfway through the story.
      Thanks for commenting, Jeanne! I feel like I'm getting great ideas for my next post on conflict! :-)

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  8. We're so glad to have you with us, Melanie! And I'm really glad you posted on conflict. This is my WEAKNESS! I don't like conflict in real life and avoid it at all costs. LOL So it's difficult to write.

    I'm not sure which type is easier to write--liking each other all along or having open conflict from the beginning. But when they can't stand each other at the beginning, that can be really fun to write! I just have to make sure they grudgingly do learn to like each other. Like you said, they can't suddenly fall in love at the end.

    I like how you described having new conflicts and tensions as some conflicts resolve. That's really important to remember!

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    1. Missy, our weaknesses end up becoming our strengths so many times, if we're aware of them, because we take special effort to fix them and work on them. I love that. :-)
      I'm a person who HATES drama and HATES conflict and strife of any kind. But in my stories, I have learned to embrace it! It just makes for a more fun story. Although I dislike TOO MUCH drama in my stories. It's a balancing act, I think.
      I think in my next post I'll talk more about having more conflicts arise as some are resolved, when to resolve conflicts, etc. Thanks, Missy!
      And I love being here! How fun to be a Seeker! At last! LOL!

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    2. Melanie, I agree about having too much. I don't like to be yanked around in a story as if it's intentional.

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  9. MELANIE!!! Gosh, girlfriend, you've come a long, LONG way from that sad girl crying between Mary Connealy and me at an ACFW banquet years ago, thinking you would never get published!!

    Great post, my friend, and you are SO right!! Lack of conflict and tension or unbelievable "eye-rolling conflict" that Keith and I see a lot in Hallmark movies ruins a movie or book for us (i.e. a simple miscommunication or lack of communication or the arrival of a jerky fiance or boyfriend over whom you are scratching your head wondering what in the earth she saw in him in the first place to agree to spend the rest of her life with him)!

    I am reading a book right now that someone suggested I read, and although the romantic passion (which is why she recommended I read it) is top-notch, the conflict is not. Let me be clear -- this is one of the best books I've read as far as swoon-worthy romantic passion, but I have NO desire to read another of this author's books because the conflict is so blah. All this to say that even die-hard romance lovers like myself HAVE to have serious and BELIEVABLE conflict in order to truly enjoy a story.

    One of the most natural and built-in conflicts I ever had in writing a book was in A Heart Revealed where the hero was a wounded man deeply committed to never getting married and the heroine was ... uh, already married. Both are Catholic, so the prospect of divorce was not an option, resulting in built-in conflict from the start, causing the tension to increase as these two slowly fell in love. That was one of my easiest books to write as far as conflict, but uh ... not so easy to resolve and still surprise the reader. ;)

    Great post, my friend, and SUPER CONGRATS on your outstanding success -- nobody deserves it more!

    HUGS and more HUGS!!
    Julie

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    1. Julie, I agree. True tension and conflict does not arise from a "hilarious misunderstanding" but from real needs and values. And it should be more than just a personality conflict, there should be real issues at stake.
      KB

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    2. Hey, Julie, my sweet friend! Isn't it funny how God comes through for us? He always does, of course. :-) Yes, I remember those feelings exactly from that night when I started crying! Oh my! My human-ness was showing, big time. LOL! I can't remember if that was the year I got "the call" or if it was the next year after that. But I knew in my heart what I was meant to do, and I was afraid God had forgotten. LOL! Isn't that hilarious? Well, not so hilarious at the time.
      And let's talk about those Hallmark movies for a minute. I'm glad it's not just me who's tired of the VERY LAME fiance or boyfriend showing up while Mr. Right is right there being all wonderful, and the heroine is clueless about how wrong the wrong guy is and how amazing the amazing guy is. Not believable. LOL! My daughter and I watched several Hallmark movies over the holidays and I saw one too many of those tropes. But there were some pretty good ones too. The conflict was always really minor though, so I tired of watching them. After that I was craving something with a little more meat on its bones! LOL!
      Julie, you had some really meaty stories with great conflict and tension! That is not your weakness, girlfriend! LOL! So fun, too. Conflict and tension should be a turn-off in your life, and yet it's just the opposite in a story. It's fun and exciting and keeps us turning pages! But you know that, obviously! :-)
      Thanks, Julie. You are so kind. Love you!

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    3. Thanks, Kath (Kaybee), I'm glad I'm not alone in my thoughts on this! :)

      Oh, PRAISE GOD, Mel, between you and Kaybee, I don't feel so bad when my hubby turns to me and says, "who writes this stuff??" or "Gosh, I didn't see that coming!" Don't get me wrong, I give Hallmark HUGE credit and thanks for producing movies with clean plots, and I do realize they only have three weeks in which to shoot a movie (according to Denise Hunter, who has had two of her books produced as movies for Hallmark). But even so, they have also produced some FABULOUS movies, and not just in the Hall of Fame series, either. My all-time favorite Hallmark Christmas move is The Nine Lives of Christmas, which hands-down has the BEST Hallmark kiss I have ever seen -- HUBBA, HUBBA!! Also THE BEST heroine I have ever seen in a Hallmark movie AND one of the best heroes AND one of the best, most believable plots. Watch it if you get a chance because it's not really just about Christmas.

      Love you back, my friend!

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  10. Good morning Melanie!

    I love While You Were Sleeping! Jack being concerned about that guy who had a crush on Lucy because he was "leaning" is one of my favorite parts. Sorry, that doesn't really have anything to do with the conflict, I just like it.

    Yes, a book w/out conflict is boring, but I think many of us started out trying to write stories by making everyone getting along and dissolving most of their problems because that's how we want our real to go...

    Thanks for the post!

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    1. Very true, Connie! I have been guilty of letting my hero and heroine fall in love too soon IN ALMOST EVERY BOOK I'VE WRITTEN! Thank goodness for editing! And editors! I nearly ALWAYS have to cut the first kissing scene I write because it happens too soon. That first kiss almost always takes away some of the tension. Not always, but often. So I have to be careful not to let it come too soon.
      And yes, I love the "leaning" thing. So cute! That's what I love about a good rom-com. It's fun and funny but still maintains its conflict. A good one does, anyway. :-)
      Thanks!

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    2. I am a big fan of the 'almost' kiss, where I am just sure it's going to happen and then, wham! Something interrupts, or someone gets cold feet, or someone starts shooting at the hero and heroine...:) Because then you have the idea of kissing and the romantic tension all bottled up! :D Will they? Won't they? When IS that first kiss going to happen????? Drives me crazy...in a good way.

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  11. Good morning Melanie and good teaching post, would love to follow the series. Conflict and tension is something I've been working on for a while. In my current WIP, the hero is a young pastor in his first church and the heroine is an agnostic woman with severe trust issues, toward humans AND God. They're thrown together to work on the community Christmas festival, and he finds himself drawn to her and determines he WILL win her to the Lord. She cheerfully resists his efforts until the house of cards she's built around her past comes tumbling down. He's able to lead her to the Lord, but realizes that it wasn't because of his effort, but that she had to go through that crucible before she realized her need. For her part, she fights his evangelism along with her attraction to him, until the way is cleared for them to have a future.
    I have a grid with "Goal, Motivation, Conflict" on my desktop and when I'm working a book, I cut and paste it in front of each scene, then take the scene through the grid and see if I have GMC. If I don't, I either ramp it up or get rid of the scene. (I also get rid of the GMC grid before submitting to a publisher, agent or contest...)
    Thanks for a great post. I'll be working on this today.
    Kathy Bailey
    Avoiding conflict except in my fiction

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    1. Kathy, your comment was found by Pam in the spam folder! Yay!
      Wow, it sounds like you have a good handle on conflict and GMC! Great job! And it sounds like a fun and meaningful story! I love it when a plan comes together. :-) I wish you all the best with your story!

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    2. Thank you, Melanie. It is still a WIP but I'm satisfied so far. And thank Pam for finding my comment.

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  12. Don’t enter me in the giveaway since I’ve already read A Dangerous Engagement. But I love the tension and conflict you create in your novels....whether they’re Regency or fairy tale retellings. Thanks for the post!!

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    1. Thanks so much, MH! Tension and conflict are so important, and I'm so glad I read enough books and articles in the beginning of my writing endeavors that really emphasized that.
      Thanks again!

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  13. Great post, Melanie. I love the fact the hero and heroine have more than on conflict to overcome before they can live their HEA. Thanks for joining the Seekerville team.

    A Dangerous Engagement has a beautiful cover! Congratulations on your book!

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    1. Thanks, Jackie! Yes, there has to be more than one conflict! I won't say "the more the better" because there can be too many, but most of us err on the too few side, if anything.
      Thanks for commenting!

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  14. Excellent post, Melanie. Tons of great info. Like Missy, I hate conflict in real life. Will go to great lengths to avoid it. Lately, however, I have begun to find pleasure in torturing my characters by ramping up their tension and conflict. Which is good, because there was a time when I couldn't imagine hurting them. Kind of felt as though I was deliberately hurting one of my children. So glad I got passed that. Not that it's always easy. It's just more fun now. ;)

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    1. Yeah, I think most of us go through that, Mindy! I even did that in my last book, the one that comes out in June. I fell in love and bonded with my hero and heroine a little too much! I didn't want them to suffer! That was a hard book to write. But hopefully I fixed it and made it right in the edits. :-) So even though I thought I'd overcome that pitfall, I still had to be reminded of it again, after 15 or so books!
      Thanks, Mindy! Keep up the good work of torturing your characters! It will make the happy ending that much sweeter! But you know that. :-)

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  15. Hi Melanie!

    This was a wonderful post! My biggest problem with conflict is that I want to solve it too soon. But you pointed out that following up a small, resolved conflict with two or three new, ramped up conflicts is the way to keep our readers (and ourselves!) engaged.

    I'm keeping your advice in mind as I work on my new story today!

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    1. Awesome! Thanks, Jan! That little point seems to have been the biggest takeaway today! It is a good reminder to me too. If a conflict is coming to a believable and inevitable resolution, don't despair, just create a new one. I particularly learned this lesson when I was writing The Beautiful Pretender. I may talk about that more in my next post.
      Thanks again, Jan!

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    1. Again?!?! Oh, Kaybee!

      Don't forget to copy you comment before you hit "publish." Then if Blogger eats it, you can just paste it in rather than trying to write it all over again.

      Advice from someone who regularly feeds the blogger monster...

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    2. Kaybee, I hate when that happens! I especially have problems with that when I'm commenting from my phone.

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    3. That should be "don't forget to copy YOUR comment...."

      *sigh*

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    4. Hey, did you see that your comment is now above? Pam found it in the Spam and released it!

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    5. That Spam I am, that Spam I am, I do not like that Spam I am. I will foster the habit of copying my comments. Tx guys.

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  17. I'm in the throes of writing a rough draft and sometimes it's just hard... hard to know which conflicts are the best, the most believable, different to what you've done before, resolvable, did I say believable?, works for the time period, believable, and on and on... :)

    I write historical romance with a very strong suspense thread, and I totally get what you're saying about a suspense thread (and a villian... or vilians) upping the conflict and tension.

    And then there's deciding when and how to introduce certain conflicts and when to resolve those. In my current WIP, my heroine's uncle and her circumstances has instilled in her a fear of men as well, but I was well over the half-way point before I figured out the real issue/conflict that makes her afraid of falling in love or commitment. I'm honing in on the ending and am having to force myself NOT to go back and rewrite right now. But I'm SO hoping all this makes sense when I go back and start polishing. :)

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    1. Pam, I feel your pain! It is hard. But it's such a great feeling when you have that epiphany and suddenly realize the motivation or missing piece! I love that.
      Editing and revising and rewriting are hard, but so necessary. I am sure you will make it really SING in the revisions!
      Thanks, Pam!

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  18. I'm curious how many of you find internal conflict easier to plan/write and how many find external easier?

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    1. I think it probably varies with the story. For some stories it's internal, and for others it's external. But that's just me.

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    2. I love writing internal conflict, Missy. Maybe it's because I'm conflicted internally. :)

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    3. Great question, Missy. For me, the internal conflict is much easier to write. The external can be trickier, especially for Love Inspired, since you want to try and keep the H/H together in practically every scene. :)

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  19. What a great post, Melanie! Speaking just from a reader's standpoint, conflict is necessary and you always do a great job of weaving just the right amount into your stories. Sometimes (in other books I've read, not yours) there is just so much conflict that the book becomes frustrating to read lol. I'm not talking about the ugly cry reads which are built on conflict but the romances where every time you turn around there's more conflict and you're tempted to holler at the heroine "Just go find someone else. He's not worth it." LOL

    love you! And love your books! And I love that you're part of Seekerville <3

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    1. I love you too, Carrie!!! You're someone I connect with every time I see you and talk to you in person, and online too!
      And it doesn't hurt that you always compliment my books. LOL! But that's not the (only) reason I love you! ;-)
      I know what you're saying! I read a romance once and the author just kept making one tragedy after another happen to these poor characters, it just made me angry! Ugh. I did not like that book. There was so much tragedy there was no room for any romance, and that doesn't work for me. If you promise me a romance I want some romance! LOL!
      Thanks, Carrie!

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  20. Hi Melanie, my daughter and I love your books. I laughed when I read that part about the bad reviews, because I don't think of myself as a good writer. We tend to be super critical of our own writing, don't we? I'm writing romance and keeping the tension alive is HARD. I really like how you used your books as examples. I'm looking forward to the next in your series.

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    1. Aw, thanks, Stacey! Please tell your daughter I said hello!
      We are critical of our work, Stacey. It's part of self-critiquing and not being able to see it from a reader's point of view.
      Romance IS hard! Keeping the tension real while allowing them to fall in love gradually. The struggle is real. :-)
      Thanks, Stacey!

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  21. Hi, Melanie! I love While You Were Sleeping (and most movies with Sandra Bullock). Thanks for suggesting Goal, Motivation, Conflict. I just ordered it. I'm trying to be more diligent about reading books on craft, so I appreciate a good recommendation. One of my favorite pieces of advice I've received on creating conflict and tension is to simply ask, "What would make this worse?" When I'm writing a scene, the answer to that question can help me push my imagination a little farther. I often like the result. Congratulations on your first official post as a Seeker! I'm looking forward to more of this discussion.

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    1. Hi, Karen! Thanks so much! I love Sandra Bullock's movies too! She's so relate-able!
      One thing I try to keep in mind is, "What are my readers reading to find out?" There has to be something they don't know that they want to know, whether it's, How will they get out of this danger? Or, Will they ever admit they love each other? Or, What will he do when he discovers her secret? I'm always writing TOWARD something, if that makes sense.
      Thanks, Karen! I look forward to hearing more from YOU in the future! Thanks for hanging out in Seekerville!

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    2. Great questions to ask and great suggestion to write toward something. Makes perfect sense!

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  22. Good morning, Melanie! Yay for your first official Seeker post! Eeeee!

    As far as romantic tension goes... yes, please! I like to read it all. I have to say that although the failure to communicate conflict does get old, let's just be honest, it's authentic and relatable and kind of nice to know we aren't the only folks dealing with tension over silly things like miscommunication.

    I'm feeling a teeny bit snacky so I brought some soft pretzel bites to share. I made them yesterday during a rare Pinterest cooking/baking binge and the really surprising part is that everything was good!

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    1. Thanks, Beth!!! Isn't this fun? :-)
      I agree. Miscommunication can be a good tension tool, but it shouldn't be the ONLY conflict. It's more of a tool for a few scenes to increase tension, but after that, it should probably be resolved, leaving room for a new conflict or to ramp up existing conflicts. But yes, it is certainly relatable and believable! Everybody deals with that from time to time.
      Thanks for the pretzel bites! Sounds great! Yeah, I occasionally get into a cooking binge too. Last night I made Mongolian beef and I was so impressed with myself! LOL! It was delicious.

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    2. Oh, yummy! That DOES sound good!

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  23. Great post, Melanie! As a reader I can say without conflict. . I doze off as well. It also has to be believable conflict. I want to be caught up in saga that is interesting. I think I like it best when the characters are at odds with each other from the beginning and gradually learn more about each other and change.
    I would love to be in the drawing for A Dangerous Engagement.
    Becky B.

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    1. Yeah, it's no fun when there's no conflict. I love that too, when characters dislike each other and then gradually fall in love. So fun to write! I love to show that feeling of dismay when they suddenly realize they were wrong about the other person! Or when they suddenly realize they LIKE that person! LOL!
      Thanks! Will put you in the drawing, Becky!

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  24. Great post! I'm currently working on a Ya dystopian story with a western twist. I'm starting my second draft right now and am really trying to up the conflict. My MC Cole, came to town looking for information about his dad, but he finds out the man who killed his dad is in control of the city. Cole gets caught up in the violent battles of the three rival gangs in town. He can't leave, or they'll kill him, but there's a good chance of getting shot if he stays. He wants to take revenge for his dads death, but he meets a girl whose also trapped in the town and realizes that every step he takes toward revenge puts her in more danger.

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    1. Sounds like great conflict, Maddie! You did well by making the stakes really high and having built-in conflicts. Great work!

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  25. A great post, Melanie! And congratulations on your spot at Seekerville. How exciting! For the record, your writing is fantastic <3. Love you bunches!

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  26. Such a great post on conflict, Melanie! Thank you for your hard work!

    I love conflict, especially internal conflict. I feel it makes or breaks a story. And, as you mentioned, the more conflict the better...okay, well almost. But conflict is a writer's friend and makes the writing so much easier, which you also said!

    I'm heading back to my WIP, due Monday! No conflict there, just lots to do, but it's all fun!!!

    HUGS!

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    1. Debby, the ending is one of the most fun parts! And yes, internal conflict is so great. I love that angst! LOL! In my hero and heroine, not in myself. :-)
      Go, Debby, go! It's a race to the finish line for you! :-)

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  27. Welcome as an official seeker, Melanie. This was a great post. I need to work more on conflict. I have finished writing my first book and now going back in to revise it. I think I will find that I resolve conflict too soon. I have resolved some conflicts and then thrown others in.

    My book is not a romance, although it has a married couple going through issues in their marriage. The book has several characters each dealing with a tornado and its aftermath.

    The married couple includes Rick, a meteorologist for a local TV station, and his wife Beth. They have a 6-year-old daughter and newborn twins who were premature and came home with lots of health problems and equipment. Rick is terrified of dealing with the babies and their problems and spends all his time at the station while Beth is resentful of being home alone with these children. At the beginning of the book, Rick misses a tornado warning which puts his job on the line, causing him to spend even more time at work. When the big tornado comes, Rick is on top of it and is declared a hero for how well he prepared the town and prevented a major loss of life. This gets him attention to moving up to a national market and he thinks it is time to move up, but Beth doesn't want to leave their little town.

    Courtney is a 21-year-old woman who has temporarily left college to come back to town to care for her grandmother who is terminally ill. Courtney is in denial about her grandmother's health and also is resistant to her grandmother's faith and to her grandmother's suggestion that she reunite with her estranged father. After her grandmother becomes the only victim of the tornado, Courtney must reach out to her father and try to move forward with her life.

    William is a pastor who has recently lost his wife. He is suffering his own crisis of faith and feels he has lost the ability to lead his congregation. When the tornado destroys the church along with much of the town, he finds a new calling in leading the people of his church. There is tension within the church body as they have conflict on how they should rebuild the church.

    Please enter me in the drawing for your book.

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    1. Sandy, this sounds like a lot of good conflict! You are definitely on the right track, I can tell.
      I remember when Jan Karon's Mitford series was all the rage and selling extremely well, people mentioned how there was not that much conflict, certainly no major angst or danger. But the conflict and tension was a lot more subtle. Still, it was there. A lot of people loved it, apparently, so it would be interesting to go back and read that first one (I only read half of it!) and see how she did the conflict, the subtleties of it. But that isn't really my kind of story. I prefer a bit more danger and action. :-) But it's good to know what kind of book you're writing and how much conflict it's going to need.
      You're entered in the drawing, Sandy! Thanks for keeping us company here in Seekerville!

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    2. Thanks, Melanie. I actually love the Jan Karon Mitford books. I hadn't thought about it, but you are right that the conflict isn't major. But there was a lot of wondering how or when Father Tim and Cynthia would become a couple.

      I also meant to mention that it has been a long time since I watched While You Were Sleeping. So many people have referenced it in Seekerville that I really must watch it again. I will have to check it out of our library soon.

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    3. Yes, Sandy, Father Tim went around having various interactions with people, so you find out what's going on with everyone, everybody's drama, so you get kind of sucked into the community, which makes it fun to read.
      Sandy, I almost didn't use that movie as an example because I know a lot of other people have talked about it. LOL! But, it's good that everyone is familiar with it. :-)

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    4. I love the Jan Karon books... Father Tim! Cynthia! They are still on my keeper shelves... and there isn't a lot of conflict per se, but there's a lot of internal church conflict... and Tim dealing with his past and being a good example to his church... And it was so delightfully told, that I would just smile, reading them!!!!

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  28. I adore "While You Were Sleeping." :-)
    You have me doubting there's enough conflict in the novel I wrote last year. I haven't even started trying to edit it yet. But it's about a guy and girl who become pen pals and end up falling in love. The main conflict is how to work it out to be close enough for a deeper relationship when they're both pretty happy with the lives they've built for themselves two states apart.

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    1. Hi, Amy! Yeah, I don't know your whole plot, but if you're doubting there's enough conflict, then there probably is. I had a book where the hero and heroine basically loved each other even as children, always saying they would get married someday, and my editors were like, Uh, no. Not enough conflict. LOL! It can be done, but there has to be both internal and external conflict, I think. Anyway, make sure you familiarize yourself with GMC, which will help you determine if you have enough conflict. Good luck with it!

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  29. Ah, conflict. No conflict = no story! I find if I'm having trouble writing on a story it's because I either nixed the conflict too early and let my characters off the hook...OR...the conflict I set up is BIG, and I am chickening out of writing it because I'm afraid I can't do it justice. I sort of have to psych myself up to tackle it. :)

    I'd much rather the latter predicament than the former.

    Don't knock yourself, Melanie...you're a good writing teacher if this post is anything to go by! :)

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    1. I kind of liked that she was knocking herself... I'm so mean!!!! ;)

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    2. You're feisty when you're not feeling to whippy...but then again, you're pretty feisty when you feel rip-snortin' fine! LOL

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    3. And by to I mean too! Facepalm! LOL

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    4. Thanks, Erica. You're nice. Not like Ruthy. LOL
      Yeah, I find myself not knowing what to write next when there's not enough conflict. But when there's lots of built-in conflict, it makes it easier to write.

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  30. Melanie, so cool that you are now officially a Seeker -- and you did them proud with this post. As a reader, I'm not fond of a lot of external conflict but I enjoy watching characters evolve and resolve their inner conflicts. Gives me hope LOL

    Nancy C

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    1. Nancy, that's a good observation. You know what you like and dislike. I'm kind of the same. Too much external conflict is annoying! LOL I hate it when I can almost hear that author thinking, Oh, I better put in the worst thing that could possibly happen! That will entertain the reader! LOL!

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    2. Exactly, Melanie! Too much external conflict is annoying :-) That's why I don't enjoy action-adventure movies and books where the hero is the same at the end as he was at the beginning.

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  31. Welcome Melanie! I enjoyed your first post as a resident. As a reader, I enjoy both of these scenarios you mentioned. There is just something about hate turning to love but I also enjoy reading about friends who realize that their feelings have developed into something deeper.
    Thanks for sharing and please enter my name into your drawing.
    Blessings!
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Connie! You're in the drawing!

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  32. Great post, Melanie!

    As a reader, I think my favorite conflict with regular romance is the opposites attract kind. But I enjoy a wide range of books with a wide range of conflicts.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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    1. Thanks, Phyllis! And thanks for your comment!

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  33. Welcome to Seekerville, Melanie! This is a fantastic post. Brainstorming conflict, especially internal, is one of my favorite stages of the writing process. I'm looking forward to your future posts!

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  34. Great information Melanie. Welcome aboard. This topic is an area I need to grow in. I've been too nice to my characters.

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    1. Yes, we have to force ourselves to be mean! But it's worth it. ;-)

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  35. In my current WIP the main conflict between two of my characters is that the heroine's brother had been kidnapped and in order to save him she is going to have to betray the hero. The hero believes that they can both rescue the brother, which makes him blind to the upcoming betrayal (that and his affection for her...)

    In my Snow White retelling, the conflict between my main characters is that he is the son of Snow White's kingdom's enemy, who also happens to be the man she personally holds responsible for the death of her mother. Add that to their conflicting personalities and well... there's a whole lot of snark.

    Excellent post, Melanie! Very interesting and informative!

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    1. Nicki, that sounds really cool! The heroine betraying the hero for a good cause is definitely some major conflict!
      Nicki! How fun that you write fairy tale retellings too! Yours sounds really cool! When two enemies fall in love, it's bound to be delicious! :D

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  36. Blogger is misbehaving again!
    Welcome to Seekerville, Melanie. I'm so happy you've signed on as a regular blogger.
    This is great information! One of my favorite stages of the writing process is brainstorming conflict. I especially love internal, but external can really exercise our brain.
    I'm looking forward to more of your posts!

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    1. Hi, Jill! I had a bit of trouble with it too. Come on, Blogger! Get with the program! :-)
      And thank you, Jill. I so appreciate that! I'm excited about being a regular.
      Conflict in fiction is fun!
      See you around!

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  37. Hi Melanie!
    Something that resonates with my is your comment that if the story was putting you to sleep you needed more tension. I am editing my romantic suspense and there is this one scene that I'm bored with. I'm going to go back and look at the conflict in that scene (or lack of it). Thanks so much for the help. :)

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    1. You're so welcome, Loraine. Thanks so much for stopping by! It can be painful to cut a scene, but sometimes it's necessary so you don't slow down the pace with a scene that isn't really needed. Good luck!

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  38. So much "yes" to this! As both a reader and editor I love stories with great tension. It keeps me captivated and engaged. Thanks for sharing this with us today, Melanie!

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    1. Hey, Beth! I agree! And thank you for coming by! I wish you all the best with your editing! That's what my daughter wants to do. :-)

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  39. I like both kinds of tension, but sometimes the I hate you and you hate me at the beginning of a story can be rather humorous. I think I lean more toward that kind of tension.
    By the way, my sister and I love your books!!!! I think we’ve read all of them except for the newest Regency ones, which we need to.

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    1. Hi, Janice! I finally did a book where the hero and heroine hate each other at the beginning of the story, and it was my second Regency, A Viscount's Proposal. So yes, you need to read that one! :-)

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  40. Melanie, so great to see you as a regular! I have trouble getting enough conflict built in my story. So when I'm plotting I have to put in what feels like overkill to me. Then I'm good. lol

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    1. LOL, Terri. I like that idea! :)

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    2. Terri! That is so smart! You figured out what works for you! Way to go! :-) I probably need to try that, because right now, I'm writing blind on the story I'm working on! That means I don't really know what's going to happen to next! Yikes. I don't like to do that. I should go brainstorm some conflicts! LOL

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  42. Hi, I follow you on Facebook and enjoy seeing you post on a regular basis. I love that you are excited about your currant WIP (Mulan and Wolfgang.) I hope to be a published author one day.

    Right now I am in the possess of editing my WIP. Not long ago I read a post written by Stephanie Morrill on Go Teen Writers blogspot titled "2 Ways To Be Sure Your Scene Really Matters." One of the things she talked about was asking yourself, "What does my character expected to happen?" Of course, to create conflict, we can't let them have what they expect? Yet, Stephanie pointed out that if our character's never get what they expect the reader will stop trusting in our character. So, apply the "Yes, but" technique. She says if you are going to give them what they expect it should also come with a surprise.

    In my WIP, one of my characters, Cynthia, is a Cinderella type whose father died when she was a child and is now a servant for her stepmother. Then, Cynthia discover's she has a living grandmother. My other main character, Lord Preston (a nickname and yes it's a romance, is bringing her to meet her new found relative. Yes, Cynthia expects to meet her grandmother, but she doesn't expect to learn her father didn't die after all.

    "Yes, but suprise!" I love this concept. I think it's a great way to keep you from falling asleep. ;)

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    1. Alisa, thanks for sharing that tip from Stephanie! What a great way to think about it. And it sounds like you've used it well in your story!

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    2. That is really cool, Alisa! That you learned a technique from Stephanie (who is a friend of mine!) and that you applied what you learned to your story. That is super smart and will serve you well! Being able to learn about writing and apply what you learn is one of the biggest steps toward getting published and doing well. IMO.
      Thanks so much for coming by and talking with us! God bless you in your writing endeavors, Alisa!

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  43. I just got done reading a story of an heiress (daughter)of a very wealthy businessman, who was in love with her dad's lowly male office assistant. This is a historical so you know that they really can't mix company! And the hero is painfully aware of this fact and tries to persuade the heroine to stop pursuing him because a.) she could be disinherited & left penniless and b.) he can lose the only job that keeps him from being on the street & hungry. He really is a noble fellow :-) There was a great deal of conflict, as you can tell. As with all good romance stories, it all worked out in the end!

    My most favorite ones are reunion stories because there is plenty of opportunities for conflict! Some past hurts & relationship history that the hero and heroine must overcome and work out. I'm a huge historical romanance fiction fan, so I also love marriage of convenience or mail-order bride stories. Where they marry first and then get to know one another last...some funny things can happen :-) Or they marry because, say, the hero is a widow and only wants a wife for his children's sake. Plenty of fodder for conflict. Then there's the romantic suspense where you add danger to the mix and there's definitely lots of tension to add drama to the scene.

    I'm with you on not liking where the two can't stand each other all through the story, and then the very end of the book fall in love! I'm like...what in the world just happened here?? And then feel like I want to throw the book across the room (which I wouldn't). That's unrealistic to me. Or say, falling in love at the beginning and then have to keep the story interesting throughout the rest of it. I think that would be a harder storyline for an author to write. For me as a reader, I like a good balance :-)

    Always love when a writer tells more about the world of...well, writing! It gives me a better understanding of what you gals have to deal with when it comes to bringing your stories to life, making them realistic and keep us readers coming back for more! Thanks for sharing your craft wisdom with us Melanie, such an insightful post :-)

    Thanks for the chance to win a copy of A Dangerous Engagement!

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    1. Trixie, it truly is a balance! Thankfully, we get to revise over and over if needed. :)

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    2. Hi, Trixi! Wow! That story you described sounds awesome! What is the title?
      Reunion stories. That's one I have never done. I'll have to think about how to do one of those!
      I do love MOC stories and mail-order bride stories, but honestly, I think those would be the hardest stories to write. It seems that the biggest hurdle has already been gotten over--getting married--and in a clean, Christian story, how do you deal with the whole sex thing? LOL! But someday I'd like to try to do one of those. It would be a challenge for me, who always thinks of marriage as the end goal and the reward for the reader.
      I have done the falling in love at the beginning then keeping them apart for the rest of the book, until the end. It can work, but I wouldn't want all my stories to follow that pattern.
      Thanks so much for your comments, Trixie! I loved getting your feedback as a reader! I hope to "talk" again! And you are in the drawing. Thanks!

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    3. Melanie, it's a novella collection that just came out this month with four stories by Karen Witemeyer, Mary Connealy, Regina Jennings and Melissa Jagears entitled "Hearts Entwined". The one I'm talking about is Melissa's story called Tied and True. I enjoyed this set of novellas and with such powerhouse authors you can't go wrong with these! They are awesome :-)

      As far as marital relations in marriage of convenience or mail-order bride stories..because I read only Christian books, it's not mentioned in detail (maybe hinted at) or not at all, depending. It might be hinted at, but not to the degree that you wouldn't allow your young kids/teens to read it. And really in these types of stories, the couple don't know each other in the beginning so really the romance develops over the course of the book. It's almost the same as a regular romance except for the fact they are already married. There's always something to keep conflict or tension between the two...maybe he married her just for the sake of his children and he keeps his heart closed up, or maybe (as in historical) they were found alone together (innocently) and to avoid scandal they are made to marry, or maybe the marriage was arranged by the parents for a prestigious position in society (in the case of the lady). There really is a lot of themes in these type of stories, the writer just had to be creative :-) And they always end in a satisfying happily-ever-after, ie:the couple really do fall in love :-)

      I'm not real fond of falling in love at the beginning, because I can get frustrated with them being kept apart for most of the story. And I don't really care for secrets kept because someone eventually gets hurt by those secrets. So the flip side of all this, is there are certain storylines I don't really care for, it just depends on how the author deals with them.

      Maybe I'm pickier than some readers about different storylines, I just like to think of it as knowing exactly what I like! :-)


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    4. Trixi, there's certainly nothing wrong with knowing what you like! It's interesting to hear your thoughts. I like to know what readers like and dislike. Definitely helpful!

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  44. Great post! I’ve found some of the greatest conflict comes from my characters’ core wounds and deepest fears. It helps so much, especially when bullets aren’t flying.

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    1. Tara, that's my favorite type conflict, too.

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    2. Yes! Exactly, Tara! I should talk about that in a future post, the wounds and fears of the characters. Definitely helpful. Thanks!

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  45. I've enjoy your retelling of fairy tales so much. I've ready your collection. Yes, you are a wonderful storyteller. Great post and so important to remember. Put me in the drawing.
    Cindy Huff

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    1. Thanks so much, Cindy! Bless you.
      You are in the drawing!

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  46. Reader here. I think I like it when the characters like/love each other and have obstacles to overcome.
    I loved your example of tension in While You Were Sleeping as it’s one of my favorite movies. Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Thanks, Anne! It is a fun movie! And I must like that too, when characters like/love each other but have to overcome obstacles, because that's nearly every one of my books. LOL

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  47. Conflict is my biggest hurdle. I have a hard time making my characters suffer! My daughter (11 yrs) says, "In order to be good, a story need to have problems. Otherwise it's boring." I always think of that when I want to make it too easy on my characters!

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    1. Becky, yes! Your 11-yr-old is very smart! Listen to her! LOL! Whenever you catch yourself thinking, "Aw, I don't want to do that to (insert hero or heroine's name)." you have to squash it! Ruthlessly! You must put your writing goals ahead of the feelings of your characters. It's a cold hard truth, but it is the reality of writing.
      Good luck!

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  48. Melanie, sorry I couldn't pop into Seekerville yesterday. I just had to stop by and tell you I've reached the midpoint of a contemporary romance and it feels like I'm slogging through Karo syrup.

    Solution? I had the old boyfriend pop in, and he confronts the new love at her house. Uh oh. That was an exciting scene, but now I have to figure out if the old boyfriend keeps popping back in to the plot or whether he's created enough havoc to keep the conflict going. It really IS harder to create conflict in a straight romance.

    Thanks for your post!

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  49. Go, Barbara! Well, it couldn't hurt to add something else into the mix, maybe to stir up an old fear, or an old wound, from the hero or heroine's past, possibly even conflicting fears and wounds! That's always fun! :-)
    It's good to see you, Barbara! The last time was at the Christy Awards in Nov. That was fun, eh? :D

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  50. Hi Melanie! Sorry I couldn't come by yesterday either, but I am glad I got here today! Great post! I am still a work in process for writing and just doing some plotting ideas right now. I can't really say what kind of conflict I like best. I think I enjoy romantic mysteries and suspense most. I think I like when the characters have to work together for justice or to solve a problem. I really am not a huge fan of the couple who hate each other throughout the book only to fall in love. It is too soap opera like.

    Thanks for sharing! I look forward to your next post!

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    1. Kelly, that's cool. You're in the right place as you work through your writing process and finding out what works for you!
      Thanks for commenting!

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  51. I have to say that I like different forms of conflicts/tensions in the books I read. They can't all be the same or I'd get tired of them. (I don't understand people who only read one genre of book.) Anyway, I do like the they've know of each other for a long time but they have to overcome obstacles. Like he's dating someone else or she's away at school/work or something!

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    1. I'm the same way, Arletta. I try really hard to not let my books all sound the same! Or have the same types of conflict or plot.
      Thanks for stopping by!

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  53. Hi Melanie, I just want to say how much I enjoy your books. I have almost all of them, and have really enjoyed the ones I've read so far. I am a writer, but not a published one. And that's a huge goal of mine, to publish one day. I've wanted to do so for a long time, and I finally decided to go for it. I've been working on a story for several months now. I love the writing process. I love creating my own characters and directing them where I would like them to go. But I think it's so awesome when they say or do something that I wasn't anticipating. So so fun!

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    1. Hi, Kandice! Yes, creating characters and directing where to go and what to do is really fun. :-) Especially when it all just seems to come together! Enjoy it! And keep writing. The most important thing is to persevere and never give up. AND keep coming to Seekerville! You will learn so much here!
      Thanks so much, Kandice!

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    2. Thank you Melanie! I will! I really appreciate your insights! And thank you for the advice! That's what I needed to hear. :)

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  54. I enjoyed your article and the comments afterwards. Was there any one book that you wrote that meant more to you than your other books? Maybe because the characters were closer to your experiences of the heart?

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