I finished a romance last night that I considered a sub-par read. I won't say which book or which author, but I will tell you why I finished it. I learned A LOT about my own writing. I learned what I don't want to do and also how to improve my own writing. Bottom line: Conflict is everything.
This story didn't seem to have any sense of urgency in it. I kept wondering why the hero and heroine didn't just have their "Happily Ever After" right from the beginning. What kept the hero and heroine apart didn't feel very compelling or convincing. The author did write it so the heroine had to go through a transformation, but I didn't feel the characters were well motivated. Or maybe I just didn't understand their motivation. I really thought there could have been so much more depth to the novel, but the author didn't take the time to show us why the heroine did and said the things she did and said.
When I brainstormed with Heather during the retreat, she said wonderful things about my character goals, motivations and conflicts, but she also asked why these things HAD to happen right now. She made me think about the urgency of the events and she helped me make my upcoming manuscript that much richer because my heroine's goals conflict with the hero's AND she needs to have it all happen as soon as possible.
With the story I just read, there was no urgency. There didn't seem to be anything at stake for either character and I still don't know what motivated the hero to do anything he did. He just came across as a perfect hero. Which in my opinion makes a perfectly boring hero.
CONTEST NEWS: Don't miss my October contest! Check out my previous post for all the details. The basics? Leave a comment, mention something Scottish by midnight Monday, October 8th and then be eligible to win a prize on October 9th!