Some Write It Hot

November 23, 2010

What, no conflict? by Lillian Grant

Filed under: Writing life — dangerouslysexy @ 04:00
Tags: , , , ,

I was working on an idea for NaNo the other day. (NaNo is a special kind of torture where writers go insane and sign up to write fifty thousand words in thirty days.) Anyway, I was working on plot ideas and my eldest wandered into my office and asked what I’m doing.

“Plotting,” says I, “My story needs conflict.”

His response. “Is it a war novel?”

Nooo, it’s romance of course!

So, why do you need conflict? Poor delusion child. I explained how it goes. Girl meets boy, or vise versa, they feel attracted, fall in love, something happens to pull them apart (conflict), they overcome the obstacle and live happily ever after.

He grins at me. “I’ve got a conflict for you. How about your hero is abducted by aliens. They probe him and when he returns to earth he’s gay. Now the heroine has to either get herself changed into a man or find the aliens to reverse the procedure if she wants to save their relationship.”

I do apologize for him. I gave birth to him and after that I have no idea what went wrong.

Funnily enough, around the same time as my son was regaling me with even more ridiculous ideas, a whole discussion opened up on Romance Divas about novels being contracted with no conflict in the plot and didn’t readers want conflict anymore.

I myself have a novella that has been tossed back at me by a publisher because it has no conflict. But I actually don’t mind stories without conflict. Hell, my favorite book of all time doesn’t even have a plot. I defy anyone to read Hunter S. Thompson’s Rum Diary and find the purpose of the book. Just when you think it’s about to get to the reason, the bit that ties it all together, it ends. Despite Hunter’s massive oversight in writing a book that has no real point, other than to meander through the life of journalist Paul Kemp as he lurches from drink to drink and from one apparent disaster to another, it’s a brilliant book.

Let’s be honest, most people don’t have romances with conflict, most relationships are not all Romeo and Juliet with calamity around every corner. Unfortunately my own romantic history has been full of conflict and hand wringing. Maybe that’s why I can accept a story where it’s all love and laughter because it’s not my experience of real life. How about you? Do you want conflict in your romance?

Read more from Lillian Grant at her website

%d bloggers like this: