Conflict is good.
It's what makes a good novel and a good romance.
But I've been thinking. It's not all about the conflict. Yes, it makes the reader want to read on. I've read some gripping books - I can't put them down, they're well-written, nail-biting, full of conflict. I've finished them, glad the conflict was resolved, but did I totally enjoy reading the book? No.
Because it's all in the journey. Maybe because I'm a romance reader, I like there to be romance and adventure inside the book. I like to be taken on a sensory adventure to another world, go through an experience. It's not just about solving a problem. That's why the sex scenes are such an integral part. I like to see how the couple interact, the pleasures and emotions they experience when they come together. I love it when a romance is set in an exotic location and I get to enter their world. I also bury myself in the world of who they are. But if they're miserable all the time, conflicted, suffering, I don't enjoy it so much. I want to experience that all-time high of falling in love and discovering another person - realising just how much they benefit the character's life.
So, no, it's not all about the conflict. Yes, there should be things holding the couple apart from committing to something long-term, but there should also be many things drawing them together. There should be those heart-rending moments when they separate and decide it's not going to work, but there should also be those times of electric chemistry, great interaction, fun experiences, happiness. Make the reader feel good. That's what I want in my books.
What do you think?
I think that's what makes romance novels so different. Crime novels make the reader scared, tense, suspenseful, curious. Adventure novels make their pulses race and take them through interesting experiences, but romance makes the reader happy and feel good. Isn't it a wonderful thing?