Internal vs. External Conflict

Post-Interval vs. External Conflict2

When it comes to drama and angst in a romance novel some readers love it and some readers could do without it. But either way, that conflict has to come from somewhere; whether it’s internal drama like trust or broken hearts or external drama like serial killers or deadly environments, at least a little bit of drama is usually standard in a romance.

I personally love external conflict that brings the characters together and forces them to confront their feelings. When I started reading romance I read a lot of suspense and paranormal so it was only natural to read a bunch of books with external conflict. Some of my favorites include a bad guy who has targeted the main couple and a deadly situation that strands the characters in a dangerous environment. Both of these scenarios keep the tension and emotions high and provide a lot of action alongside the romance. I love the immediate trust that these situations create as the characters have to depend on each other for their safety or survival. Of course, these books usually only span a few days and the characters often have a lot of insta-lust or insta-love. I don’t really mind this but I know it’s not for every reader.

When it comes to internal conflict we’re usually talking about contemporary romance and the angst can go through the roof! I’m not a huge fan of over the top angst but sometimes I’m in the mood and there’s definitely some authors that can deliver on that. This internal conflict usually comes from tragic back stories that the characters are still working through. I tend to lean toward the type of angst that forces a character to learn to trust again or learn to accept themselves again. These angsty books are usually beautifully emotional and they’re the type of reads that grab your heart and squeeze painfully.

And of course many, many books include both internal and external conflict for the characters to navigate. The challenge for the author is to not overwhelm the story with drama and find a way to still reach that happily ever after the reader is dying to get.

Post Separator.

What’s your preferred form of conflict?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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