Girls Write Out
Sunday, April 28, 2013
There are few things that can sink a good romance novel faster than a weak obstacle. The purpose of the obstacle is, of course, to keep the hero and heroine apart until they reach happily ever after.

Most romance novels have 2 obstacles: internal and external. An internal obstacle is something that occurs inside of us. It involves issues such as:

fear of loving
inability to trust
past betrayal

External obstacles are more tangible.

Feuding families (Romeo and Juliet)
Geographical separation (Sleepless in Seattle)
Separated by time (The Lake House)
Already engaged (The Wedding Planner)

The internal obstacle comes pretty quickly for me when plotting, but the external obstacle usually requires more planning. And I've learned (the hard way) to really think this one through. If you have a strong external obstacle, writing the novel will be easier. If you have a weak obstacle, not only will the story be unsatisfying, but you'll find yourself plodding through the middle of the book trying to find reasons the hero and heroine can't be together. Or, equally worse, you'll keep using your weak obstacle and make a molehill into a mountain. The reader will see right through this.

So do yourself a favor and make sure both of your obstacles are strong enough to keep the hero and heroine apart for the course of the novel. You'll be thankful you did--and so will your readers.

Have there been any obstacles that have kept you apart from a loved one? What is the obstacle keeping the hero and heroine apart in the last romance you read?

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Denise Hunter  
posted at 9:17 PM  
  Comments (3)
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At 7:44 AM, Blogger Janet said...

Such a simple concept! This is very helpful, Denise. Thank you!

At 9:43 AM, Blogger Denise Hunter said...

You're welcome, Janet. Simple yes, but very important.

At 8:54 AM, Blogger Scraproni Adventures of Single Woman said...

Actually work keeps me separate from my dad and his continual illness has kept my mum and I separate from travelling overseas. My family has a history of sickness occuring during a time where someone is travelling or about to travel somewhere. Its quite bizare.


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The Authors
Kristin Billerbeck
Kristin Billerbeck is a proud Californian, wife, mother of four, and connoisseur of the irrelevant. She writes Christian Chick Lit; where she finds need for most of the useless facts lulling about in her head.

Colleen Coble

Colleen Coble writes romantic suspense with a strong atmospheric element. A lovable animal of some kind--usually a dog--always populates her novels. She can be bribed with DeBrand mocha truffles.

Denise Hunter

Denise Hunter writes women's fiction and love stories with a strong emotional element. Her husband says he provides her with all her romantic material, but Denise insists a good imagination helps too.

Diann Hunt

Diann Hunt writes romantic comedy and humorous women's fiction. She has been happily married forever, loves her family, chocolate, her friends, chocolate, her dog, and well, chocolate.

Hannah Alexander

Cheryl Hodde writes romantic medical suspense under the pen name of Hannah Alexander, using all the input she can get from her husband, Mel, for the medical expertise. For fun she hikes and reads. Out of guilt, she rescues discarded cats. She and Mel are presently taking orders from four pampered strays.

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