Risky Regencies

Good Conflict

I’m working on a fight between the hero and heroine in the balloonist story. I’m pretty happy with it so far and looking forward to the makeup sex that comes next. 🙂

But I realized while writing this that I don’t often write this sort of scene. IMHO one has to be careful with arguments and fights and use them only where they make sense.

I’m not a fan of stories in which the characters are constantly squaring off, unless there’s a really good reason. I have trouble imagining a happy ending when people can’t work anything out. There’s an idea out there that there are couples who constantly fight and make up and it makes things exciting. But the one couple I know in real life who are like that (and I was told early on that this was “just their way”) are fighting more bitterly as they get older. They are afraid to separate and yet neither is willing to compromise, apologize or forgive. It is not romantic. It is tragic. I want better for my heroes and heroines!

I also like story setups in which the hero and heroine are thrown together and try to get along toward some common goal, while there is some other problem that they have to solve before they can be together. Conflict doesn’t always have to be adversarial.

Anyway, what do you think makes a conflict work well? Do you sometimes enjoy a good fight (fictional, of course)?


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11 years ago

Like you, I don’t find the couples that constantly clash romantic. I have read some fantastic “fights.” These were fights that resulted from having differing information, and the fight was used as the vehicle for revealing that discrepancy. Misunderstandings happen. But open and ongoing hostility simply isn’t conducive to creating true intimacy; it throws up barriers, not takes them down.

Beth Elliott
11 years ago

I find couples who clash throughout the story make a wearying read and it’s impossible to believe in their happy ever after. A slight adjustment is believable but not the total change of character implied in those books. Thank you for the Darcy treat, which does provide believable conflict.

Diane Gaston
11 years ago

Sometimes an author uses a fight to substitute for true conflict between a hero and heroine. I always am disappointed when that happens.

You selected a masterful fight in P&P! In the movie version, I loved the sexual tension underlying the words.

Louisa Cornell
11 years ago

I’ve read a couple of historical romances that made the hero and heroine so unlikable when they fought that by the end of the novel I either decided they were both so immature they deserved each other or I told the hero to run because he deserved better than the hateful heroine!

There are all kinds of conflicts, but I think the ones in which the characters are conflicted within themselves and that colors their relationship with their significant other are the best.

Elena Greene
11 years ago

Agree with everyone, bickering does not equal conflict!

Louisa, I am with you in loving internal conflict. In fiction and movies, anyway! 🙂

11 years ago

Conflict adds spice, drama, and sometimes danger to a story. As long as the H & H are not nasty to each other, it is a plus for the story. Life and relations rarely go along without misunderstandings, or differences in opinions. It is how we work them out that shows what kind of [person we are.

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