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Discussion Starter #1
Hi everyone, I'm drawing up plans on my first decidedly romance series and I'm getting a bit stuck on how to weave into their romance the right kinds of obstacles. So I figured I'd just ask what everyone here savors the most.  :) I feel most captivated right now by the MMC (billionaire of course :D) having had a wife in the past who died, and perhaps reservations about not maintaining a high degree of independence, but other than that and perhaps a busy schedule... I don't know if I have enough to power enough plot for a series of novellas.  ???
 

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Well, I don't read a lot of straight romance, but my favorite obstacle is a mystery.  It doesn't have to be a murder, but perhaps some missing jewels or a mysterious stranger leaving notes--some kind of mystery plot.  That may not be helpful since I rarely read romances UNLESS they have a long dead relative haunting them or something of that nature.  I haven't read any of the billionaire series that are out there either.  I do, occasionally read a romance novella, usually of the "sweet" romance like Misha Crews or Margaret Lake.
 

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I am a huge romance reader and I am drawing a complete blank at this question. I don't think I ever thought about when picking a romance what obstacles there might be, if any. Isn't that part of the story? So I wouldn't know that up front.

I am more about tropes and themes when I read romance. Maybe I am mixing up the terms here, or I am just confused.  ;D

I do know I hate when the characters just don't talk to each other so misunderstandings are there that could have been resolved within 20 pages. Not sure if that is a obstacle or what. I am still not sure what that exactly means.

Other than picking subgenres of romance based on my mood at the time, I also pick by theme or trope sometimes. The tortured historical Hero is always a favorite, or the rake with a golden heart that falls in love without noticing before the reader and you really really believe it. Especially if the heroine is someone that is either a bookworm, wallflower or just otherwise not a fluffy empty head.

I am also clueless what MMC means in regards to billionaires. If I want a rich and powerful hero, older harlequin presents did it way better than most of the stuff out there now. But thats me.

I also don't consider a serial or a non ending series a romance. HEA/HFN in each book. If they are like 3 books, I'll just call it a really really long book if I like the story, rarely though. I don't read novellas either. Just not enough length for me to get the whole romance in there.

I don't think I am much help.  ;D
 

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And I completely agree with Atunah--each novella or novel needs to have its own happily ever after.  If you are writing "serials" where there are episodes of "romance" with the same couple over x novellas until resolved, I avoid those like the plague.  I don't read serials so I can't help there.  If you mean a series where a different set of characters has their HEA in each book/story, I usually read the first only.  But I am honestly not enough of a romance reader to be your target audience.  Even in mystery series I expect each mystery to be solved in a single novel.  There can be over-arching family issues (subplots) that aren't resolved in a single novel (like maybe the heroine has a meddling mother-in-law or mother and she has to "Grow" in each novel as she learns to deal with it) but the main mystery has to be solved for me.  No serials there either.


 

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I'm assuming MMC stands for main male character.

I don't read a huge amount of romance but I do love a rogue who has some sort of traumatic past he's running from (or back towards) and holds women at an emotional distance because of it - but then can't help falling in love with the heroine, even as he fights it. I think the traumatic past being a deceased wife is a little too cliche for me, I'd like to see something a little more creative. My favs have been:

Nell Sweeney Series starting with Still Life With Murder (Nell Sweeney Mystery Series Book 1)

The Rebel Pirate: Renegades of the Revolution (Renegades of Revolution)

Spoilers:

In Nell Sweeney, her love interest is a man with a complex upbringing who served as a doctor in the civil war and was taken prisoner in Andersonville, where he blamed himself for his little brother's death and can never forgive himself. Either attempting to punish himself or obliterate the memories and pain, he becomes an opium addict. But then the heroine enters his life and he's torn between allowing himself to be happy and believing he doesn't deserve it.
In Rebel Pirate, the love interest is living under a fake identity as a British naval captain in attempts to track down his murderous father and avenge his mother. It's been his life's mission and once he accomplishes it, he knows he'll have to abandon his life as captain and live on the run so he never plans to marry or have a future with anyone. But the heroine pops up and he's torn between wanting to make a life with her and want to complete his life's mission.
 

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Atunah said:
I do know I hate when the characters just don't talk to each other so misunderstandings are there that could have been resolved within 20 pages. Not sure if that is a obstacle or what. I am still not sure what that exactly means.
Agreed. I don't mind obstacles that stop them from talking - and I don't even mind hurt feelings and pride. But heavens above, if the issue can be solved with a 30 second phone call, SOLVE IT WITH A 30 SECOND PHONE CALL PEOPLE.

I think I can list the things that I don't like, as opposed to what I like ;)
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks for the responses everyone. :) By obstacles I meant the conflicts and issues that stand in the way of the lovers getting their HEA. I think I've pretty much figured out what these will be though, simply by thinking harder on who the characters are and what that would naturally imply for what would both draw them together and push them apart. ;)

I've also decided it'll be one novel because it definitely didn't seem to make sense to try to tell their story across more than one book. I have the impression that this happens more in erotic romance where the sex is more the main focus. Otherwise I have the impression that either the pacing would have to be incredibly slow to keep them from getting to the HEA in one book or the characters would have to have so many issues to work out that people wouldn't find them interesting enough to read about in the first place, especially for multiple books.  ;D

Interestingly I've never read a lot of romance before but I'm finding writing it to be immensely interesting.  :) I guess it's because so much of the story revolves around the character's emotional experience, which means the characters themselves need to come across as real people for it to work, and it's a lot of fun to imagine and create realistic characters.  8)
 

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Sweet Amber said:
Interestingly I've never read a lot of romance before but I'm finding writing it to be immensely interesting. :) I guess it's because so much of the story revolves around the character's emotional experience, which means the characters themselves need to come across as real people for it to work, and it's a lot of fun to imagine and create realistic characters. 8)
Even though it sounds like you've landed in a spot you're happy with, I always think it's essential to read as much as you can within your genre. It helps expose you to trends that may be played out and may inspire you with a new idea or two.
 

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Daniel Harvell said:
Even though it sounds like you've landed in a spot you're happy with, I always think it's essential to read as much as you can within your genre. It helps expose you to trends that may be played out and may inspire you with a new idea or two.
I wanted to say that. ;D But then I started thinking for how this thread turned out, it really should probably be in the writer corner. I don't think it worked very well in the reader corner.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Daniel Harvell said:
Even though it sounds like you've landed in a spot you're happy with, I always think it's essential to read as much as you can within your genre. It helps expose you to trends that may be played out and may inspire you with a new idea or two.
Definitely, I agree. I'm doing this now actually, just wish I had more reading time. I've got a lot of catch-up to play. ;D
 

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Sweet Amber said:
Hi everyone, I'm drawing up plans on my first decidedly romance series and I'm getting a bit stuck on how to weave into their romance the right kinds of obstacles. So I figured I'd just ask what everyone here savors the most. :) I feel most captivated right now by the MMC (billionaire of course :D) having had a wife in the past who died, and perhaps reservations about not maintaining a high degree of independence, but other than that and perhaps a busy schedule... I don't know if I have enough to power enough plot for a series of novellas. ???
That sounds like the H simply suffers from RTC--Reluctance to Commit. Whatever the reason, I don't consider that an obstacle (conflict?), at least, not one that can sustain a full-length novel. It's simply a contrived motivation that doesn't hold up. Also, I agree w/ Atunah that one of the stupidest tropes/conflicts/whatever-you-call-it is "the misunderstanding," which one conversation--or even one question-- between the two characters would clear up in five minutes.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Jena H said:
That sounds like the H simply suffers from RTC--Reluctance to Commit. Whatever the reason, I don't consider that an obstacle (conflict?), at least, not one that can sustain a full-length novel. It's simply a contrived motivation that doesn't hold up.
Thanks for your reply, interestingly just as I've started to take another look at what I've already written for this book (the project's been shelved for awhile now). :)

I think one of the major reasons I've stopped working on it, even though I really dig the concept and the characters, is because I haven't managed to find a motivating conflict that drills deep enough to power the book. Maybe I've not allowed the billionaire to be flawed enough? :D
 
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