Thank you to author Linze Brandon for this report back on Romy's talk on External vs Internal Conflict.
Romy dealt with the one subject that differentiates a narrative from a story, the dull from the exciting - conflict.
Without conflict in a story, there is no motivation for the reader to finish the story. The reader will not be rooting for the hero (and heroine) and will soon be bored since there will be nothing that drives the story to its conclusion.
Does the hero overcome his biggest obstacle? Do the hero and heroine finally overcome their past prejudices, fears, histories, problems and let their hearts embrace the love waiting for them?
Even in romance fiction external conflict needs to assist in the internal conflict that drives the story forward. The main plot is the development of the relationship, and the focus must remain on the romance even in romantic sub-genres.
Romy addressed both the aspects of internal conflict and external conflict in category romance fiction with clear examples and focus on the genre's expectations.
Romance stories are primarily stories about relationships, and the motivation (or lack thereof) that the main characters experience to get to their happily ever after.
All other story structures need to support this concept and Romy addressed this with clarity in her talk. She also went on to explain what conflict is not, as these situations are often confused with what does constitute the conflict in the scene.
Overall a talk well worth listening to, even for published authors as we sometimes need a reminder of the essential elements of the stories that we write.
~Romy Sommer is the Chairperson and one of the founding members of ROSA.
~Linzé Brandon is a member of ROSA and the administrator of the official Twitter account @SARomance