Breaking Up is Hard to Do

One of the most difficult things for me as a romance reader and writer is that the hero and the heroine spend most of their time not together. Yes, I know that books need conflict otherwise, where would the fun be? If the central characters realized they were perfect for one another on page 1 and faced absolutely no opposition or division, there’s no way to get to page 250 without the book being deadly dull. But when you love your characters deeply and want them to be together, it’s hard to deal with the plot’s need for separation.

Within the master romance plots, I feel like there are two basic arcs. Either the hero and heroine get together early in the book but break-up/are separated/face some sort of external conflict/etc. or they resist getting together until the end of the book.

I didn’t realize it until now, but my recently completed manuscript, my current work-in-progress, and at least 2 of the books that I have sketched out in my head are the former. One of these days, I need to write the latter, if only for variety’s sake.

I’m up to 20,000 words on the novella, which I think is between half-way and two-thirds of the way through the manuscript. But now, having achieved what I find to be an emotionally satisfying reunion of former lovers, I’ve had to separate them. I know that it’s necessary and that the separation will help them work through their final emotional issue and truly reach happily ever after. But it honestly makes me sad to write. It makes me want to start working on another story where I can write the more fun “will we or won’t we,” thrill of the chase-type stuff.

How do you deal with conflict and separation in your writing? Do you love the angst? Do you run away screaming in horror?

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