The reader of my NWS Report believes that "conflict is the hardest nut for a writer to crack" and surprise surprise, conflict was one of the main problems with 'Wanted - An Unconventional Wife'.
My heroine Laura did have a good strong, internal conflict (a bad past relationship with an alpha male that left her with a pathological fear of being controlled) but my hero's conflict was not deep enough or emotional enough to make him sympathetic.
He was frankly, a bit of a git. Which would have been fine, but only if he'd had a good enough motivation for being a git.
There were some glimpses of deeper, more emotional motivations (fear of failure and bad role model for relationships set by his parents) but I didn't go deep enough.
I suppose I wanted to keep things a little lighter (thinking it was more Modern Heat) and was worried that Laura's conflict was a little heavy but I know now the emotion has to be there for both the hero and heroine for the reader to care about them. I think my two newest heroes have deeper conflicts and (I hope!) better motivations so I'm hoping I've learnt to up the emotional ante...
Also "In every single scene your characters have to be either establishing the conflict between them, confronting it or resolving it." Unfortunately my H & h were still arguing about the same stuff on page 100 as at the beginning so there wasn't a satisfactory evolution of the relationship.
I'd hoped I could just write a flowing story where the conflicts became gradually resolved (after a big Black Moment) but it would seem that every scene must count. So I need to think a bit more carefully before writing a scene about what I'm trying to achieve with it. Having a nice piece of dialogue in my head is not sufficient...
On another subject there was something in the Telegraph about the Mills and Boon UK website launching an online community today. I'm a little confused as surely this will just be duplicating the eharlequin site? I can't see anything about it online anyway but if anyone knows more please let me know.
There is also another news item about recession busting romance novels which is encouraging :-)