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The Complete Handbook of Novel Writing, 3rd Edition by Writer's Digest Writer's Digest Editors

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Chapter Forty-Four

Love Gone Wrong

Five Common Flaws in Romance Novels

Leigh Michaels

If you sense that something is wrong with your romance work-in-progress, you can likely blame one of the five following problems: (1) inadequate conflict, (2) unrealistic or unsympathetic characters, (3) unclear relationship motivation, (4) straying focus, or, simply, (5) lackluster writing. As an award-winning romance novelist who continues to lead writing workshops in the genre, I have encountered one or more of these issues in every unsuccessful romance novel I’ve ever read. Here is how to diagnose—and treat—these ailments in your own manuscript.

1. INADEQUATE CONFLICT

A story about two people who are doing little more than fighting against their overwhelming ...

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