Apologies to Alice. She told (ordered???) me to blog before she had to leave for Emerald City today. I know I missed her deadline. So, since I know she took her computer with her (as she can't live without the thing) I have a feeling she'll find some way to log on and see this. My only excuse for not posting before you left, Alice, is that my hubby decided to take the day off from work, and we all know how hubbies have a way of messing with our schedules. 'nuff said.
So I've been doing a lot of reading lately. In my genre, out of my genre, across the river and off to Grandma's house. And here's something interesting I'm noticing. Within the romantic suspense genre, external conflict rules and internal conflict is a fleeting thing. I'm not sure why this is, maybe because RS is going more mainstream and trying to draw more male readers in. (Think Lisa Jackson, Tami Hoag, Allison Brennan...) It's not so much the romance taking a backseat to the suspense as it is that romance missing the "what's keeping them apart" element I've always read RS for.
The last one, two, three....heck, five RS books I've read have progressed like this: Hero and heroine meet. Someone dies. Hero and heroine are at odds, they end up working together, fighting an attraction, convinced the other one is completely wrong for them. Sure, they dodge bullets and often someone gets hurt, but they still don't like each other for (usually) pretty good reasons. Then about halfway through the book they have sex and suddenly, all the reasons they couldn't be together anymore fizzle. What happened to the big secret? What happened to the lies? What happened to all those trust issues????? Zip, zing, gone.
I know why this happens. In an RS there's so much external conflict going on it's hard to keep the internal conflict alive, and as we writers know, it's especially hard to do that after the wham-bam-thank-you-ma'am, and especially when there's so much life-or-death action that has to be squeezed into a measly word count. But in an effort to raise the physical stakes, I think a lot of RS authors are losing the emotional pull on their readers. In most of the RS books I've read recently (new releases) I can't remember what the emotional pull was between the two characters, what kept them apart, and how they got over it. And ultimately, those books - even if the plots were fantabulous - won't go on to my keeper shelves. I read (and write) RS for a reason. I love the thrills and chills of the suspense, but at the heart of every one is a phenomenal love story. And I'm here to tell you, if the only thing keeping those characters apart is a quick roll in the sheets, it's not going to be enough to hold my interest.
Anyone noticing this in any other genres? Paranormal tends to deal with a lot of external conflict. Is it happening there or is it only in RS? And how do you guys (girls) feel about this concept of external conflict vs. internal conflict? Are you okay with a couple knowing they're destined to be together halfway through the book or do you need more internal angst?