Damned Good Romances VI – Uncertainty of Outcome

This post is part of a series.

Part 1: Damn Good Romances
Part II: Romantic Tension
Part III: Romantic Conflict
Part IV: Emotional Intensity
Part V: Heart-Stopping Moments
Part VI: Uncertainty of Outcome
Part VII: Moment of Ultimate Vulnerability
Part VIII: Happy Ever After…For Now

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Uncertainty of Outcome

This is one of the hardest elements for a romance author to pull off, but when they get it right…wow!

Why is it so hard?  Because we all know the ending is guaranteed to be a happy-ever-after, or at the very least, happy-for-now, ending.  The relationship will be resolved by the end of the book.

So making you uncertain about the outcome of the relationship requires some masterful plotting, arranging events in such a why that you really can’t see how the relationship can possibly survive the events that are happening or likely to happen.

The other element that can add to the uncertainty in your mind is the romantic conflict.  If this is set up properly and is strong enough, then you might well wonder how on earth the hero and heroine could possibly overcome their differences.

If these elements are juggled just right, so that the relationship isn’t resolved until close to the end of the book, you’ll fly through the pages, hoping and wondering, until the very end, when you get the final satisfying resolution.

Think of your favourite romance novels, the ones on your keeper shelves that you re-read over and over.  I’m betting that most of them have this uncertainty quality.

It’s half the fun of reading romances.

Next: The Moment Of Vulnerability

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