I've spent the past couple of days (well, OK--weeks!) working on a new proposal/synopsis, and once again my agent has been saying "the romance is overshadowed by the other stuff" and "not enough CONFLICT between the hero and heroine."
I scratch my head and roll my eyes and think, jeez, what is this? About the 27th or 28th book I'm working on here? And how many times have I taught sessions on internal and external conflict? And how many times has my agent had to point this up as the only--but essential!--element I need to improve on.
Is this because I wish the true love part could be that steady, upward line to the happily-ever-after? (Now, there's a fantasy!) Is it because I, by nature, avoid conflict whenever possible and always seek to please and pacify in real life?
But finally this morning, I made a few changes in my characters' backstories: made the femme fatale drama queen "villain" (who is bipolar) more positive and sympathetic; a woman who skips her meds because they interfere with her psychic abilities, which are how she earns her income. Made the heroine AFRAID of all these psychic types she's meeting up with in the seaside town she's fled to, from an abusive ex, and made the clairsentient numerologist hero really concerned that he'll lose her--like he lost his first wife--simply because his extrasensory powers frighten her. But that's who he IS. Can't change that about himself.
Not that difficult. Not that earth-shattering--but I finally spelled it out in specifics, which means I finally had to put it into words instead of just *thinking* I knew what was going on. And this afternoon I finally got my agent's e-mail saying "MUCH BETTER!" with a smiley-face.
Whew. For a couple days there, I was wondering if I'd lost it!
Now back to revamping that synopsis!