So my assignment for the day was to figure out what Marin and Wyatt’s incompatibility is.  I have great difficulty in writing what Pot refers to as “Impossible Relationships”–those sorts of set ups where there’s some major issue that’s surely insurmountable (but of course, it’s romance, so naturally they overcome whatever the impossible thing is).  For example, one of my favorite of hers is a match between an assassin and a cop.  Damn if she didn’t make it work.  On a less dramatic scale there are lots of different aspects that a couple can be compatible or incompatible on, so my efforts tonight were spent on making a list of those aspects.  For the purposes of fiction, these are more pertinant in the beginning, as we’re not concerned with honest to goodness, long-term, real-life compatibility–the HEA is a given in romance, or should be.  If we’ve done our jobs properly, we’ve made the reader believe that our hero and heroine are going to make it!  In any event, this was the list I came up with after some brainstorming with my pal Zoe and some judicious googling:

1. Different financial styles

2. Commitment issues

3. Religious beliefs

4. Political views

5. Morning person vs. night person

6. Introvert vs. extrovert

7. Hyperactive vs. more sedate

8. Intelligence/education differences

9. Cultural/ethnic/family background differences

10. Personal mission differences (such as one of them is the “bad guy”)

11. One is more independent and the other more dependant

12. Sexual incompatibilities

13. Differences in work ethic

14. Orientation toward time (i.e. a long term thinker vs. an in the moment person)

15. Emotional style

16. Communication style

17. Values and priorities

18. Level of self-knoweldge

19. Problem solving style

20. Orientation toward success

21. Approach to change

22. Cognitive Flexibility

23. Level of affection/warmth

24. Social roles

25. Social judgments (how they judge other people)

You can choose one aspect or several.  For example, you might have a hero who’s an active, doing kind of a guy, who’s very traditional in his expectations of a woman and pair him up with a heroine who’s gutsy, independent, and emotional.  Plenty of room to butt heads.  Unlike in real life, conflict is the spice of fiction (a friend of mine says this is why she doesn’t tend to read romance–because she doesn’t believe all the impossible relationships and thinks oh, they’ll be divorced in five years–I figure this means she hasn’t read any good ones).  So it’s important to keep things interesting.  Don’t be afraid to put your lovers on opposite sides of something–it just makes it that much more powerful when they finally come together.

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