I'd been writing Romance for a few years before I realized that the central challenge of romance lies in the careful balancing act required by whatever is keeping the main characters apart. The obstacle needs to be serious enough to make readers believe in the struggle to be together (which, of course, is the central issue of the book). But it also needs to be surmounted by the end of the book, in a definitive enough way to allow a convincing HEA. Possibly this is incredibly obvious to everyone else (once I'd realized it, it seemed obvious to me, too) but it was a really valuable discovery to me at the time I made it. If we ramp up one side of the equation (the reasons to be apart) we need to ramp up the other side as well (the resolution of those issues). And the more we ramp up each side (within the bounds of realism) the more dramatic the story will be. Anyone else had any epiphanies/realizations about Romance? Even if they seem obvious to you now, there was a time when they weren't, so... share! Maybe someone else here hasn't realized whatever it is yet!