As a writing coach, I often work with writers to increase the conflict. Fiction isn’t just about creating a situation that might seem likely in real life; it’s about UPPING THE DRAMATIC ANTE. Conflict is tougher, characters are more intense, the environment is more formidable than normal life. It’s a very interesting process to get people to this level in their writing, taking normal scenes and summaries and revving them up, so to speak.
Current models of fiction depend a LOT on conflict, conflict that builds to a crescendo. The power of the pain your characters feel can not be underestimated. A writing client (Tess Hardwick, www.myauthenticpath.com) just sent me this blog and it explains it well: http://www.copyblogger.com/romance-novels/