Today’s guest post on romantic comedy is from multi-published author Alison May whose bubbling sense of fun comes through brilliantly in her writing.
(Alison and Joanna are members of the same local chapter of the Romantic Novelists’ Association. Needless to say, Alison always manages to inject some laughter into the meetings.)
Love and laughter go together, according to Alison …
Romantic Comedy — Love and Laughter
Romance and comedy are natural bedfellows. Shakespeare knew it when he threw Benedick and Beatrice together in Much Ado About Nothing. Jane Austen knew it when she teamed Pride with Prejudice. And Hollywood has known it repeatedly from Doris Day and Rock Hudson, to Harry meeting Sally and beyond.
The two sit so perfectly together because love is such a rich source of comedy. It makes us throw caution to the winds and do stupid things. It makes us awkward. It makes us tongue-tied. It makes us, frankly, ridiculous, and where there are humans being ridiculous, there is comedy.
As a reader of romantic comedy . . .
As a reader I love romantic comedy, because I get the joy of the happy ending alongside the relief that it’s somebody else who’s just turned up to a family party in a bunny costume . . .
Or been forced to endure a mortifying proposal from the family vicar.
As a writer of romantic comedy. . .
As a writer I sometimes feel differently, because nothing is more exposing for an author than trying to be funny. What’s funny, ultimately, is highly subjective. At least as a writer I’m spared the terror that stand-up comedians live with — saying to an audience, “So you know what it’s like when…” and having a room of a thousand people stare back in blank silence.
But still, there are — we hope — readers out there. And there’s no way of knowing, as a writer squirrelled away behind her keyboard, whether those readers are laughing in the places we hoped or not.
Writing comedy is an act of faith in another way too. What was funny when you first wrote it will be tiresome in the extreme when you read it again for the ninth time during your second round of copy edits. And at that point it is sorely tempting to edit all the funny bits out of your own novel.
It’s incredibly hard to hold on to the belief that That Line about the aspidistra and the goalkeeper is comedy gold when you’ve spent twenty minutes wondering if goalkeeper should be hyphenated and whether aspidistra is a proper noun.
Romantic Comedy — Where to Find the Magic and Laughter?
Anyway, rather than me wittering on, if you’re interested in writing romantic comedy then you could do a lot worse than looking at the following writers. Read and learn!
Jane Lovering won the Romantic Novel of the Year Award in 2012 with her novel, Please Don’t Stop the Music. It is very well-worth a read.
Her Yorkshire Vampires series is also well worth a look if you like your romance with a side order of fang.
Mhairi McFarlane burst onto the romantic comedy scene in 2012 with You Had Me At Hello. She’s one of the most exciting voices in the genre at the moment.
I highly recommend her.
And finally, the absolute Queen of the genre remains Marian Keyes. Keyes was one of the original chick lit novelists when that exasperating term was coined back in the day. Her first novel, Watermelon, actually came out a few months before Bridget Jones’s Diary.
Keyes’ novels remain dark and real and very, very funny.
Alison, the Shrinking Violet?
Many thanks to Alison for her thoughts on romantic comedy. First time a piece has had an advert for three other writers at the end! I can’t say that I’ve ever thought of Alison as a Shrinking Violet before, either 😉
To find out more about Alison May — novelist, short story writer, blogger and creative writing tutor — visit her website. There you can find out about her latest books and her forthcoming projects. She’ll also tell you about the many strands of her career before she became a maker-upper of stories. You can also contact Alison on Facebook or on Twitter @MsAlisonMay
Alison’s three Christmas Kiss novellas will be released together in paperback for the first time this November. They’re available to order now.
Three girls, three kisses, three gorgeous Christmas stories.
Holly hates Christmas with a passion and can’t wait to escape it — but then the flight to her once-in-a-lifetime holiday destination is cancelled.
Cora has had the year from hell, and faces a bleak Christmas working in Golding’s department store — in the most unflattering reindeer costume imaginable.
Jessica is in denial after her husband’s betrayal, and can’t help but think back to when her life still seemed so full of hope and promise.
Three years from hell, three sets of broken dreams, three girls in desperate need of Christmas spirit.
Is the perfect Christmas kiss all it takes?