Romantic Comedy — Guest Post by Alison May

romantic comedy author Alison May


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

much-ado-posterRomance 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.

In search of inspiration. Close-up of author lying in the heap of crumpled paper while sitting against grey background

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


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.

violetAlison, 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

sweet-nothingmidsummer-dreamsAlison’s romantic comedies, Sweet Nothing, Midsummer Dreams, and the Christmas Kisses series are published by Choc Lit.

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?

8 thoughts on “Romantic Comedy — Guest Post by Alison May

  1. Jenni Keer

    Great piece from a genuinely funny lady.
    As someone who also tries (very hard) to write comedy, I agree with Alison’s point about the rereading. Sometimes things aren’t so funny after the forty-third time. But I also love that moment when something you had written a while ago catches you off guard and makes you laugh. Even if you can’t quite remember writing it…

    1. Alison May

      That is a lovely moment. There’s a scene in Midsummer Dreams that still makes me laugh now if I read it. Sadly that’s quite uncommon though – staring at the page and wondering ‘What was I thinking?’ is a far more typical experience for me!

  2. janegordoncumming

    Yes, humour is so subjective, isn’t it? Mine tends to arise from character rather than farce, which is so difficult to put successfully on the page. In ‘A Real Family Holiday’ I’ve shown some scenes from the point of view of a seven-year-old boy, I think he’s funny (well, I would), but someone said a child as p.o.v. character was out of place in women’s fiction. Don’t know what she’d make of the cat in ‘A Proper Family Christmas’.

    1. Alison May

      Personally I take anyone saying ‘Oh you can’t do x in this genre’ with a big pinch of salt. I’d say you can do anything you like if it’s written well enough. Unfortunately the ‘writing it well enough’ is often the tricky bit…

  3. Elizabeth Bailey

    Comedy is such an interesting subject. I’ve written comic plays for performance in the school where I taught, and sometimes comic historical romances too. But often I don’t know it’s funny until I’ve written it, and even more often I didn’t intend to be funny. When I did – having promised a comedy play for my students – I was in despair for ages because it wasn’t in the least funny. And then I wrote one scene that clicked and it started to work. But I admire anyone who writes comedy all the time. I think it’s horrendously difficult, so kudos to you, Alison!

    1. Alison May

      I’ve actually had a bit of a break from writing comedy recently and written something much darker. But I’m going on a sitcom writing course next week which I’m half looking forward too, and half terrified of – what if I’ve forgotten how to do funny?!?

  4. Rhoda Baxter

    Brilliant blog post! It’s very serious work writing comedy. I urge you to read Alison’s Midsummer Dreams – the sword fight scene is one of the funniest things I’ve read in ages.

Comments are closed.