Monday, 16 May 2016

I Heart Romantic Comedy

Sometimes writers of Romantic Comedies get looked down upon by some of the more serious genre writers of, say, crime or science fiction, because they think it takes less skill. But writing comedy isn’t as easy as it seems.
Romantic comedy can be labelled as Chick-Lit and Romcom, both of which are fine by me, but I know that if a reader picks up a book in my genre they are expecting the writer to deliver 100% solid content. Much the same as any mystery or crime thriller writer would have to for their readers.
When I think about my readers and what they expect from me, the list is long. I must have a romance at the heart of my story, I must deliver a happy ever after and I must make the reader feel good. But my reader doesn’t want to be bored by predictability; I have to throw in curve balls, sub-plots, barriers to the happy ending and the feeling that it is out of reach. And throughout all the tears and messy bits, I have deliver on the comedic value, too.
Most of all my reader wants to sit back and enjoy the ride and feel like they are in a safe pair of hands.
That’s my challenge and one I gladly accept and the reason why I don’t feel that my writing skills are any less than my more literary contemporaries.
Admittedly, writing romcoms is a new journey for me and I expect it will take time before anyone will actually say the words: ‘Hey, have you read the new one by Rosa Temple?’ But that’s okay, because for now, I’m enjoying the ride.
I have to say, that though my audience is very small right now, the majority of them like what they are reading from me. More so for Natalie’s Getting Married than for my first publication, Sleeping With Your Best Friend. But, again, that’s okay, too, it only means I’m getting better, right? (Mind you, reviews for Sleeping With Your Best Friend were pretty good).
So yes, I’m taking a lot of comfort in the reviews for Natalie and it’s inspiring a whole string of ideas of what to write next. At the time of this post coming out, I have already got two novels on the go and a notebook filling up with ideas, plot lines and even dialogue for characters who are still not fully formed.
So what makes for good romantic comedy?
Content, content content. I try so hard not to have any of, what I call, ‘throw away’ words, sentences or paragraphs. Every syllable counts otherwise you lose the reader and we all know how boring it gets reading something that only grips you every ten pages.
Next - dimensions. Okay, so there is comedy but that doesn’t mean you can’t write about serious things. In Natalie’s Getting Married there are lots of ‘serious’ situations; anything from having your heart broken to watching your father have a stroke. Being able to marry this sort of content with laughter is no mean feat, I assure you.
True to life situations. Nothing beats being realistic but by that I don’t mean humdrum. I work on my characters and make them realistic but larger than life at the same time. For me characters in comedy are so important, more-so than setting I think, so they must be colourful and spring at you from the page.
Yes, I’m a work in progress, but believe me when I say I work hard at what I do and I’ll never stop trying to improve. A writer is as good as his or her last book, so with that in mind – I’m off to do some more writing!

First posted on Sparkly World on 15th March 2016

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