Loving to Laugh

laugh

At least once a week I’m asked if romantic comedy is currently marketable. While sometimes this category seems hot and then cold, I’d say that sharp, witty, well-executed romantic comedy can find a good home no matter what the publishing season. Note that I take the adjectives I used seriously. This is not a category that most writers can whip off with little effort. Successful writers of romantic comedy are gifted with the ability to find humor in everyday situations and the talent to share that humor in an entertaining way. The writing must fly like a magic carpet. The reader is looking for a fun story.

One successful writer of romantic comedy is Gail Sattler. Here is a great tip from Gail:

Good comedy comes from the heart, naturally. If it sounds forced or that someone is trying too hard, everything will fall flat. It’s got to come without it looking like a lot of effort, and it’s hard to be funny on cue. In writing, the best comedy is in the form of what can best be described as a running joke. The reason this works is because in the length of developing the background needed for the punchline to work, the reader is becoming personally involved. They know the characters, they know the strengths and often weaknesses, they know the setting, and they are already rooting for the character in some way. Then when the punchline happens, they’re right there to share it with the character – laughing with them, not at them. This also means that most of the time, with the best running jokes, if you just say the punch line the joke doesn’t work because in order for it to work the reader has to have been involved from the beginning. Or, in other words, the classic – “you had to be there.”

Does Gail’s tip remind you of your favorite comedic novel? Which one?

 

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What Makes a Christian Book “Christian”? (Part Two)


So what are some of the answers I’ve been given to the question “What makes a Christian book Christian”? Consider the following:

Written from a Christian world view Story offers hope Core of the story shows importance of faith in Christ

Similar to the things you all wrote in your comments (though I think your responses went far deeper.) But I’ve also been peppered with the following critical comments regarding Christian books:

It’s safe It doesn’t challenge the status quo It doesn’t leave anything unsettled, everything’s resolved Quality doesn’t match that of ABA books Easy answers Doesn’t make readers think Affirms readers beliefs and perspective
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News You Can Use – Sept. 27, 2011

Why You Still Don’t Have a Literary Agent – A good post about query letters by Jeff Rivera

The Best Writing Advice I’ve Ever Received – by Donald Miller (author of Blue Like Jazz)

The Power of a Book Bargain – Atlantic Magazine explores the effect of ebook pricing on the prices of all books. Do you agree or disagree? Sounds like fodder for a future blog post.

Ten Questions a Writer Should Ask BEFORE Quitting Their Day Job – from Writer’s Digest

33 Tips for Bloggers – Good stuff!

Changing Our English Language – Infographic (If you can’t see it, click through to the blog for the image.)

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ACFW 2011 Report

This past weekend nearly 700 novelists, editors, agents, and industry professionals gathers in St. Louis for the 10th annual American Christian Fiction Writers conference.

It is always invigorating to be with so many highly creative people and to be a part of the discovery and development of tomorrow’s bestselling authors.

I had over 30 one-on-one appointments and editor meetings, taught three classes, and had dozens of “hallway” meetings of all kinds. Our agency had 47 clients in attendance too. This was the first time Karen Ball, Tamela Hancock Murray, and I were together at the same event since they joined the agency. What a blast! It is so great to have them as a part of our agency.

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One-Sheets versus Queries


A recent post inspired an excellent question. “Is a one-sheet the same as a query?”

Yes and no. There is some overlap, but the differences are significant.

A one-sheet gives writers a document for talking points about a project at a conference. The one-sheet can help authors be sure they convey the information they want to the editor or agent without forgetting anything critical. In turn, the one-sheet gives the editor or agent a memo of sorts to recall your pitch after the conference. This is one reason why an author photo is essential. Otherwise, the one-sheet includes information such as the book theme and brief plot summary, contact information, and sometimes another visual to make the page pop. One-sheets are often colorful and intended to grab attention. However, they are only a tool. The author’s professionalism and talent are key.

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What Makes a Christian Book “Christian”? (Part One)


I had this discussion over a year ago on my blog, but thought it would be a good discussion for all of you, too. In some ways, publishing is in a state of unbelievable flux. In others, it’s utterly grounded and unshakeable. Good and bad on both sides.

But here’s what I find fascinating–and a bit worrisome. There’s a seemingless endless debate on what makes a Christian book Christian? Is it the context of the book or the faith of the author? What’s in the book or what isn’t? The tone or the specifics? Believe me, when I find myself in this debate, the answers come fast and furious and are as varied as can be. But before I share any thoughts or conclusions, I want to know what you think.

So, as a reader or a writer, what are you looking for in a book from a “Christian” publishing house? Or from a Christian writer.
What do you expect to find.
What do you expect NOT to find?
What makes a book “Christian”?

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News You Can Use – Sept. 20, 2011

Are There Different Genres of Fantasy? – You bet there are. If want to write in that category become familiar with the difference.

The Positive Side of a Writer’s Frustration – A good way to make gold out of ashes.

10 Things a Writer Can Learn From Rocky Balboa –Besides saying “Yo Adrian” whenever someone mentions Rocky.

The Next Four Industries that will be Transformed by the Internet – Agree or Disagree?

Take a look at this amazing infographic regarding Textbooks:

Thank you to Jenica Rhee for creating it. (Twitter: jenicarhee)

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Save Your Inbox!

Like you, I have a love-hate relationship with email.
I love it because it allows for quick and easy communication.
I hate it because the flood in the inbox can be overwhelming.

(I also get irritated with that hyphen! email or e-mail?)

A “solution” may be at hand! Some pretty smart folks have created “The Email Charter.” Please do yourself a favor, click this link to The Email Charter, read it, and see if some of its suggestion can make a difference.

Then come back here write a comment telling us what you think

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