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?