Elements of Romantic Comedy: Vulnerability

To be human is to be vulnerable. Even in a book that is considered an escapist "Beach Read," your hero and heroine should not--indeed, they cannot--be perfect. They ought to have human foibles. You know, those likable failings and flaws. Remember Mary Sue? It's a kind of story in which the novelist lives out wish fulfillment through … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Vulnerability

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Unrelenting

Your story needs a pulse, a ticking clock running in the background. Like a time bomb, this sense of urgency is quietly unrelenting, pressing the story forward. Think of suspense like the tempo of a song, the thing that causes you to tap a foot, even without meaning to. Readers might say they want "Happy People in … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Unrelenting

Elements of Romantic Comedy: The Tailspin

Other names for this story moment are the Black Night of the Soul, the Bleakest Moment, the Death of Hope. This is the story's climax, where your hero faces the worst complication possible. He's at the end of his rope, no way out. And your readers keep turning those pages, scarcely daring to breathe... The stakes … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: The Tailspin

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Sensuality–or not?

To keep the bedroom door open or closed? As the author, it's your call. Do realize, however, that what you write defines your brand. I write romantic comedy--comedy of manners, if you will--not fantasy romance. My stories are light,not literary. It's tricky, though, showing growing tenderness while sidestepping the bedroom. I'm up for the challenge. I see … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Sensuality–or not?

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Resonance

As with with a delightful musical, your story ought to end as if it were singing. When the final page is read and the cover is regretfully closed, resonance is what should remain. Resonance fuels the highest compliment an author can receive: a second read. And, well, a heartfelt recommendation to friends... At its best, … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Resonance

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Questions (left unanswered)

Don't, just don't. Don't tuck in every plot thread or solve every story problem, especially when it comes to secondary characters. Other writers have given in to this temptation, and their work would have been more powerful without it. Follow the writer's maxim: Resist the Urge to Explain. Solve the primary dilemma for your lead couple, and … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Questions (left unanswered)

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Pain

Physical pain and emotional pain. If handled right, these keep readers turning pages. Of the two, I consider emotional pain to be the most hurtful. Broken relationships do not heal the way injuries do. But if your lead characters are to grow and change, pain must be part of their journey. If you can juxtapose pain with … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Pain

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Outsmarting the reader

I learned to write by posting serialized stories on a Internet fiction forum. I have tried to step aside from this practice, but I just can't. Having my work "go live" for a reading audience is just too valuable. Through doing this I have come face-to-face with this important fact: my readers are smart. Ve-ry … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Outsmarting the reader

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Nighttime

Romance stories beg for nighttime scenes: The carriage traversing the torch-lit drive leading to the mansion. A stroll through an ornamental garden. A midnight chase, lit only by stars and moon. Well, the moon can be a problem. Because you've got to know where you are. Mention it twice in your story, and you'd better have … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Nighttime

Elements of Romantic Comedy: Manipulators

Readers love watching schemes unwind, especially when it comes to the manipulator. Payback lends appeal to the fictional world. This is why after a hard day at work, we cozy up with a favorite novel. Jane Austen's novels are filled with manipulators. Sometimes they succeed, but more often not. In Pride and Prejudice, Miss Caroline Bingley's … Continue reading Elements of Romantic Comedy: Manipulators