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Amazon links to my stories: Autumn Breeze, A More Perfect Union, Double Happiness, The Wolves of Sherwood Forest, Neanderthals and the Garden of Eden can be found down the right side of the blog.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Romance with a smile - 4/3/2012


Romantic comedies: Why are most of the Hollywood writers of romantic comedies men? And why are most of the romance novels with lighthearted moments or the entire story, women.

In Hollywood the dialogue has to do the work of displaying emotion and in a tidy 100 page package. I have had difficulty in the past in displaying emotion (interior monologue) on the pages of the novels I wrote because as a screen writer in a previous life I wrote dialogue to carry the story. It took joining RWA and its chapter in San Diego for me to more fully realize interior monologue enriches the story by showing more than the character's reaction to what's happening around them. Help me out here. Am I slowing down the story by investing in back story or motivation more heavily? The art form of writing romance says no.

So, once upon a time, there was Harlequin Flipside with Mary Leo and others. These were labeled romantic comedies. The HF line disappeared but the writing didn't. This type of book is sold now and can be identified by the blurb on the back cover: light-hearted, romp, comic moments, zany characters, you'll laugh. In fact most authors are writing comedic or ironic scenes into their seroius drama.

There is the Greek definition of comedy and tragedy. Since romances all have happily ever after endings, they may have been born of tragedy but in the end they are comedies.

So for now, unless you're writing for Hollywood, don't label your project a romantic comedy, just use the code words.

But why are men writing RC for Hollywood and women writing R for novels. It may come down to pacing.

I'll use myself as an example. I wrote a romantic comedy novel called Double Happiness about identical twins who might end up with each other's fiancees. My critique group laughed their way through it. I can't get it sold (although I'm not trying too hard anymore). An editor critiqued it by saying my pace was too quick (I didn't have enough interior monologue). I had invested in dialogue too Heavily (my remark)!!!

So its pacing and nothing more?! In order to sell my romantic comedy I'll have to increase the interior monolgue and slow down the pace. This goes against my gut feeling for this particular comedy. For me, there is an alternative (to ruining the story). I could indie-publish. In the mean time I write romantic suspense (with light-hearted moments) which requires much more interior monologue.

In general, women want to explore the heart more deeply on the pages of the novels they write. I have a romantic heart. I love, therefore I am.

Every romance is a comedy, it's just the variable pacing of each and every scene which marks you as a comedic genius.

There's no reason why women can't write romantic comedies for Hollywood or guys romances as novels. They just have to emerse themselves in mastering the art and art form.

In my opinion, to be a true artist in script or novel you have to enjoy your characters with every word, sentence, paragraph, scene, and story you write.

1 comment:

  1. Great blog Bob! :)

    And I agree... Immerse yourself in the genre and you'll pick up the pacing and interior monologue! No worries!

    Lisa :)