Romantic Comedies Rock
So, you want to write a romantic comedy … You’ve grabbed your pen or your laptop, and you’ve decided that it’s time to finally write. If only it were that simple! Not just anyone can sit down and spew out something funny, compelling and believable. At the very least, you need to keep some things in mind. Read on to find out more to find out what you need to make YOURS work …
1) Something Fresh
One of the problems with romantic comedies these days is that they all seem to be exactly the same. Therefore, if you want your story to soar above the rest, then you are going to have to come up with something original. Even if the two main characters do wind up with each other at the end and it seems trite, there are always ways to make the journey there unique. It’s all in the choices you make as a storyteller.
TOP TIP: Think about what your ‘unique take’ or twist on this familiar genre is. Think about what has gone before to do this, so make sure you do your research! MORE: Welcome To Rom Com Hell
2) The Protagonist
Ultimately, one of the goals of a Romantic Comedy is to make the main character at least somewhat relatable to the general audience. You do not want to create a character no one likes or for whom no one feels any sense of empathy!
As you are crafting the character, you must understand who this person is and why this person is appealing to an audience. If you can’t make a character who has admirable qualities, then your story will be dead in the water. If you want the opposite effect – an anti-hero, that’s ok too – but they need to have at least a few interesting and redeeming qualities about them to keep viewers compelled.
TOP TIP: Relatability is key in the romantic comedy genre, even if you write an anti-hero.
3) Understand Your Audience
As you are crafting each detail of the plot, you need to work on keeping the audience in mind. Do you want to sell your story to people who are a bit indie? Older? LGBT? What age group are you writing for (people of different generations have different thoughts expectations about romance!).
Of course, one of the major exceptions to this rule (and the one before it) is if you are just writing the Romantic Comedy for enjoyment. If you never intend to have an audience outside of yourself, then you don’t necessarily need to worry about the target audience. But why limit yourself? Stretch your abilities!
TOP TIP: Know WHO you are writing for and what they think about love, as this will help inform your story. Do your research! MORE: Is Your Writing As Good As You Think It Is?
4) Genuinely Funny Moments (whatever that means)
You do not have to get into grotesque and R-rated humour to have a sense of comedy in your story. But the clue is in the name, ‘romantic comedy’! Humour is what sets a romantic comedy apart. No one goes to see a story like this just for the two people falling in love (that’s what real dramas are for).
Furthermore, you have to set a tone for the movie. Is it quirky? Sarcastic? Realistic? Try to come up with a nice balance between different tastes and keep it consistent from beginning to end. When there’s something “off” about a comedy people can’t put their finger on, it usually means the writer tried to stretch their humour too thin. Don’t try and appeal to every sense of humour out there. It’s much better to be really master one kind of humour, than to be merely sub-par at many types.
TOP TIP: Ensure your type of humour works and don’t try to appeal to ‘everyone’. It won’t work.
5) A Happy Ending
Since some of the earliest writings of literature, comedies have always ended with happiness. So to truly qualify as a romantic comedy, yours should as well.
Now, this does not necessarily mean that the main characters *should* end up together. It could mean that they find a sense of peace, hopefulnes or happiness in other ways too. Be open to the possibilities for crafting a happy ending that at once surprises viewers. In other words, NEVER give the viewers what they expect. Be unique, engaging and where possible, relevant to the real world.
TOP TIP: Happy Endings are non-negotiable in romantic comedies, but that DOESN’T your couple has to end up together. MORE: 8 Mistakes That Will Kill Your Rom Com Screenplay DEAD
Writing a Romantic Comedy is something a lot of people would like to accomplish, but it’s certainly hard to make it big in the world of literature. Following the aforementioned tips can help to make the journey easier on almost every writer out there, whether a seasoned veteran or a noob!
BIO: James Rogers writes about being an author. Recently, he has chronicled his journey earning an online communications degree.