Haunted Flint

Haunted Flint

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Romance and Comedy—Making It Work with Cindy Jacks

Like peanut butter and chocolate, romance and comedy go together spectacularly. Dating as far back as Shakespeare and beyond, audiences have laughed and thrilled at the trials and tribulations of a would-be couple on the path to love. Or, as in a more recent example Date Night, the misadventures of long-married spouses trying recapture that spark. But why? What is it about this specific genre that charms us so?

First of all, I believe romantic comedies appeal to us because, all too often, real life is neither romantic nor comedic. Most days are boring at best and at worst...well, what's that Chinese curse about living in interesting times? Romantic comedies give us the opportunity to escape the drudgery and emotional turmoil of our everyday world. But does the popularity of this genre go deeper than that? In my humble opinion, I think it does.

Though attraction to a mate is made up of all sorts of scientific and emotional components most of us don't fully understand (including me, lol), something that nearly every person appreciates is a good sense of humor. Perhaps then by adding fun and hijinks to a great love story, the author has the opportunity to seduce the reader. Yep, it's true sometimes I crush on an author just for her wit and ability to make me laugh aloud. And I hope I can return the favor for my readers. Ahhh, therein lies the rub. What's funny to one person isn't always funny to other folks.

There's a fine line between humorous and ridiculous. Originally in my novel, All the Good Men, there was a scene I thought was hilarious, but a few of my beta readers gave it a thumbs down so I nixed it. Which brings up another point about writing a good romantic comedy—the humorous elements should evolve organically. By that I mean, if the situation is forced or doesn't need to be there, but has been added just for a laugh, it won't work. Just like the most amusing occurrences in life, a truly funny passage in a book has to be a surprise and yet make sense for the characters.

When writing a romantic comedy, a writer also has to make sure the book doesn't become all about the frivolity. We have to keep in mind it is first and foremost a romance. Cardinal rule: Never add a gag that will make the hero less sexy in the eyes of the reader. Flawed or sympathetic or a bit lost, sure, but unattractive? No way. And it's nearly impossible to get back that romantic ideal once it's gone so guard it well. The heroine on the other hand has more latitude to be clumsy, scruffy or—dare I say it?--gaseous. But even then, you want use such elements with a delicate touch. Use the comedy to build the sexual tension, not destroy it.

Also, there's content to consider. If we don't want the book to be a piece of fluff, there has to be a healthy dose of realism, characterization and poignant moments blended in to give the playful elements meaning. In All the Good Men, the scene that introduces the hero, Jackson, revolves around Dahlia's father's drinking problem. Alcoholism—not funny. Dahlia's resulting mortification due to her father's actions— a great opportunity to lighten up the situation. Comic relief can be a powerful tool and can save a manuscript from becoming melodramatic.

The first review for my novel, by Coffee Time Romance http://www.coffeetimeromance.com/BookReviews/allthegoodmen.html stated,
“Caution: This tale contains scenes that will make you laugh until you wet yourself, hideous dates, egotistical jerks, and a man so steamily hot it will leave you panting,” I knew I'd hit the nail on the head. Just as actors say comedy is harder to portray than drama, the same holds true in the literary world. But when an author gets all the elements right, the result can be a laugh-out-loud work of art and the result is well worth the effort.

Author bio:

Prior to becoming a writer of romantic and erotic fiction, Cindy was a 'jacks' of all trades. Besides obtaining a BFA in sculpture, interning as a pastry-chef, and learning the art of furniture restoration, she worked for ten years in the corporate arena, but now happily spends her days as a full time author. Her first published work--"The Point of Distraction Series"--was inspired by a collection of short stories she wrote to entertain her best friend. Since then she's explored her inner bad girl and penchant for love stories by producing books full of humor and packed with real emotion. When not chained to her laptop, she enjoys belly dancing, international cooking, and making jewelry. She and her family call the Washington, DC area home.

All the Good Men

Good things come in forty-something firefighter packages...


Dahlia is sure the hackneyed platitude is true: After a certain age, all the good men are married or gay. She feels her thirty-eight years put her well past that 'certain age.' Her best friend and her sisters dare her to put her fate where her mouth is. The terms of the challenge? During the month of October, she has to end her five-year-long man fast and go on dates with men of their choosing. Oh, and she also has to go out with anyone else who asks.

As the date disasters pile up, the vindication almost makes the torturous evenings bearable for Dahlia. But a handsome new neighbor, Jackson Carmichael, moves in, changing the rules of the game. Retired after twenty-six years as a pro firefighter in Boston, he volunteers with the local fire department, coaches a youth hockey team, and appears for all the world to be the perfect man. He just might throw a wrench into Dahlia's plan to die lonely and single...that is if she doesn't scare him away first.

Check out all the stops along the tour for your chance to win.

Cindy will be giving away a signed print copy of her book and a branded "Fiction for the Bad Girl in Every Woman" book bag to one randomly drawn commenter from the tour.

To enter, please visit each day's tour stop and comment on Cindy's post.

A drawing will be held at the conclusion of her tour and the winner notified (please make sure you include an email address with your entry).



Rosie said...

Yay, a book with a firefighter/hockey coach. LOVE IT!!! I'll definitely be getting this book.

Estella said...

Sounds like a fun read!

kissinoak at verizon dot net

Andrea I said...

It sounds interesting.


Cindy Jacks said...

Hi Rosie, Estella, and Andrea! Thanks so much for stopping by. Hope you enjoy the book. It's available in ebook and print at moongypsypress.com :)