Wednesday 17 July 2013

Guest Post: Jayne Denker

Romance Is Easy; Comedy Is Hard

Why, oh why, I’ve often wondered, did I ever choose to write romantic comedies? I could have written angsty dramas. They would have been dead easy in comparison. Or I could have written sexy stuff that requires getting the reader hot under the collar every ten pages or so. That would have been lots of fun. I could have written pleasant, slice-of-life tales that everyone could relate to, with sweet, happy endings. Peace in the valley—tra la. Off we go into the sunset. But nooOOOoooooo. I had to try my hand at being funny. All the time. Book after book.

That, my friends, is a monumental challenge. Ever try writing a bit of slapstick silliness when you’re dying from the latest plague your urchin brought home from that petri dish they call a school? Or coming up with a snappy, wisecrack-filled, yet ultimately emotional love scene when, for the hundredth time, your husband has toed the bag of trash out of the way so he could get out the back door, instead of carrying it with him to the bin? Or orchestrating a gloriously happy ending when you’ve just paid a stack of bills and all you can think about is whether you’ll have to subsist on crackers and “cheez-in-a-can” till the next payday?

Let me tell you, it ain’t a walk in the park. In fact, I used to be afraid of creating a tangle of a plot that had to be peppered with funny dialogue, ridiculous situations, and quirky characters. After all, it’s a complicated type of story to write, and it’s fraught with pitfalls. One false step and the whole thing blows up. Not to mention that horrifying realization that what I thought was funny when it hit me in the middle of the night just sounded stupid in the harsh light of day. And sometimes I just don’t feel funny, and my writing fails miserably. When that happens, I go play Candy Crush on Facebook until another, more humorous scenario creeps into my newly vacant head. (And another, more humorous scenario will always show up sooner or later.)

Now, after completing three of these harrowing novels, I look forward to writing comedies. I love tossing my heroine into a bizarre scenario and watching how she gets herself out of it. I love revisiting a scene I felt “meh” about and finding just the right angle that makes it funnier. I love it when my characters make me laugh (and then I’m relieved nobody noticed and carted me off to the loony bin).

The trick to it? Knowing that eventually I’ll share this funny story with my readers. Maybe they’ll laugh, and maybe that will pull them out whatever funk they might happen to be in. That’d be the best story of all.

Jayne Denker writes contemporary romantic comedies--chick lit by any other name, although she really doesn't give a toss about designer shoes or handbags. Her first book, By Design, was published by Kensington Publishers in May; her second, Unscripted, will be published in August, and her third, Down on Love, in November. Her books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes, and Kobo. When she's not hard at work on another novel (or, rather, when she should be hard at work on another novel), she can usually be found frittering away stupid amounts of time on Facebook (Jayne Denker Author) and Twitter (@JDenkerAuthor). Check in with her there or at her blog,

Jayne's books and links:

By Design
Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

Down on Love
Available from Amazon and Barnes & Noble

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