Well, I think I have really lost my writer marbles this time. Who would write 2 first drafts at the same time? Surely writing 1 first draft is enough pain and struggle?
That’s what I initially thought when my brain suggested this bizarre approach. The words, ‘no way!’ shot out of my mouth…as I sat on a busy train to London. The poor sleeping stranger next to me woke up with a jolt. I was forced to apologise to them, turn back to the train window and curse my writer brain for sending me ridiculous writing ideas.
After a hectic day in the office, a tasty burger at the station, a wander around the book shop and a sweaty sprint for the train as I’d got my timings wrong, I found myself sitting on a return train home considering my writer brain’s ridiculous and silly idea.
Here are my writer brain’s thoughts on this ridiculous idea:
Writing a first draft is simply a process which you go through to get the story out of your head and onto a Word document or a notebook. You are shovelling sand, a few old rocks and some pebbles into a cardboard box. Nothing else.
I don’t intend to edit and revise them at the same time. That process needs focus and concentration. I will do that one at a time.
The first draft will give me the rough material I need to start shaping and sculpturing the book. Without this material I just have a two page novel plan and a load of futile daydreams of me clutching a future bestseller.
My feelings towards my first drafts blow hot and cold. One day I am gushing with love at the thought of them and the next I am digging a hole in the garden to bury them. With two first drafts I could alternate between the two. When one feels like a pile oif literary wrongs I will just work on the other.
I have started writing my two first drafts. Here’s how things are going?
I prefer one story to the other at 10k words. I am still working on both but I have my ‘favourite’ draft child already. I wonder whether that will change? For noting – draft B is my favourite.
There is less stress with seeing them as cardboard boxes filled with sand and pebbles. They are simply containers. That’s it.
It’s nice to have something to fall back on when the words dry up on one.
Let me know your thoughts and let me know if there are any draft A fans out there because it’s starting to dislike it’s draft B sibling 🤣
Hello, thanks for dropping by my little corner of the World Wide Web.
One of the things I love about being a writer is how quickly my views on my own work can change over the course of a day. I can be loving what I am writing before lunch and a few hours later I will hate the sight of it. I can wake up thinking my WIP is a pile of literary wrongs and go to bed later that evening hugging my laptop.
I have been thinking about why our feelings about our writing change so frequently and why sometimes we rant and rave about hating what we have created.
How can we hate something we spend so much of our time working on?
Here are some things for you to ponder:
There are always two stories being written – one on paper / the laptop screen and one in our head. The one we read on paper / the laptop screen never matches to the story in our head. The story in our head is to blame. We need to accept whatever we write will never match the story in our head.
Hating our work could be a sign our old friend, fear, has joined us. Fear makes us overthink our work, create false scenarios of reader reactions to our work and feel like the best thing to do would be to crawl away. Fear encourages us to hate our work.
Take a note of when you start hating your work. Always check to see whether your writing mood sours after reading another author’s polished book which will have gone through hundreds of revisions.
Pushing through the hatred can be very rewarding. Fact.
Sometimes ‘hating your work’ is your writer brain over reacting about an issue. Think of your writer brain as someone who is dramatic. When there is a problem they throw up their arms and announce the world is ending. Your writer brain spots an issue and rather than pointing it out to you it hits the alarm bells and gets you to throw a hissy fit which results in you yelling, ‘I hate my draft novel.’ There is an issue with what you have written. It could be small and easily fixable or it might require some work. Take some time away and go back when you are ready to sort out the issue.
Read my last post on learning to live with an imperfect draft.
We all signed up for bouts of hating our work when we decided to become writers. It goes with the territory.
Today I am going to talk about something which I am starting to get my head around.
Note: I’ve not nailed this yet but I am trying. 🤣
So, I am talking about – the ability to coexist with your imperfect draft novel and be at peace with all its flaws. You can go about your daily life and not be plagued or tortured by your draft novel sat there with it’s saggy middle, flat ending and cast of chaotic characters. You can even smile naturally at your imperfect draft novel. There’s no gritting of teeth or sleepless nights. You don’t delete it, quit writing it or quit writing altogether because of it. You accept it needs work and you learn to live with it. For me this is a next level writer mindset.
We get obsessed with trying to make everything about our stories perfect. I am guilty of this. We grit our teeth a lot and make change after change but our draft novel never matches that ‘perfect’ vision in our heads. It’s like someone is dangling a carrot in front of us.
Is there a perfect novel out there? Yes, I have read great books but it’s hard to label them as perfect. Also my idea of perfect might be different to yours.
The trouble with chasing perfection with writing and I am GUILITY of this is that it is super easy to fall into the – ‘this story will never be perfect so I might as well not bother,’ mindset. This results in half finished draft novels and long term writer disappointment. Trust me on this – ha ha! I have been down this road.
I have recently experienced a new kind of writer peace and calmness. It comes from accepting a draft novel has faults and telling myself over time I will work on them. *Gasp* I swear it’s peaceful.
You tell yourself its never going to be perfect but it will be crafted to the best of your abilities. Living with a draft novel which needs work is ok. You have to say this on repeat 🤣
I am learning to say, ‘yes, I am working on a draft novel and it has issues..but I am ok with that. *deep breath and force out a smile*
Here are my top tips for learning to live alongside your imperfect novel:
Bring your flawed novel in from the cold. It wants to be loved and not hated.
Remember stories don’t have to be perfect to be powerful or captivating.
Try sitting next to your draft novel and think light fluffy happy thoughts about it…🤣
Try to get to the end of each revision cycle and then take a break from it.
Keep saying to yourself, ‘there’s no such thing as a perfect novel.’
I am about to enter my summer beach romcom writing era. A fabulous new story is tugging on my winter coat tails. It came to me while I was delving into the frozen fish section of my local supermarket and precauriously balancing on the edge of a giant freezer. I was forced to drop my bargain priced fish fingers and tap the idea into my phone. As a result I never did buy those fish fingers. This idea better be good!
You know I like to keep up with modern trends, well I am a new fan of the term – era. Taylor Swift and Miley Cyrus all seem to be entering new music eras so I thought it would be good to have the same in the book genre writing world. I am offically leaving my travel based contemporary romcom era and entering my summer beach romcom era. Please let me know what sort of writing era you are in or what you are about to enter?
It’s time for me to cuddle up under a thick blanket (UK heating cost crisis), sip a steaming cup of tea, with fingerless gloved hands, reach for my laptop, dust away the icicles and write away the January blues by creating a fictional summer Romcom.
Here are some things I love about summer romances:
Grumpy heroes and bubbly heroines who are like walking rays of sunshine.
The level of passion rising with the temperature.
Moonlit walks along beaches.
Writing hot and sexy beach romcoms in winter can result in several emotional highs and lows:
1. Writing about finding romance on a sun drenched, idyllic beach can feel like you are on your own mini break. The bonus here is that you don’t have to dig out your bikini, bathe in fake tan and run the risk of turning salmon pink.
2. Writing about warm summer evenings, sipping delicious cocktails by the sea, paddling in azure blue water and dancing the night away under the stars (without thermal underwear, many layers and a big coat) is very pleasurable. It can certainly make you forget the size of your heating bill, your teenager’s inability to wear a warm coat in all weathers and your cat’s low mood.
3. You also don’t have to go abroad for your summer romcom either. There are some gorgeous beaches around the U.K. complete with idyllic coastal villages, beach facing guest houses, cute boats bobbing in a harbour and seaside town hustle and bustle. My goodness as I sit here and type I can taste delicious ice cream and hear seagulls overhead.
4. When I said writing a summer beach romcom can feel like you are taking a mini break – your trip length will vary. Some of us don’t have the luxury to escape and write for hours. Some of us are distracted by family, pets, delivery people, car problems, loved ones who are incapable of making themselves a cup of tea and social media. This can result in your fictional mini break lasting a good half hour at most. Before you know it you are back to moaning about the heating and shivering in your chair.
5. If you are writing a beach Romcom you will need to brush up on your swimwear clothing trends and think about things like – what type of bikini or speedos would my character wear and what’s in trend? This will inevitably lead you to browsing some swimwear clothing online sites and getting agitated as you compare the array of golden tanned legs with your own which resemble two pints of semi skinned milk and are buried beneath layers of clothing. This will only reinforce the hard truth – summer is still a long way away!
6. There’s a higher chance of you getting annoyed with your cast of romance characters in a beach romcom while writing it in the middle of winter than any other time of year. In view of it being cold, grey, damp and miserable (in the U.K.) you will have zero patience for moaning fictional characters basking in the sun, dipping their painted toes in the sea and feeling tipsy after too many cocktails. At least in a winter based holiday romcom you can shove them in a snow drift if they irritate you but you don’t have that luxury with a beach romcom. This can cause unwanted author / character tension. Before you know it you will end up writing a beach based grizzly thriller.
Come in and make yourself at home. Excuse me I need to switch on the lights and dust away the virtual blog cobwebs. It’s been over a year since I have been here. I haven’t had a chance to buy in some virtual milk or tea bags so I can’t make you a virtual cuppa.
Well, here I am. Back home on my blog. During 2022 I was lucky enough to work with a fabuloius literary agent. A book I wrote in 2021, Missing You, went on submission in 2022 and whilst it received lots of positive feedback it didn’t find a forever home. I knew the chances of a first book selling were low so I banked the valuable experience I had gained.
I will be swan diving back into the querying pool in 2023 which is exciting.
I won’t give up on my dream to be published. I know I can do this. Just got to keep writing!
For those of you who don’t know what I write – I create funny romances with real life characters who try to navigate their way through the minefield of dating as well as juggling parenthood, dysfunctional families, wayward pets, social media and dead-end jobs. I send my characters on wild journeys of self-discovery and I like to add a little bit of romantic chaos.
I missed my blog in 2022. It’s my little creative home. A year long blogging break was good though and it’s made me appreciate my corner of the world wide web.
What else did I do in 2022 apart from experiencing the submission process:
I started a TikTok account (@lucymitchauth) which was an experience. I do like TikTok but it’s not my creative home. My blog is my home and TikTok is like a second holiday home.
I wrote 2 new full length first draft novels.
I am on the 3rd draft of a 3rd novel I also wrote last year. This is the one I am going to swan dive into the querying trenches with.
Sticking parts of myself back together after each rejection. I am out of sticky tape so if anyone has any please send my way 🙂
I alternated between letting out dreamy sighs at my characters and a few hours later hissing with intense malice at them.
I drank a lot of coffee and I bought a passive aggressive coffee machine. Seriously this machine has issues. It starts it’s automatic descaling process during very stressful times and we are gasping for a coffee. We then have to wait an agonising hour. It spits, gurgles and splutters if we complain about it . The thing knows we are moaning about it and does it’s best to delay our coffee.
I have been collecting funny things people say about writing. Here are some of my favs:
You’re not a real writer if you don’t have an existential crisis about how you’re not a real writer on a regular basis.
Sherry’s World tumblr
The hardest thing about being a writer is convincing your partner that lying on the sofa is work.
Select-All + Delete is an equivalent to crumpling the page and tossing it into a fireplace
I am going to be here every Monday from now on. Join me in my journey towards one day getting traditionally published.
I am thrilled to bring you a super guest blog post from a romance author who I think is brilliant – Élodie Garroway. I am a fan of her romance stories and I am excited she’s here today on my blog putting a unique twist on Imposter Syndrome.
Please welcome Élodie Garroway.
If you’ve ever tried to create something, you’ve heard the term “Imposter Syndrome.” Imposter Syndrome is feeling like your skills and talents are in doubt, not by others but by you.
I’ve been having a not-so-secret affair with imposter syndrome since I was seventeen.
I had secured an audition for a school of music I wanted to attend. It wasn’t a perfect audition but I got in. I was proud until I realized I was one of two trombone players. I got in because of what I played, not what I could do– quantity over quality.
And that is how I met my unsupportive Ex, Imposter Syndrome. It didn’t matter if everything it said was lies. I believed it. It ate at my confidence. It invaded my speech, my actions. In spite of it, I graduated top five.
I made it. Right? That ish was over?
This Ex invaded every aspect of my life and I unknowingly made it room, questioning how I was raising my son, teaching my students, and yes, my writing.
And I am not its only relationship, maybe you know it too?
So how do we do ensure we never get back together, even though they keep coming back?
Keep telling yourself you are amazing until you believe it.
There is nothing more powerful than positive self-talk. Remember it’s you. You feed the syndrome and let it pay rent in your mind. Naturally only you can keep it at bay. You have to decide to not feed it anymore. Just like you tell that ex that you aren’t getting back together, you have to tell yourself, “I’ve got this. I can write. My words are worth reading.”
Surround yourself with positive people.
It’s hard to make headway if the inner voice doesn’t match the out voices. Maybe those who love you can’t get on board with your “hobby.” That’s okay because we exist. Who’s we? Why the writing community of course! Trust me, if you have a genre, there is a group for you. Just find us. We want to meet you and support you!
Prove yourself wrong over and over again.
The Ex won’t stop calling with nasty comments? Fine. Prove it wrong. Do you doubt your world-building abilities? Take a class or ask a fellow writer for help, find a way to learn and improve. Then what can the voice say? Challenge that voice and make its argument worthless.
Do what scares you.
Don’t be the one holding you back. It is scary to put yourself out there. I put it off for years. I didn’t hit the top of anything the first time I published solo. Heck, I still haven’t. That doesn’t mean I should give up. What I should do is put myself out there again.
You should too. Even if you get a negative response. Then go back to number three and now prove them wrong. Keep doing what scares you, it’s the only way to move forward.
And break up with Imposter Syndrome. It never did anything for you anyway.
Élodie’s first taste of reality came from her Southern upbringing. She climbed majestic Dogwoods, chased fireflies, and ran from mosquitoes and no-see-ems. This idyllic world helped her see beauty, love and magic all come with a cost. That never stopped her from dreaming big!
Life continued to reinforce its duality – she overcame personal trials that would threaten her life and her vision. Dreams don’t die easily, so she pushed through and found a way to share the love stories that kept her on the lighter side of life.
She also managed to find her brooding prince and against all odds, have the most wonderful son with an imagination that rivals hers. Proving once again, the price of love is always worth it!
Grab a mason jar of lemonade and let Elodie Garroway show you the ups and downs of real love, so you can Capture the Feeling.
If you follow me on twitter you will know of my pinned tweet. It is about how I got through to the final round of the Penguin Michael Joseph Christmas Love Story Competition and my strong urges to cartwheel with joy on zoom calls at work.
According to the competition FAQs last week was when the winner was going to be notified. At the start of last week I knew of just 4 other writers who, like me, had got through to the next round. I wasn’t looking forward to a tense, nail biting and lonely week which would mostly be spent watching my email with hawk-like eyes, jumping everytime my phone rang, eating far too many penquin biscuits and overthinking every possible competition outcome.
Well, my week did include all of the above (especially the penguin biscuit binge) but it wasn’t a lonely week and it did change my writing world in unexpected ways.
I think it was Audrey Niven, on Twitter who kickstarted things at the start of the week. She tweeted about wishing all the Penquin finalists lots of luck. Then the magic started. Fellow finalists joined in by liking her tweet and by the end of Monday there was a small gang of us on Twitter all sharing writer love and support with each other. By Tuesday our gang had grown some more as a few more finalists had found us. We all started tweeting funny snippets from our days and what we were doing to distract ourselves from the competition waiting game. By Wednesday we had grown from a small gang to a collective and this was when ideas were shared on what we could call ouselves. Bettina Hunt suggested the Penguin Collective and a Twitter list was created by Amy Gaffney. Everytime another finalist made their way onto Twitter and found us we’d all welcome them in.
It was a very different writing competition experience for me. We all tweeted and laughed our way through the week talking about the anxious wait, how we felt like we were in the Big Brother House (Lily Joseph), how some of us had turned to playing Europe’s pop classic, The Final Countdown (Jake G Godfrey) to get through, how some of us were busy ordering Penguin biscuits (Sarah Shard) how we were all looking forward to cracking open the wine on Friday at 6pm and how lucky we were to find each other. There were so many funny tweets over the course of the week, from Jenny Bromham’s thought provoking GIF ‘one more dawn’, Donna Dobbs’s hiring of a geeky IT student, Joanna Knowles Author’s tweet about how she was starting to waddle like a penguin, Rebecca Duval’s obsessive email refreshes, Hayley-Jenifer’s Benedict Cumberbatch’s GIF and Jackie Morrison’s caravan holiday which was spent checking for a phone signal. As you can imagine when Sarah Louise Robinson started a Facebook group for us we all flapped our penguin wings and waddled over there too. It wasn’t just laughter, there were also ideas from Kimberly Adams, Sarah Shard and Amy Gaffney on how we could work together in the future.
There were other finalists still joining the Pengin Collective on Friday; A Novel, tweet by tweet, Writtenbymisshm, Tallie Samuels, Helen Hawkins, Katy George.
The end of the story is that no one we knew about heard from Penguin Michael Joseph on Friday. Someone probaby has heard and we wish them the best of luck. I also hope they come on my blog and talk about their new book in the future.
For me, that’s okay. I got WAY more from this writing competition than I ever imagined; a story idea validated by Penguin Michael Joseph (which is now at 23k), new romance writer friends in the Penguin Collective group and a lot of happy twitter memories from last week.
As Breea Keenan said, ‘this chat has made my week’ and I couldn’t agree more.
Writing competitions which give you so much more than you expected are priceless.
A few creative moons ago I read, Without a Hitch, by a romance author called Bettina Hunt. From the start of the book I loved her humour, her relatable characters and her take on romantic comedy. I went onto read one of her other novels; A Tempting Trio, and laughed so much at her hilarious book I nearly fell off my chair. Since then I have become a bit of a Bettina Hunt author superfan. She still hasn’t managed to shake me off – lol.
In real life she’s one of the funniest people I know and always makes me smile. Now that her fabulous new book, High Heels on the Beach, is out I have persuaded her to come on my blog.
I thought it would be fun to do an author interview so you can all find out more about Bettina Hunt.
Please welcome one of my favourite romantic comedy & women’s fiction authors, Bettina Hunt.
Hello, thanks for having me on your blog, it’s such an honour!
Bettina – can you tell us about yourself?
Such a difficult first question, Lucy!
I’m a forty something writer of romcoms and women’s fiction. I have two young boys and I can tell you that homeschooling them during Covid was certainly not an easy thing as one thing I’ve never wanted to be is a teacher, huge respect to those who are!
I used to work in product management however, at one time I was thinking of becoming a lawyer… that attention to detail that I learnt during my law degree has held me in good stead 😉
As a gemini I have so many interests, I can be known to be indecisive but the one thing I knew was that I always wanted to write in some capacity. I started writing a blog about beauty and afternoon tea when I was at home with my eldest boy and then added a Friday Column so that I could share my poetry and short stories. My first book – A Tempting Trio – was originally a short story on my blog.
I’ve published four books and partially written another five. My ultimate dream is to have at least one of my books made into a film. I would also love to be part of a comedy writing team, writing either comedy sketches or a sitcom (i’m not fussy!) Sharon Horgan is one of my favourite writers and she’s written two of my favourite TV Shows – Catastrophe and Motherland. Most recently I’ve become obsessed with the BBC ONE series This Is My House. It’s a brilliant concept, so entertaining and funny.
Just before lockdown I also discovered Schitt’s Creek which is the ultimate heartwarming, feelgood comedy series. With perfectly written characters that evolve beautifully as the series plays out I laughed and cried. It’s the best series ever.
Tell us about your new book?
High Heels on the Beach is a heartwarming contemporary romantic comedy set in both London and the fictional seaside town of Sunny Bay. It tells the story of Becca who’s used to letting her bestie make decisions for her in a twist on the Choose Your Own Story books that they used to read. When her world comes crumbling down, Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny. Her planned voyage of self-discovery is thwarted by the need for her to return to the one place she’s been avoiding, home. In Sunny Bay she’s forced to take on the running of the family’s B&B, bringing her face to face with old flames and adversaries and meeting a host of colourful residents at the B&B. The story follows Becca’s emotional journey and her struggle between the pull of her old corporate life and a new life in Sunny Bay.
Where did the idea for the book come from?
I actually got the idea when I was on holiday in Spain. I was looking around at the people by the pool and wondered how many of them were not looking forward to getting back to their jobs and the idea spiralled from there. I had planned to start writing it during NanoWrimo in November, however I felt compelled to write as soon as I got home and wrote 30,000 words during the Summer Holidays.
When you are not writing books what do you like doing?
Most of this hasn’t been possible since COVID struck but … I love going out for afternoon tea, eating out and enjoying cocktails. I love going on mini breaks. I love the theatre, the west end shows. I love watching comedy shows on TV to lift my spirits. And I LOVE to sing 🙂 just for me mostly although I do lip syncs on Instagram too.
Best piece of writing advice you have ever been given?
You have to turn on the tap to let the water flow AND you can’t edit an empty page.
How long have you been writing books?
I wrote my first full book in 2015 but i’ve always had ideas bouncing around in my head. Still do. Every day in fact. Especially when I’m doing the washing up or in bed, trying to sleep.
What book are you reading at the moment.
I’m reading a romcom (not much of a surprise there!) called The Summer Job by Lizzie Dent. It’s made me laugh out loud so that’s a good sign.
Who are your favourite authors and why?
I love Lucy Vine for making me laugh out loud. Milly Johnson’s books are like a cuddle, warm and funny with fantastic characters. John Grisham for page turning suspense – My favourite book of his was The Runaway Jury. More recently I’ve discovered JP Delaney for thrillers. But honestly I read so many wonderful books that I wish I could give them all a shout out.
9.Favourite social media channel?
Twitter I think – I love how instant it is and I love to talk and chat, connect with people 🙂
Favourite romance film?
How can I choose! I love romantic films and even better if they make me laugh… But if I really, really, had to choose – Okay I have 3 films in mind.
Some Kind of Wonderful made me cry buckets and has some fantastic lines in it. My two favourite romcoms are Sweet Home Alabama and You’ve Got Mail. I could happily watch all three over and over again.
Decision shy Becca is used to her best friend making decisions for her, but after a disastrous 30th birthday, London living Becca realises she needs to stop relying on others and take control of her own destiny.
With her life plans in tatters, she’s forced to return home to the quiet seaside town of Sunny Bay and the family’s B&B, where the bedrooms are covered in chintz and her mother is still serving up culinary delights from the 1970s. Adamant that she’s not staying, Becca embarks on a soul-searching trip to Europe.
She’s barely stepped foot abroad before a family crisis sees her back in Sunny Bay and in charge of the B&B. Coming face to face with old flames and adversaries, Becca’s reminded why she left and is determined to get back to her old life in London.
But when the mysterious Madame DoTell, fortune teller to the stars, insists that home is where the heart is, Becca begins to wonder if she should listen…
If home is where the heart is, where is home?
High Heels on the Beach is a light-hearted and fun packed Summer tale perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella and Lindsey Kelk.
I have been threatening to do a newsletter for sometime but haven’t felt like I know enough about the subject to whip one up. So, you can imagine my excitement when historical romance author Emily Royal told me she had a guest blog post for me on the subject of newsletters. Now, I am on Emily’s newsletter distribution list and I love them. They’re filled with photos, info on her new books and a lot of Emily Royal book vibes.
This blog post is packed full of Emily’s top 10 tips for newsletters and I am so grateful she’s here today.
Right I know you are keen to read on. Please give a warm welcome to Emily Royal:
Many authors have a newsletter, and you might be wondering whether it’s worth the effort—or even what it involves. A newsletter is basically an e:mail which is sent to a list of people who have signed up to hear from you, and could be anything between a couple of paragraphs, to something a bit longer with images and links. The benefit of having a newsletter is the direct contact with readers—you’re not advertising through Facebook or Amazon, or using a service which sends details of your book out to its own list (such a bookbub)—you’re contacting your own readers, so you have total control over what they read, and when they get it. To me, a certified control freak, that sounds ideal.
I am super excited because the author of heart-warming and funny romantic comedies Anna Bell has come to take over my blog today. She’s going to share with us her tips on writing comedy and I am hoping she will also tell us about her book which I can’t wait to read as it sounds fab.
Please give a warm welcome to Anna Bell:
Here are my top 5 tips for writing comedy:
1 – Belief One of the hardest things about writing comedy is believing in yourself. Jokes are subjective, and they’re also personal. Sometimes writing comedy and exposing what you think is funny can make you feel vulnerable. But chances are if you find it funny then someone else will too. I don’t think there is anything nicer, both in real life or in your writing, than making someone laugh.
2– First Drafts don’t have to be funny It’s very easy to get hung-up on making everything you write sound witty, but you have to remember that your readers are there just as much for the story as they are for the laughs. It’s almost easier to add humour on the next draft when you can spot if you’ve got clusters or deserts of funny scenes. On the second draft, when you know your characters better, you’re more likely to understand what pushes their buttons and how they’d react in any situation, making it easier for you to imagine the humorous situations they could find themselves in.
3– There is a fine line between funny and cringey This is one of the hardest things to get right when writing comedy. It’s also a line that changes from reader to reader too. One person’s threshold for rolling on the floor in hysterics is another’s basis for a one-star review. One of the ways to avoid it being too cringey is to try and build reader empathy with the character, so that if the reader cringes, they cringe with the character, not at him or her.
4 – Make scenarios relatable Watching stand-up comedians with live audiences is a great way to see what people find funny. Quite often it’s the most mundane things that people find the funniest, the jokes about extended family or ordinary situations that everyone finds themselves in. It’s often easier to relate to humour if you can imagine it could happen to you. It’s worth remembering this when writing. Scenes that are too over the top or unbelievable can seem like they’re trying too hard to get laughs.
5 – Outside the Room Watching sit-coms can also help you learn how to write comedy. Shows like Frasier give excellent lessons in comic timing and build-up. There is nearly always a final big comedic scene that the whole episode builds up to, but to get the laughs you need to understand what has driven each character to react in the particular way they do. When you are writing a big scene with an ensemble cast, it’s worth bearing that in mind. What has happened to each of your characters prior to this scene? What is their mood? What has led them to the point they’re at? If the audience are in on the joke and understand why the character is reacting in the way they are, it makes it funnier. But you don’t always have to signpost the events that happen outside the room either. If you’ve got a big ensemble scene having someone other than the main characters arrive in the aftermath of an argument, or guarding a secret, can add to the humour and tension too. Usually that storyline would play alongside the big main event that’s happening to the protagonist, and the poor protagonist is left trying to put out fires from all sides, ramping up the humour.
Follow Anna on Twitter: AnnaBell_writes Instagram: anna_bell_writes Anna’s latest novel is The Man I Didn’t Marry and it’s out now.
Ellie has the perfect life: a happy marriage, a gorgeous daughter and a baby on the way. But when her husband Max develops amnesia, he forgets everything about the last five years . . . including their relationship. Now the man she said ‘I do’ to has become a stranger, and she has no idea why. Yet Ellie is determined to reconnect and find her Max again – he has to be in there somewhere, right?
As they get to know one another afresh, Ellie finds herself seeing Max clearly for the first time. But then she discovers that before his memory loss, Max was keeping a huge secret from her. Will their new beginning prove to be a false start, just as it seemed they might fall in love all over again?