The easier a Romantic Comedy book reads, the more effort has gone into it. It's no less a piece of literature for being enjoyable and often has as many plot twists and turns as its darker book sisters.
Here's a few tips I've picked up on the way which might be helpful to a would-be Romcom author.
1) As no-one is all good or bad in real life, the same should be said of your characters. Make your villains believable (rather than panto creatures) by giving them some redeemable features. And equally giveyour protagonists some faults. A perfect heroine would be hard to relate to, a perfect hero would feel unattainable. But judge it wisely. A hero who kicks cats will totally alienate readers.
2) Work hard on the tension between the two main characters. There will be a lot of it, otherwise if they get together in chapter one and all is rosy - where's the fun in that? A reader should be desperate for them to get together so tease them.
3) Read lots of the genre by your favourite authors - you'll absorb style and vocabulary and ideas without consciously thinking about it.
4) Give yourself a point of difference. There are a lot of books out there in this genre, so be brave and give a reader something they aren't expecting. Make your book STAND OUT!
5) Don't be afraid to darken the tone in places in your romcom. The lightness needs contrast and some shade is essential for bringing out true character-worth. All rom com needs some pacier action parts.
6) Write often, even if it's only a page, because then you will be always in the flow of your story
7) Make sure your subsidiary characters are as well rounded as your main ones. Everyone in your book should feel real, even if they only have a small part - because that small part might have a massive impact. And love them ALL. The bad guys are often the most fun to write about.
8) Trawl the Tinternet and find pictures of people who match your characters so you can write about them with their photo in your head. Sebastian Chabal was my template for Gene Hathersage in It's Raining Men. My keyboard got very hot writing when about him. And a piece of music for each character is good too.
9) When you've finished your great work, put it away for a week and then look at it again - you'll see all the places where you need to edit so much more clearly than if you went straight back to it and started working on it. And when you've finished - do the same thing again!
10) Enjoy writing it. If you don't have fun with it, then that will seep into the words and your reader will pick it up. As my old English teacher pointed out - Jane Austen had a rare old time with her characters and that shines through. Love your characters, savour the power you have over your readers to give them the most satisfying ending you can after dragging them through a drama. They should want five minutes and a cigarette after reading the last word.
AFTERNOON TEA AT THE SUNFLOWER CAFE BY MILLY JOHNSON IS PUBLISHED BY SIMON & SCHUSTER ON 2ND JULY, PRICE £7.99 PAPERBACK