IWSG, Romantic Comedy, Writing

Smoochy Face: Thoughts on Writing Romantic Comedies | IWSG

The Insecure Writer’s Support Group (IWSG) is a place to share and encourage, where writers can express their doubts and concerns without appearing foolish or weak. It’s a great place to mingle with like minded people each month during IWSG day.

Every month there’s an optional question which may prompt folks to share advice, insights, a personal experience or story. Some folks answer the question in their IWSG blog post or let it inspire them if they’re struggling with what to say.

This month’s question is:

Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

Check out how people have answered this month’s question, as well as the other insecurities and writing topics they may have shared by visiting the IWSG sign-up list HERE. I opted not to answer this month’s question. Instead, Simon the Cat pops by for a visit and I’m sharing some thoughts on writing romantic comedies. Check it out below.

I felt something heavy land on my shoulder. Turning my head, I saw a large menacing-looking gray cat staring at my computer.

“You weigh a ton, Simon. Get off me.” I tried to shoo him off, but he dug his claws in. “Ouch! that hurts!”

“Toughen up, lady,” he said. “No pain, no gain.”

“What exactly am I gaining by having you claw me to death?”

He leaned forward and peered at my screen. “I’m going to criticize your book.”

“How exactly is that helpful?”

“You want to know if your writing is bad, right?” he asked as he leaped onto the table.

“Uh, sure, but in a constructive way.” I rubbed my shoulder and winced. Antiseptic was going to be needed for these scratches.

He pawed at the screen. “Ooh. This is gross. They’re smooching.” Then he lowered his paw and pressed the delete button.

“Simon, stop!” I pulled him off the table and into my lap. “I spent all morning working on that.”

“Nobody wants to read about people kissing, lady,” he said, squirming in my arms. “Get back to writing about dead bodies.”

Thoughts on Writing Romantic Comedies

So, yeah, last month I decided to start writing romantic comedies. I certainly didn’t see that coming! I was about a quarter of the way through writing book #5 (Shooting by the Sea) in my Mollie McGhie Cozy Mystery series when I opened up a new Scrivener file and began typing away at a smoochy face book in my new Smitten with Travel series.

All I knew when I started was that I wanted it to be about travel, food, and, of course, happily ever afters. Then I got in the zone and the words started flowing out, characters made their presence known, and I giggled to myself as I created some truly goofy (and hopefully humorous) scenes. Drooling cats are funny, right?

Then I did something crazy—or at least crazy for me—I put the first book in the series, Smitten with Ravioli up for pre-order with a July release date. I haven’t even finished writing it yet! I know people do this all the time, my release date is far enough out, and I’m about halfway done writing it, so it should be fine (she says to herself in a reassuring tone while scarfing down cookies). Plus, I’m finding it highly motivational to have a release date looming over me.

Anyway, I thought I’d share a few thoughts about writing romantic comedies that have struck me over the past month:

1 – It’s much easier to skip around from chapter to chapter.

When I write cozy mysteries, it’s a very linear process. I do a rough outline, then write each chapter in order. But when it comes to romantic comedy, I find that I’ve been hopping around all over the place. In fact, I’ve already written the epilogue with their happily ever after scene. {Spoiler alert: they get married.}

With cozies, I think a structured approach works much better for me because I need to make sure I plant all the clues and red herrings in such a way that Mollie can solve the mystery.

It might also have to do with the fact that there are more characters to worry about in my cozies—I usually have five suspects, plus Mollie, her hubby, and the other recurring characters. With my romantic comedy, there are two main characters—the heroine and hero. Sure, there are other supporting characters, but the story focuses primarily on the two lovebirds.

2 – Cozy mystery readers may not like romantic comedies.

Because this is a new genre, I debated about whether to write my romantic comedies under a pen name. As you can see from the cover above, I decided not to. It seems like way too much work and additional expense to have a pen name. Plus, because my romantic comedies are “clean” (i.e., plenty of sizzle, but no sex) and cozy mysteries are “clean” by default, I figured I wouldn’t have to worry about alienating any current readers since I won’t be publishing “steamy” books.

But I have to accept the fact that this new series may not be of interest to my current readers and that I’ll have to build up an audience who enjoys romantic comedies.

3 – What’s funny to one person may not be funny to another.

I’ve been reading / watching a lot of romantic comedies lately. Sometimes, I laugh out loud. Sometimes, I smile quietly. Sometimes, I don’t get the joke. Then I hear from other people that the joke I didn’t get had them rolling on the floor in hysterics.

People tell me that my cozy mysteries make them laugh, sometimes out loud. That’s one of the reasons that I decided to try my hand at writing romantic comedies. But what if I’m not funny enough? Or not funny at all? Has everyone been lying to me? Do they yawn when they read my cozies? Do they not get my jokes?

Can you tell I’m a little insecure about this? When I do start to panic, I try to remind myself that what’s funny to one person may not be funny to another. Then I have some chocolate. That always seems to help.

Want to know more about Smitten with Ravioli? Click HERE. I’ve been playing around with blurb and trying out different things such as first person vs. third person (the book is written in first person present) and how to position it (or not) in terms of heat level, so if you have any thoughts, I’d love to hear them!

By the way, for all you Mollie McGhie fans, don’t worry, I’ll get back to Shooting by the Sea once Smitten with Ravioli is finished. Mollie still has a lot of murders to solve.

What about you? Has a single photo or piece of art inspired a story? Do you like romantic comedies? What makes you laugh?

35 thoughts on “Smoochy Face: Thoughts on Writing Romantic Comedies | IWSG”

  1. That’s great the writing is flowing! It’s fun to try a new genre. I don’t really understand using a different pen name for a different genre. It’s hard enough to build an author following with one name! Don’t let Simon delete any more of your writing. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are one brave woman setting that release date! The pressure would have me diving into a vat of chocolate. 🙂

    As a reader, I don’t mind the author using the same name for different genres as long as it’s clear what sort of story I’m picking up. And it looks to me like you’ve done just that with your different covers.

    You will totally rock this new venture!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think cozy mysteries and romantic-comedies are close enough that two different names isn’t necessary, Many authors are now using one name for everything. I’ve published romantic-suspense, suspense (no romance), fantasy romance, and fantasy mystery (I think that’s how the one could be classified lol), and I also have a clean romance I’ve written. Only books for children would I probably use a different pen name for.

    BTW excellent cover!


  4. I’m sorry to say I don’t read RomComs but I know tons of mystery lovers who do. The other thing is that they can also become a series as along as you don’t mind writing about the supporting cast. It will be their romances that will be center stage over the next few books.

    Good luck and have fun!

    Anna from elements of emaginette


  5. Congrats on the new genre. It’s scary but keep writing. I’m sure you’re funny. I was smiling while reading your post. I think you’ll be surprised with the amount of crossover from cozies to romcom and back. I dont have any good tips on heat level as I also struggle with it. Good luck!


    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are amazing and sizzling yourself! You are on a roll! It will be fun alternating the two series as well when it comes to writing and inspiration.

    I think it’s a good idea to keep your real name for both series. And, I have a feeling that most cozy mystery readers love a funny romcom! Not sure about the other way around, but in this case, you have the “order” right! 🙂


  7. I think you’ll have a lot of crossover readers, especially if your new series has the same tone as the Mollie McGhie series. BTW, I’ve seen three different cover versions for the Smitten series and each one has been awesome! Can’t wait to see what pops up on publication!


  8. Ah yes. The subjectivity of humor is terrifying. That’s where you pick and choose your audience and who you write for. I have one friend who will never be entertained with what I consider comedy, and I find myself unable to stand what she thinks is funny.

    Woot for venturing into the new undertaking! I’m excited for you and I hope it grows and flourishes like crazy. 🙂


  9. Alas, the funny lady is doing romance. I must tell you the smoochie face scenes are difficult to write. I laughed at mine. It sounded like a second grader wrote them. Sigh. I bet you’ll come up with a winner. It’s a natural for you. Practice on Mollie and Scooter’s romantic life!! Have fun!


  10. How exciting! And yep, that is daring to put up the pre-release stuff already, but maybe that makes sure it gets done (?). I’m looking forward to seeing what characters you’ve come up with this time!


  11. I’m excited about your romcom and look forward to it and anything else with Mollie. I like romcoms better than straight romance. I like to have some laughs with my drama. Sarcasm and snark are always a plus.


  12. I’m crazy about romantic comedies. Your Mollie McGhie books are hilarious so it should be an easy transition. I’m glad you’re not leaving Mollie behind while writing the comedies. You’re right about what’s funny to some people isn’t to others. But, hey, if your readers enjoy your Mollie books they’ll love the Smitten ones. Good luck!


  13. I’m here to encourage you to follow what inspires you. You’re a good writer and I think it’s better to explore than keep to the safe path and be bored to death. I apologize for late comment. I was traveling from Mexico to the USA for surgery on my carotid artery.
    What makes me laugh? When you write about Simon. He’s a hoot.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Oh, I love the cover! What a cute idea for a series.

    If it makes you feel better, I once attended a workshop with Beverly Jenkins, who always uses her own name, even though she writes YA, Western, romance, and historical. She said we don’t give our readers enough credit for intelligence. If they’re not interested in a genre, they can decide for themselves, but why hide it from them? Why split your audience?

    I think people who love your voice will be excited to read your new series, even though they aren’t cozy mysteries.

    Liked by 1 person

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