I have to admit, I am always alternately excited and confused when my publisher decides one of my books falls under the romantic comedy heading. Excited because rom-coms are my favorite type of romance. Confused because I don’t really set out to write comedy. Why? Because comedy is hard.
It’s not that I don’t think I’m funny. I mean, if I can still make my teenagers laugh, but not laugh at me, I must be doing something right in the live comedy department. But in my experience, written comedy is a whole other ball game. And kind of like a five-year-old who is trying to learn to tell jokes, when I try to write comedy, it comes off stilted and…not funny. So rather than try to write comedy, I aim to write people the way people around me actually talk.
Yet, I tend to fall back on two of my comedic influences when writing anyway.
The first (love him, hate him, or try to ignore the bad stuff about him) is Joss Whedon. I’m going to take a stab in the dark that, like me, he doesn’t really consider himself a comedy writer. However, most of his work has strong comedic elements to it. And I think that all comes from the thought process mentioned in this quote from him: ““Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
Why tell a joke then, of all times? Because laughter is one way that people deal with stressful and grim situations. Even at funerals, people often share funny stories in eulogies in order to break the tension. So why wouldn’t characters use the same method? If we want to believe they’re real people, they will. And depending on the character, they’ll utilize puns or wordplay or even the dreaded dad jokes.
But I must admit, my second comedic influence isn’t quite so…methodical—or innocent—about things. I mean, maybe he is. Maybe the method to his madness is to just seem totally pervy and snarky, but he’s not like that in real life at all. But, I mean…he’s Deadpool. So I don’t quite buy it. Seriously though, if you spend any time following Ryan Reynolds on social media, the guy has a quick wit and is so snarky it makes me feel like I’m still stuck in Sarcasm 101 because I know nothing. But I want my characters to have that kind of fluid, easy way with how they talk, especially the one who is supposed to bring the funny. Everyone else is the straight man to Reynolds’s class clown. As it should be.
For example, in Adventures in Online Dating, there are a couple of snarky-funny characters. Peyton, Alexa’s BFF. And Marshall, the hero. But going back to the example of Ryan Reynolds, one of them has to be better at it. One of them is a student in Snappy Comebacks 412, but the other is the professor. To that end, there is a point early in the book where Peyton and Marshall are face-to-face, and he does something that strikes her so funny, she (in essence) proclaims him the champion. She doesn’t try to one-up him, she just gives a snort and accepts that he would be good for her friend.
So, unless you count the craziness of the two teenagers I live with (and believe me, there’s some choice level of crazy in there), those are my two biggest comedic influences. Combine them, and the explanation of how I do comedy is this…
There is never a bad time for some well-placed sarcasm.
If that’s the sort of thing you enjoy, you might just like my books.
For Alexa, the answer to everything comes down to numbers. Three
sons. One divorce. One great life…except her boys are getting older
and they really need a man in their lives. Enter the number twenty, as in after twenty minutes with someone she knows whether or not she wants them in her life. So, she hatches a plan to meet any man who even remotely strikes her interest—for a twenty-minute date at her favorite coffee shop. It’s the perfect plan to find her perfect match in the most efficient way possible.
Too bad coffee shop owner Marshall isn’t keen on the idea. He doesn’t want his shop to be her speed dating zone—especially since she’s made it clear he’s too young to be a contender. But Alexa finds herself drawn to Marshall in ways she can’t quantify. There’s no easy answer, and once the kids become involved, her well-ordered world threatens to fall apart—twenty minutes at a time.
Romance Contemporary [Entangled, On Sale: November 12, 2018, e-Book, ISBN: 9781640636729 / ]
About Julie Particka
Julie Particka was told to get serious about her future in Junior High. Several years after getting a bachelor’s degree in chemistry, she realized being serious was over-rated and went back to her first love-writing. Now rather than spending her days in the drudgery of the lab or teaching science to high school students, she disappears into worlds of her own creation where monsters sometimes roam, but true love still conquers all.
She can most often be located in the Detroit area with her favorite minions (the ones who know her as Mom) where she is currently hatching a plot for world domination. It involves cookies for everyone, so she’s pretty sure there’s no way it can fail…except the minions keep eating the cookies.