Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When a does a romance become a farce?

When I started writing fiction (having spent years concentrating on non-fiction) I knew that romance was the genre I wanted to focus on. Books about boy A meeting girl B and (after obstacles 1, 2, and 3 have been conquered and boy C negated) falling in love* have always appealed to me. Most modern romantic fiction contains an element of humour, and the reason is obvious: falling in love can be one of the funniest things that ever happens to us, but I’ve been wondering if I can push that point a little further.

It would be foolish of me to declare that romantic fiction favours gentle humour, but it does appear to lean more towards the gentile and subtle, which is no less valid (and is ultimately more intelligent for both writer and reader), but is sometimes a bit sedate for my taste.

So when I started plotting my current work in progress I decided to push my luck when it came to pitching the humour. I made the decision that while my new book wouldn’t be a ‘whoopsie daisy missus, the vicar has come on my crumpets’ affair, it would contain a strong element of the ridiculous. I’m now roughly half way through my first draft and last night I read a passage out loud to my (very tolerant) wife, to which she replied,
“You’re not writing farce are you?” To which I quietly mumbled, “I hope not...”

But why not? Is farce without value? When does comedy become farcical? How do we know when we’ve crossed the thin line between what is funny and what is too daft to be easily digested? You tell me...

*Heinously simplistic I know, please accept my apologies!

1 comment:

  1. I think there's a lot of value in making people laugh + entertaining them - farce is subjective. To me, slapstick is farce. In ancient rome, Terence's comedia were farcical.

    To me the line between PMSL and farce is how realistic it is - bearing in mind that truth is often stranger than fiction.

    I say go with your gut instinct, stay true to your story and you can't go wrong. Plus never read early drafts to loved ones, that only leads to dramatic flouncing out of rooms (or is that just me?)