Early on in Writing & Selling Romantic Comedy Screenplays the reader is advised to wear many different hats when writing romance and comedy but sadly, for this critic, his poor fashion sense resulted in only laughs and not love. Of course this statement is entirely flippant, because Writing & Selling Romantic Comedy Screenplays actually provides a lot of sound advice and even if you don’t necessarily agree that the specific examples (a number in helpful detail) of commercial romantic comedies dicussed are amongst the greats, the background information is always interesting and useful.

The romantic comedy is one of those sub-genres that garners extremes of opinion; much like the horror genre, films are often loved or loathed by audiences and critics – sometimes unfairly, sometimes not fairly enough. The ‘selling’ element within the book’s title is important because the guide not only discusses potential markets, it also considers the marketing history of particular rom-coms, advising that the prospective writer should examine films’ box-office results as well as reviews from the critics. So for every Juno (2007) and Ruby Sparks (2012) that are great modern films with varied box office receipts but enough ideas to spark enthusiasm, there is also a Sex and the City (2008) and Bridesmaids (2011) (yes, it really was a terrible film). Even the same author can make variable product: this critic enjoyed the rom-com Josie and the Pussycats [2001] by Deborah Kaplan but hated rom-com Leap Year [2010], also by Deborah Kaplan. These vagaries of taste may be difficult to address but Writing & Selling Romantic Comedy Screenplays demonstrates a thorough understanding of the genre and describes how a screenplay should approach the market that the writer is aiming for. Developing a script that is romantic and funny is a fine balancing act and one that the writer is encouraged to engage with. It’s about developing screenplays that work for the medium, challenging the potential author to understand: what are you trying to do, how do you do it and how do you get anyone else to care (and therefore throw time and money) about it?

Writing & Selling Romantic Comedy Screenplays offers a plethora of exercises and ideas which help the writer develop their thought process – these even consider the creation of that all important screenplay title – as well as pointing you in the direction of the many available resources that cover the technical aspects of writing a screenplay as these are non-genre specific and widely available. Also helpful are a number of interviews with those involved in the financing or filming of romantic comedies, either in film or television, which help illustrate the points raised, from both a creative and business perspective.

Love doesn’t need money, just emotion. Except in the world of creative media. Writing & Selling Romantic Comedy Screenplays clearly shows its authors’ enthusiasm for the genre and offers valuable guidance that the prospective writer might need in order to break into the market and business – it is solid and helpful advice. So if you have ever wanted to realise a world where your characters’ amorousness and humorous altercations are realised on-screen, this is a good place to start.