Since the mid-1900s, romantic comedies have been growing in popularity. The films and novels still follow a typical plotline, but the diversity in the genre is growing. For example, combining other types of genres with the romantic comedy genres.
In the first romantic comedies, readers and viewers were faced with traditional male/female relationships in which both parties were confined to their traditional gender roles. But, as the years have progressed, writers and filmmakers have stepped out of these confining bubbles and explored different kinds of relationships with different forms of conflict.
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Romantic Comedy Definition
Romantic comedy of novel is incredibly popular with contemporary audiences. The basics of the romantic comedy genre can include any two people, regardless of gender, background, culture, or race.
It can take place at any time. It could occur in the past or any time throughout history, or even include more fantastical elements, bringing in elements of fantasy, historical fiction, and perhaps even science fiction genres.
Examples of Romantic Comedy Novels
Can You Keep a Secret? by Sophie Kinsella
Can You Keep a Secret? was published in December of 2005. It features Emma Corrigan, a young woman who is contending with numerous secrets as the novel begins. She shares many of these secrets with a stranger on a plane (as she deals with her fear of flying), a choice that would later come back to haunt her. She realizes the next morning that the man she spilled her life secrets to is the boss of the corporation she works for. He remembers everything she said, and she now has to deal with a bigger fear, what he’s going to do with the information. Here is a quote from the novel:
She believes in love and romance. She believes her life is one day going to be transformed into something wonderful and exciting. She has hopes and fears and worries, just like anyone else. Sometimes she feels frightened.” He pauses, and adds in a softer voice, “Sometimes she feels unloved. Sometimes she feels she will never gain approval from those people who are most important to her.
Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
Bet Me was published in August 2004. The novel follows Minerva Dobbs, a down-to-earth, clear-headed, and sometimes overly pessimistic young woman. She’s asked to dinner by Calvin Morrissey, an especially attractive and wealthy man. In the beginning, the two do not have a clear romantic and passionate attraction to one another (this is a very common feature of this genre). In fact, at the end of the day, they agree to never see one another again. But, that soon changes when they meet again and have to contend with some of the many conflicts that modern-day life throws in their way. Here is a quote from the book:
Nobody in my life has ever known me the way you do. Nobody in my life has ever made me feel as good as you do. You know me, you know everything about me, and when you leave me, you’re going to be leaving the real me, the me nobody else has ever seen, that’s who you’re going to be rejecting.
Shortcake by Lucy Watson
This contemporary novel written was by Lucy Watson. It features the main character, Emelia Anderson. The novel starts with her contending with Benjamin Crawford, an annoying although temporary roommate. The two hate each other from the start, but they grow closer as they work to renovate the estate they’re sharing. Suddenly, they realize they had more in common than they initially thought, and romance blooms. Here is a humorous quote from the description of the novel:
1) Get strapped to a chair in a restaurant full of loud-chewers.
2) Parachute into the Australian Outback armed with only a blowdart.
3) Live her best life as an ice road trucker in the Alaskan Tundra.
The main character’s hatred for the man who later becomes her primary love interest is a classic way for a romantic comedy novel to begin.
Romantic Comedy Films
The romantic comedy film genre is one of the most popular contemporary genres of film on the market. These films are also known as “romcoms.” The movies focus on lighthearted plot lines featuring friendships, relationships, sometimes heartbreak, and more. These films always have a happy ending. Usually, there is some type of outrageous obstacle to surmount or a more realistic conflict to contend with. For example, class differences, past relationships, financial difficulties, or more.
The films follow a basic plotline. The two main characters meet and are separated by some other obstacle. They are then reunited due to their enduring love and connection. As they travel from the beginning to the end of their plotline, usually, there are humorous twists and turns that make the entire movie entertaining.
A romcom novel, or a romantic comedy novel, is a book that combines the elements that readers may be familiar with in the romantic comedy film genre. This includes two people who have to deal with conflict in the way of a potential relationship. For example, their initial dislike of one another, a jealous ex, class differences, or disapproving parents.
A book is a romantic comedy when the main point of the novel is following two characters’ developing relationship. It may start out on rocky ground and then progress to a more passionate and fulfilled love affair. Or, it may take a more circuitous route to an inevitable happy ending.
Romantic comedy novels are usually fairly short, for example, between 300 and 400 pages. 100,000 words is not an uncommon number to find in this genre.
Related Literary Terms
- Chick Lit: a genre of literature that focuses on female protagonists. These stories are usually targeted at younger women and are described as “popular fiction.”
- Comedy: a humorous and entertaining genre of literature, film, and television.
- Detective Story: a sub-genre of fiction that follows an investigator as they try to track down a criminal, solve a crime, or prevent one from happening.
- Fantasy: a literary genre that includes talking animals, magic, and other worlds. It includes plots that couldn’t take place in the real world.
- Historical Fiction: a genre that fictionalizes real places, people, and events. It takes place in the past with accurate historical details in regard to customs, technologies, people, and events.
- Read: 18 Romantic Comedy Books
- Watch: Best Romantic Comedies
- Watch: The 10 Funniest Rom-Coms of All Time