I've spent the last few weeks getting my creative crap together and refocusing. Projects I've wanted to do for awhile are in swing now, and it feels a lot better doing than thinking about it. The latest project is a podcast I launched with Rae Alexandra of MovieRuiner.com called Mandatory Happy.
The issues that plague bad rom-coms are the same issues that plague bad crime stories, the same issues that plague bad action movies, etc. It's characters that do things that don't make sense, fall for things they shouldn't, and behave in ways that real humans would never behave.
As crime fiction writers, we're not writing toward a mandatory happy ending, but we're hopefully writing toward realistic characters that catch the reader's attention and feel believable.
The first episode (available now, here!) tackles the film City of Angels, which was marketed as a light hearted almost romantic comedy 20 years ago, and instead was a depressing mess of uneven tone and people behaving in unbelievable ways (if you want to know more, you're going to have to click that link, nothing in this life is free).
One thing we kept coming back to in our discussion was characters behaving in ways that didn't make any sense, things happening, and being accepted in the film that weren't really possible (even in a universe where angels walk among humans, sniffing ladies' hair and talking about Hemingway).
While many male writers still admit, sheepishly, that they don't really know how to write women, I think taking the discussion out of what you are writing at the moment, and looking critically at the writing in other mediums can be helpful. And if you do it with us at Mandatory Happy - it can be fun.
I hope you'll check out our first episode and subscribe via iTunes and join in.