Event report

Conference 2011 - Blending humour with emotion

Report published 22 September 2011

Liz Feilding : Blending humour with emotion.

Liz talked passionately about writing with humour, explaining it can’t be taught and neither can it be forced. Humour comes from within and spills into your writing. It is part of who we are. Each of us has memories from past occasions that make us laugh, but some go from laughter to a prickle of tears, maybe whilst remembering something funny a much missed loved one once said.

Liz explained that you can have romance without humour, but not humour without emotion and the film Pretty Woman was used as an example of humour can be weaved in subtly. In the scene where Edward and Vivian return from the polo match she’s mad at him and he knows it, but doesn’t why. Her response to his questions is a constant ‘fine’ until finally she tells him exactly what she thinks of him. This scene shows how the humour is interwoven with the characters. There aren’t any punch lines or jokes. It’s subtle. It makes you smile, which is what is required when blending humour with emotion in romance.

Humour comes from characters and situations, with scenes shifting between smiles and anguish, giving two layers at the same time. It needs to be subtle and within situations that readers can relate to. Use your own experiences to colour your characters, don’t tell it in black and white. Make it funnier, more emotional or sexier, using the senses to heighten the emotion and make the reader feel.

Written by Rachael Thomas

It's a fact

The RNA's first president Denise Robins wrote more than 180 books. The second, Mary Burchell wrote 110. Our third President, Diane Pearson has six so far. Current president Katie Fforde has 19 and she's still writing.