Have you ever noticed that the plots of romantic comedies can be a little similar? Well, if you ever fancy having a go at writing one, we’ve put together a guide that should make your job a little easier. Here’s how to write every romantic comedy ever…
The Main Characters
Our romcom is going to need some characters. Take your pick from the following…
White girl, in her 20s, living in an urban setting (probably New York in the winter) who either: –
- a) doesn’t realise how attractive she is
- b) has always dated asshole boyfriends
- c) is a bit cookie
- d) is a frustrated singer
- e) is Drew Barrymore
- f) all of the above
She probably has a rich father too.
Lead Girl’s best friend
White girl*, normally same age as lead girl, although occasionally a bit older, who either: –
- a) provides advice and a shoulder to cry on
- b) provides the comic relief
- c) is a bit slutty
- d) is fat
- e) is Melissa McCarthy
- e) all of the above
* can also be a gay male if preferred
Tall dark handsome white guy, or tall blonde haired, blue eyed white guy who either: –
- a) has always been unlucky in love
- b) is an asshole
- c) is a frustrated singer
- d) is Aston Kutcher
- e) all of the above
Lead Guy’s best friend
see lead girl’s best friend and add penis.
Ok, so we have our main characters, on with the plot!
Part 1. The set up
Introduce the main characters, but don’t have the 2 leads meet for the first 10-15 minutes of the film. Show how their lives are worlds apart and include a few hilarious comedy set pieces (probably involving the lead’s friends) to set the tone for the movie.
Part 2. The first meeting
Now we know who everyone is, have the two lead characters meet and for whatever reason not get along. This could be because: –
- a) He like dogs and she likes cats or some other obvious difference
- b) The guy is seemingly out of the girl’s league (or vice versa)
- c) The guy is an asshole
Part 3. Introduce a contrived plot to force them to spend time with each other
This could take the form of: –
- a) A bet (e.g. the guy is initially dating the cookie girl to win a bet with his friend)
- b) Some sort of arrangement (e.g. they have won money and have to pretend to be together)
- c) Something to do with their careers (e.g. the guy works for the council and is trying to close down the girl’s book store)
Part 4. The comedy bit
Have about 30 minutes of hilarious comedy set pieces, brought about by the contrived plot point introduced above. Have the two main characters hating each other for the first 20 minutes, but visibly softening in the final 10 (although not admitting it yet).
Part 5. The romantic bit
The ‘wacky’ situation that forced them to be together made them realise that, despite their differences (or him being an asshole) they actually love each other after all. If he is an asshole, then he’s probably a changed man by now.
Have a romantic walk in the rain or snow at night, a first kiss, ten minutes or so of romance, then…
Part 6. Sweep the carpet from under their feet
Just as things are going well (about an hour and a bit into the movie) have it all go pair shaped as: –
- a) The bet (or other ulterior motive) is revealed
- b) The arrangement ends
- c) The guy actually does close the poor girl’s bookshop
- d) The girl walks in on the guy at the wrong moment (or vice versa) and totally misunderstands what is going on (i.e. he’s kissing his step sister on the cheek or something).
- e) The lead girl’s rich father (see part 1) stops them from seeing each other
Part 7. The exit
The ulterior motive, misunderstanding or whatever is so huge that the girl simply can’t stand to be in the same zip code as the guy any more and will decide to leave town immediately. Like that night.
Optional (but preferred): The guy shows up at her apartment and her best friend advises him that she has already left. It’s raining.
Part 8. The chase
After finding out where the girl has gone, the guy makes a mad dash to reach her, explain himself and profess his undying love before she catches her: –
- a) flight
- b) train
- c) boat
This is an opportunity to reintroduce the comedy part of romcom and the zanier the mode of transport the guy can use to get to the girl the better. The guy’s best friend might have a big part to play here – for example he could be stoned and riding a golf cart or something like that.
Comedy and tension ensues.
Part 9. The grand statement
After a mad, comedic dash across town, the lead guy manages to catch the lead girl just in the nick of time. Have him stand in the rain and make some grand statement about how: –
- a) she has changed him
- b) he can’t bear to be without her
- c) he doesn’t want to sleep with his step sister
- d) all of the above
If he’s a frustrated singer he might do this through the medium of song.
10. The big ending
After the grand gesture, whichever plot contrivance caused the whole misunderstanding will be instantly forgotten and the lead guy and girl will come together for a long, lingering kiss. An uplifting ballad will play in the background as the two main character’s embrace, profess their undying love and the lead’s friends do something comedic.
Roll credits and prepare to cash in at the box office.
But wait, we forgot…
Easy. Have the 2 main characters standing back to back to show they don’t get on, but have a connection that will bring them together in the end. Here are some examples…
Ok, now we’re done!