Romantic comedy: How to write a rom-com


05 July 2024
Author Lauren Ford passes on her top tips about writing light-hearted romance that readers will want to return to

Romance novels, and rom-coms in particular, continue to dominate book sales, so what makes us fall in love with this genre and what are the essentials for a satisfying rom-com?

I was raised in the peak rom-com movie era that included Clueless, 10 Things I Hate About You, 13 Going on 30, Drive Me Crazy, Wedding Singer, and My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

After studying film and television at university, my first full-time job was with an independent film distributor. I arrived on my first day to find a TV and DVD player on my desk and ticked off a career goal I never knew I was chasing.

After working in the DVD product development and marketing department, I was fortunate enough to move into theatrical acquisitions. The job involved reading hundreds of film scripts and travelling to film markets to acquire movies. As the only female in the department, I was responsible for acquiring romantic comedies. The first film I purchased from script was Just Friends, starring Ryan Reynolds.

The rom-com market is highly profitable because of its broad appeal and because people will read or watch rom-coms multiple times.  

My love of rom-coms and the romance genre has now transferred to the literary world with my debut rom-com novel, Liv is Not a Loser, releasing in July 2024.  

When drafting a romantic comedy, here are some key points to consider:

Tone of the story

A story that has romance doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a rom-com. Rom-coms are lighter in tone and delivery when dealing with real-life issues. It’s essential to consider the style of comedy, subject matter and how you’ll approach these elements for a rom-com. Comedies are about finding a way to laugh at the tragedies of life while also revealing the truth about your characters.

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A rom-com is a comedy with a romantic relationship at the story’s heart. Comedy is an equal partner in this genre with romance. The goal is to make readers laugh and swoon!

When drafting, it’s important to establish which character the laughs will come from in your story. If you want a character to be funny, ensure that the character has limited knowledge or skills to achieve the goals you’ve set out for them.

Characters being real and struggling make great comedic moments. Also, fun secondary characters such as a best friend, sidekick or rival can help with the comedic elements of your story.

Further reading: Advice on being a funny writer from Abigail Mann


Romantic comedies are a highly commercial and marketable genre. Can you pitch your story in one sentence?

The short pitch for Liv is Not a Loser is: A best-friends-to-lovers romantic comedy about a woman who realises she’s a loser and puts together a ten-step plan to change her life.

Write a one-sentence logline or brief synopsis to test your concept and pitch before writing your manuscript.


As with any novel, you must consider why you are telling this story. What do you want to explore about people, relationships, life, or romance through your story? Do you have a central question you’re exploring? What is your main character’s goal, and how does that tie to your theme?

While Liv is looking for love, her main goal is to change her life and stop being a loser. Only through Liv’s path to self-improvement does she gain the love she’s always desired.

Read more: Top tips for wriitng romantic comedy from leading author Della Galton

The romantic relationship

When drafting your rom-com, two important questions are: Why do these two people belong together, and what is keeping them apart?

The love interests in your rom-com need to connect on a level that reveals their true selves, and they can’t have that connection with anyone else.

What will they learn throughout the story to earn their happy ever after? What is holding your characters back from attaining the love they desire?

Happily ever after

And the last point because it’s an important one – romantic comedies need a happy ending! This is non-negotiable!

More specifically, readers want to see that the characters have put in the work and are in a place at the end of the story to go and live their happily ever after together. With this genre, readers know a happy ending is coming, so make sure it’s unique, memorable, and specific to the characters you’ve crafted.

Liv is Not a Loser is being released by Canelo Publishing on 11 July 2024.


Read more about writing romantic comedy from Aliya Ali-Afzal, talking about finding humour in writing between two cultures



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