12.22.2006

HH com 349

The Goddess of Romance Writing has pulled the plug on Kelly King’s three works in progress, progress being a relative term. When her computer crashes, Kelly has plenty of time to work on her own love life with Paul Laurent, the Navy vet down the block. And her characters band together in her corrupted files to rescue themselves from certain death. If hapless Kelly and her computer aren’t reprogrammed, their chances of publication are hopeless.

Kelly may be a redhead now, just like her favorite authors, but she has absolutely nothing in common with them or her three fiery-haired heroines. Before she tried to conquer the publishing world, she was a denim-clad kindergarten teacher. NCLB now stands for no cliché left behind. Spunky Lady Eleanor is about to stow away with her duke/spy husband Lionel and lose the Battle of New Orleans. Straight-laced Eliza is trying to civilize sheriff Lincoln and the entire state of Texas. Sophisticated Ella is a supermodel with a smart mouth and other assets that fascinate a hot Irish photographer named Liam.

Regency, Western and Chick-lit, plus a little time-travel, combine with Kelly and Paul’s contemporary mature relationship to make Third-Rate Romance a genre-bending satiric Valentine. The reader reaps the “benefit” of seeing Kelly’s chapters and what her characters do when she leaves her desk to live her life. Bad writing has never looked so good.


Some years back I had a chance to see Mikhail Baryshnikov on stage. It was an absolute joy to watch him dance. Late in the program he did a very funny piece, to Frank Sinatra music as I recall, wherein he danced "badly". It was hysterical.

I realized then that to make "bad dancing" look that real, he had to be very very very good. In the hands of the lesser dancer we wouldn't have known it was planned, we would have had our hearts in our mouths that this guy was falling down and losing his costume.

I say that because making "bad writing" funny is really really really hard. I see a lot of this and it almost never works. Truly bad writing is excruciating to read, and for proof I offer up some of the posts below this one.

I also find this writing about writers, and characters being real to be rather an in joke. Sort of like the waitresses sitting around the bar when a shift is over and "doing" their least favorite customers for laughs for the other girls.

There's no antagonist and no conflict here. It's all just spun sugar gimmick.

9 comments:

Inkwolf said...

I enjoy parodies in general, and think this could work. There's got to be enough 'real' romance and good writing to appeal to the readers who will get the joke, though. Making fun of the bad writing won't work, because your biggest target audience for a parody would consist of people who READ this sort of bad romance novel regularly, who know it and love it. Taking the stock characters (ala Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next series), and having them break free and rebel against their conventional roles inside her downed computer has, I think, the potential to be pretty amusing.

Michele said...

I think this book could be a hoot.

wavybrains said...

I agree with Miss Snark--this is going to have to be REALLY good to work, but if it works, what fun! I've got a whole chapter full of RWA writers who say that there's a market for this done well. Maybe not a HUGE market, but sometimes inside-jokes are all that much funnier.

blue pencil said...

I like the sound of this.

Stephen King's "Misery" contained a wonderful parody of bad romance novels.

If done well, it could be fun.

dana p said...

I agree that it would be very, very easy to do this poorly, and very, very hard to do it well. But if it *was* done well -- what a treat for the reader!

littlebirdblue said...

It can work w/romance author protag. Check out Parker Posey in The Misadventures of Margaret.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120754/

Anonymous said...

A movie about a romance novelist is different than a romance novel about a romance novelist.

I don't like to see the "art" characters create. Almost inevitably, the "good, great, amazing" art is NOT good (like the unfunny "brilliant" skits on Studio 60), and the "bad" art is not bad in an amusing way.

McKoala said...

Could be funny, though.

Anonymous said...

I like the funny twist, but I am very tired of romance novels about romance novelists. Erotic romance uses that one a LOT--every other heroine, it seems sometimes, writes erotic romance.