A little market research

For want of a better description, Post & Publish is going to be a “relationship comedy”. It’s not just about romance, friends play a bigger part and family is important. I thought I’d pick up a couple of books and see how others have covered similar material. I couldn’t be bothered to finish either of them.

T-Shirt and Genes is, as one reviewer on Amazon puts it a “blokey, mid life crisis, lose girlfriend, analyse life, get girlfriend back” book. Tony Parsons thought it was hilarious, but I should have paid more attention to the handwritten review in the front that said “This book is crap- read it at your peril”. Charlie Ellis, biology teacher and idiot, loses his job and girlfriend after not taking sensible precautions whilst having sex in the staff room. He then goes on to blame everything except himself and eventually turns into an inept stalker. As I’d had little sympathy for the character to begin with, I gave up at this point. If you’re looking for this formula done properly, then read High Fidelity (or watch the film, even).

The Trials of Tiffany Trott is the sort of rubbish people mock when they’re deriding “chick lit”. I hope it’s not representative, because I can’t imagine any woman wanting to identify with such a vacant space of a character as the eponymous Ms Trott. She’s supposed to be a terribly successful advertising copy writer, but I’m not convinced she could even tie her own laces. 37, single and childless she sets out to find Mr. About Right, blind dates, clubbing, holidays, blah, blah, blah. I just couldn’t be bothered.

So my challenge is to write strong characters,capable of making mistakes and bad decisions without losing the reader’s sympathy. Then I have to put them in a strong narrative with funny set pieces and a believable resolution. Piece of cake, obviously.

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