Monday, 5 August 2013

Writing Screwball Comedy and Loving It! A Guest Post by Melodie Campbell

The Overnight Bestseller is very pleased to welcome Melodie Campbell, who has over 200 publications and was a finalist for the 2012 Derringer and Arthur Ellis awards. She is the Executive Director of Crime Writers of Canada. She's also a very funny lady.

Melodie's first two novels are A Purse to Die For (mystery) and Rowena through the Wall (comic fantasy). Her third novel is The Goddaughter concerning which the Library Journal said:"Campbell`s crime caper is just right for Janet Evanovich fans. Wacky family connections and snappy dialogue make it impossible not to laugh."

 Over to you, Melodie. . .

“I had the flu once. It was terrible. I couldn’t eat a thing for three hours.”

I hope you giggled at that line. I think it’s one of my best. And yes, I am a tad fond of eating. In fact, you could list it as my major hobby.

My name is Melodie Campbell, and I write comedies. (This is a self-help group, right?) Sure I’d like to kick the habit and write a ‘real’ book with literary merit.

Okay, so that’s a lie. Leave The Goddaughter behind? Not write a sequel? I’m starting to hyperventilate. Actually, I love writing comedies. It’s in my blood.

Some people are born beautiful. But most of us aren’t and we look for ways to survive the slings and arrows of life. Sometimes we choose to hide behind a mask. That Greek Comedy mask was the one I picked way back.

As a means of self-preservation in the cruel world of teenagers, I looked for the ‘funny.’ More often than not, I made fun of myself. This was easy to do. I knew the target well and there was a wealth of material. And it didn’t hurt anyone else, so people liked it.

When I left school and had a ‘real’ job, I started writing stand-up on the side. I rarely delivered it – usually I wrote for others. That led to a regular newspaper humour column, and more.

So when it came to writing novels, I fell back into ‘safe mode’. Write it funny.


Worse than chocolate and foreign Counts… Comedy writers take a situation, and ask themselves ‘what’s the worst thing that could happen now?’ And then, what’s the funniest?

What’s the worst thing that could happen to the Goddaughter when she is reluctantly recruited to carry hot gemstones over the border? Predictable would be: she gets caught at customs. But I don’t want predictable. I want funny. Instead, they get stolen. By a complete amateur! It’s embarrassing, that’s what it is. How is she going to keep this from her new boyfriend Pete, who thinks she’s gone clean? And what the heck is she going to tell her uncle, the crime boss? Nothing, of course. She’s going to steal them back. Or die trying.

And hopefully the audience will die laughing.

But why do it? Why does an otherwise sane individual write zany and some might say silly comedy, and risk the inevitable hit from critics who say your book is without great literary merit?

One reason, and one reason only: many readers love it. Their comments and reviews are heart-lifting. I’ve lightened their day with romance and laughter, and in some cases given them a story they can escape into, over and over again. These readers are the whole reason I keep writing screwball comedies. Yes, it’s true. It wouldn’t be fun to write if I didn’t have warm and generous readers.

Melodie Campbell's second novel in the Rowena series is Rowena and The Dark Lord (April 2013), and she will publish The Goddaughter's Revenge in October 2013. Follow her comic blog at

No comments:

Post a Comment