Friday 6 January 2017

SELLING OUT TO HOLLYWOOD (One of Bad Girl's fave columns)

It's a funny thing about writing comedy <love that line>.

Some columns roll off the keyboard with a life of their own. 
Others meander around in the mind for almost a year, the lazy little things.  And some are downright ornery, refusing to conform to the 650 words required by my publishers.

But always, I am asked: which are my favourite columns?  That doesn't mean the ones that were easiest to come.  It means the ones that I come back to, time and again, to reread.

Over the next month, I'll be posting some of my favourites.  Hope you enjoy them too.

by Bad Girl

I read one of those self-help books the other day, and I’m beginning to realize why I’m not getting very rich.  (For one thing, I’m not writing self-help books.)  It is patently obvious that nobody is going to get wealthy writing humorous novels unless they whack somebody over the head with them during the course of a bank robbery.

So I’ve decided to switch media here and become a screenwriter.  I’m a natural.  I can sit in those funny collapsible canvas chairs just as well as the next guy, and besides, I know hundreds of unbelievable plots: I follow US politics.

So here goes: for my first screamplay <sic> I’m going to do something made for TV; specifically one of those romance-suspense-action-thriller-northern-southern-civil war epic-type things, maybe a miniseries.  It would have everything – sex, violence, sex, betrayal, sex, revenge, sex - and maybe even some dialogue.  It would star a ravishing but thoroughly spoiled female lead, maybe called Sapphire.  Here’s a preview:

Sapphire flings herself up the sweeping staircase, catching bottom of skirt on knob of banister.

Sapphire (yanking at fabric):  Go away, Rot!  Just go away!

Rot:  I’m going, I’m going.  But one last thing, Sapphire honey, I’ve got to know.  How do you manage to go to the bathroom with that bloody hoola- hoop attached to your skirt?

Sapphire (rolling downstairs on her side):  Don’t go, Rot!  Please don’t go.

Rot (doffing hat):  Frankly Sapphire, I don’t give a hoot.

(From outside, several barn owls hoot.)

I predict a blockbuster.  But just in case, I have a second one planned.  It’s a 1960s historical spy flick, based on the true-to-life adventures of very bad people who might possibly be Russian.

First Spy (possibly named Boris):  Gee comrade, do you theenk perhaps we are raising peeples suspicions speeeking English with Russian accent?

Second Spy (also named Boris):  Especially seence it is very BAD Russian accent, comrade?

Okay, so it needs a bit of work, and maybe some more sex.  I’m thinking of calling it Czech-mate. And if we bring it forward to modern times, the possibilities are endless.  What about a ‘Spy of the Month’ reality series?  Boris could live in an LA frat house with nine other comrades named Boris, and the survivor…

Or I could go back to writing silly novels.

You can reach Melodie through her website right here.  Or better still, buy her comedy novels in Chapters, Barnes&Noble, Walmart or Amazon.


  1. It's interesting that comedy in novel form doesn't seem to sell, Melodie. Which is ridiculous when it seems like it's okay for literary fiction to be funny, or romance, or other specific genres, but it's not ok for a novel to be just funny in general, unless it's wearing an even more ridiculous hat.

  2. Just saw this comment now, Tara! I agree. It's fine for a novel to have mild humour in it (wit, or droll satire) but for fiction to be flat out funny is rather a rarity. Hard to write, of course. Comedy is best short for maximum impact, which is why half hour sitcoms work well.

  3. Agreed. I was reading a Dickens parody recently which just didn't work, because the story was sacrificed in favour of funny asides, which ended up being not so funny because they were tripping over each other. It's still really hard to sell droll satire, though. Mainstream publishing doesn't seem to know what to do with it.