Questionable: Can You Put a Death in a Rom Com?

S asked:
“What do you think about death in the romantic comedy? Not the hero or heroine, but someone else who matters. Does this make it something other than romcom? Would readers revolt? Have been studying 4 Weddings and a Funeral – the writer was apparently advised to include the funeral to balance the sweet. . . . Had similar thoughts about the movie The Apartment which was tragic but listed as a romcom. It’s for my WIP – my critique grip is squeamish about a death I’m planning in a book that’s part of a romcom series and I’m wondering if it’s maybe too much for my reader?”

Well, first define “romantic comedy.”  I’ve never thought The Apartmentwas a romantic comedy, so I’m no help there.  My basic definition is that it’s a story of a romance that ends happily and is funny.  If you can make a death work in that context, it’s a romcom.  Obviously, there’s some calibration in there, but death is not antithetical to romance or comedy.

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