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What are the Subgenres of Comedy Fiction: Example Books of Each

What are the Subgenres of Comedy Fiction


I like my fiction to tell human stories that are both touching and comic. I think life is a lot like that.

I didn’t set out to be a writer of Comedy Fiction but apparently, that’s a big part of what I do. And the publishing world likes to find boxes for writers, so I guess being a funny fiction writer is my box.

But there’s not just one kind of comic fiction. As I discovered, there are various themes, styles and subgenres. So you might want to find a category you like best.

Many of the reviewers say my book, Florida Hustle, falls into the subgenre of dark humor or dark comedy; I’m not sure I entirely agree, but I’m happy people find the book humorous. I just set out to write a good book.

If you want to know more about Comedy Fiction, keep reading:

Dark Comedy

When it comes to some controversial subjects, writers often use ‘dark comedy’ or ‘dark humor’ to engage the readers. Humor is a way to critique the societal norms and odd behaviors of people and groups, and to skewer some of the absurdities of our world in an entertaining way.

You’re at my site, so let’s start with my book, Florida Hustle, which falls in the category of ‘dark comedy’.

Florida Hustle by Paul Willborn

Florida Hustle is my book, and I’m overwhelmed by the response from readers and critics. The book earned a “star” from Kirkus and was named one of the “100 Best Indie Books” of the year.

I don’t write jokes. What I find is when I put my characters in motion, they tend to do funny things – not intentionally, of course.  There were also some worlds I wanted to have some fun with – like the B-horror movies of the 1980s, and the cult like methods used by pyramid marketing companies, and the people who are sure they can “get rich quick.”

I blended themes of fiction, humor, and history to craft the inspiring story of a young filmmaker, Michael Donnelly. He has two obsessions: the 1960s horror movies made by Mario Bava, and a teenage scream queen, Dawn Karston, star of a string of Friday the 13th slasher knockoffs.  

Michael, who shares a Palm Beach mansion with his defense contractor father, believes Dawn deserves better material and that he is just the man for the job. But obsession, like filmmaking, is a risky business. To Dawn and her LA manager, Michael’s comic book storyboards, rendered in blood-red ink and mailed to the actor’s home address, look more like death threats than movie pitches.

With Dawn’s new project, Swamp Fiend 2, about to shoot in the Florida Everglades—just an hour from Michael’s house—the producers convince Michael’s family that something must be done. When Michael gets wind of a plan to lock him up at a plush retreat for the rich and deranged, he flees to a sketchy motel in West Palm Beach. There, he enlists an aging con man and his fiercely ambitious teenage girlfriend to help him reach the set of Swamp Fiend 2. Michael doesn’t realize his new partners see him as an opportunity to satisfy their own “get rich quick” obsessions.

Florida Hustle is set in 1982 when America was led by a celebrity president, when the phenomenal success of Friday the 13th helped spawn a string of slasher-film copycats, and when Florida was morphing from a low-rent vacationland into a mega-state famous for sprawling theme parks, bizarre crimes, and a flourishing B-movie industry.

Must Read Blog on: What is Humorous Fiction? Recommended Best Humorous Fiction Books

Historical Comedy Fiction

Basically, historical comedy fiction is a way to combine elements of history and comedy to offer entertaining narratives to readers. Set in the early 1980s, Florida Hustle, also qualifies as historical comedy.

But my favorite example is this one:

A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles

From the #1 New York Times-bestselling author, Amor Towles, you get the tale of a man who is ordered to spend all his life in a hotel room. Set soon after the Soviet Revolution in 1922, Amor takes you in the world of Count Alexander Rostov, an unrepentant Russian aristocrat, who is sentenced to house arrest. This novel is brimmed with unbelievable aspects in terms of humor, beautifully rendered scenes, and a very glittering cast of characters.

Romantic Comedy

For those who enjoy reading romantic novels with a touch of comedic elements, rom-coms are best to endure because this subgenre is one of the most popular among all, mainly for the readers. It is based on very light-hearted and silly plots centered on romantic ideas.

The Comfort Food Café by Debbie Johnson

The story starts with Maxine Connolly’s teenage daughter, Sophie, who has also applied for a job at the Comfort Food Café on her mother’s behalf. There, she meets Max. Being a romantic comedy, they fall in love. Things happen. Enjoy.

Final Words

As a writer, I enjoy these comic subgenres because each of them has its own special features and eccentric details. You can’t go wrong with any of these suggestions, and I think you’ll find comedy helps tell a serious story.

Happy reading!

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