November 20, 2011

Dueling Snow White's, Dueling Genres - Comedy Versus Drama

Almost everyone I know who loves paranormal stories grew up loving fairy tales. I will totally admit to my Disney addiction - Little Mermaid is my favorite, then Belle then probably Jasmine. And, even though she doesn't make my top three, Snow White is a pretty classic fairy tale figure that I'm sure most of you know is about to get revamped with dueling movies - 'Mirror Mirror' and 'Snow White and the Huntsman.' I loved both trailers, but watching them got me thinking about how different the same story can be told, one version comedic and the other dramatic. Obviously, you need a little drama and a little comedy in every story, but I think every story leans closer to one end of the spectrum and I don't know which I prefer.

When I sit down to read a chick-lit, think Sophia Kinsella, I expect comedy, but when I sit down to read a paranormal romance, I think I just expect the drama. I like to laugh, obviously, and think a humorous protagonist is fantastic, but I get wrapped up in fantasy worlds more when there is a dramatic slant. Meg Cabot writes great paranormal romance that is completely comedic and I would combat that against something like Twilight, which is very dramatic.

So, I started thinking about the differences between each genre, and what the pros/cons are. Essentially, it all comes down to tension. Drama is all about building tension, where as comedy is all about releasing it. Drama is about the tear and comedy the laugh.

In my opinion, the absolute best thing about drama is that it is page turning. Drama is always building and is always keeping people interested, because you can present situations that make the reader wish for an outcome they know they can't have. Think about 'Romeo & Juliet' for example. In the first page, you are presented with the entire story - 'a pair of star-crossed lovers take their life' - but when you read it, you keep going just hoping that the beginning wasn't true. Drama can really make a reader attached to characters and their drama, and you can present those impossible loves and give the reader hope that a happy ending will somehow occur.

However, comedy is amazing too because everyone loves to laugh and feel that joy. With comedy, I think the reader is more likely to align him or herself with the main character - it's not so much about hoping for an outcome as truly becoming the main character. No one I know is one hundred percent confident in who they are and all of their quarks, but a humorous main character allows readers to be okay with that because humor transforms the awkward into the entertaining. I don't speed through a comedy because I have to know how it ends, I read comedies because they are fun and I can relate to them, which makes the reading experience even more enjoyable.

So, what do you think? What are the main differences between these two genres and which do you enjoy the most?

And, in case you haven't seen them, here are the two Snow White trailers to help explain my points more. Enjoy!

Mirror, Mirror:

Snow White and the Huntsman:


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