Wednesday Mar 06, 2024

Ruth Leigh (Writing comic characters)

Danielle Krage interviews novelist Ruth Leigh. They focus on her delightful Isabella M Smugge series, and what it takes to create a comic character that you can develop and sustain across multiple books. Ruth is also the author of the Jane Austen-inspired book A Great Deal of Ingenuity, and The Little Book of Unexpected Poetry.



00:00 Introduction and Background

01:57 Origin Story of Isabella M. Smugge

06:48 Creating a Funny and Complex Character

09:45 Developing a Series and Balancing Character Arcs

11:34 Turning Up the Comedy in the Setting

14:06 Using Conflict to Drive the Story

17:30 The Importance of Setting in Comedy

20:23 Writing Process and Balancing Comedy and Heart

25:23 Favourite Comic Influences

29:43 Prompts and Exercises for Writing Comedy

32:19 Building a Writing Community and Getting Feedback

34:38 The Impact of Reader Feedback

35:27 Real People and Names in the Books

36:47 Overcoming Fear of Events

37:31 Starting Small and Building Confidence

38:58 Finding Comfortable Opportunities

39:06 Where to Find More about Ruth Leigh



You can find the transcript at:


And Danielle’s socials here:


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