Spoke to Michael Weber, co-author of (500) DAYS OF SUMMER, in my class this week. Lovely guy, very forthcoming with interesting and useful details about the world of writing.
One takeaway from his talk was how much he and his writing partner did not like romantic comedies, when they started writing one. They thought, basically, that a lot of them were stupid.
So, he and his friend started telling each other moments from their past romances and writing them down. They did not have a plot, but just stories that meant something in some way.
The guiding force in the script’s construction was “What would really happen?” and that is how that story evolved. Not “What do we need to have happen that would be funny?” but what would those characters actually do if this event or that one happened to them…
It was an easy way to stay realistic and keep them out of StupidLand.