Friday, June 24, 2016

Writing Comedy

As you probably know by now, I'm working on writing humor. I have a humorous short story coming out soon-ish (still waiting on an ETA), and I'm pounding away at a longer comedy work, too. This isn't really anything I thought I'd even do, because I never really thought of myself as funny. But here I am! So, because no one asked for it, here are some of the things I've realized from this foray. Hopefully they'll be useful to anyone looking at trying their hand at comedy.

  • I realized at our critique group last night that I've been putting a lot of pressure on myself to be funny in this piece. Like, all the time. Which isn't how comedy works. There are lulls and more serious parts, and there are parts that are ridiculous and slapstick, and every story needs a good balance. Just like a balance of action and rest. Don't try to force humor into every situation or scene, and don't beat yourself up if it isn't coming easily.
  • Beta readers or critique groups are your friend. I mean, they're great for every genre, but they really can help figure out which jokes are working and which aren't, if you need more time for a specific image, or where you're missing opportunities to be even funnier. "Glitter Bomb" wouldn't be half the story it is now without their input. 
  • Everyone's sense of humor is different. Things you think are hilarious might get brushed off by other people, and that's okay. Gail Carriger told us the story of her critique group, where everyone had different ideas of what was funny. She asked them all to mark places where they laughed out loud so she could make sure there were bits for each of their sensibilities on every page. I'm stealing that idea for my own work.
  • If you think it's funny, put it on the page. Worst case scenario, no one will get the joke and you'll have to re-write it. But best case scenario, everyone thinks you're a comedic genius! If your comedy isn't entertaining and funny to you, odds are it won't be to anyone else, either. So take the risk! 
Emily is now going to be going by Emer on this blog, to help distinguish between Co-Host Emily and Book-Reviewer-Producer Emily. So, that's a thing. She's also pretty thrilled about the thunderstorm currently brewing, and new cosplay ideas she's brainstorming with her roommate.

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