Writing Humor

I’m working on a project right now that is stretching my brain and moving me into territories both unfamiliar and daunting. I am trying (note the word “Trying”) to write a Science Fiction Comedy.

I love comedy writing whether it is Terry Pratchett’s “Discworld” seriesĀ (yes, I know it is parody. It’s still funny), or Douglas Adams ‘Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy’ or even Robert Asprin’s “Myth Inc.” series. Comedy writing is some of my favorite to read. It is also the reason I chose the title that I did for my blog.

But, darn it, it is a LOT harder to write than I thought. I’m about 5,000 words into the project so far. I’ve got detailed character sketches, most of the plot and some of the setting. I started writing and tried to come off with humor. The next thing I know, one of my characters is faced with a serious situation and I don’t feel much like laughing.

What gives?

So, I tried again. Once again, the writing started out light-hearted but quickly moved towards something more serious. I took a break a tried to reason out why this kept happening.

Then I realized, I made the characters too real. They all thought they were alive and were acting in ways that I thought of as normal. What I need to do is keep them real, but make there reality totally different from my own.

If you’re wondering what I mean, picture Cletus the yokel from Simpsons. He collects roadkill for food. Not because he has to, but because that’s the way he was brought up. It’s normal to him. Or how about Homer (also Simpsons). He and the rest of the family don’t think twice about his strangling of Bart. Again, normal behavior.

That’s what is missing from the character sketches I did. I have a clear idea of who the characters are, but I haven’t given them their normal yet. Their normal needs to be considerably different from what I think is normal and correct.

If I can successfully do that, I might be able to get the humor flowing again.

Humor doesn’t need to be about talking funny or slapstick. It can also be about characters acting in ways that make you say WTF? Now that I’ve come to this revelation I can move on with the project. Hopefully it is a revelation and not me fooling myself.

The results of this change of mindset will reveal itself shortly.

Personal Update

NaNoWriMo is over for another year and I am happy to say I hit my 50,000 words. I now have another book in my “Mik Murdoch” series (which I’ll be editing in the new year). Now that NaNo is over, I’m going to spend some time entering a few contests.

The first contest I’m going to enter is a flash fiction contest at Absolute Xpress (http://absolute-x-press.com/flash-fiction-challenge/). I’m also going to enter “Mik Murdoch, Boy Superhero” in a YA Novel contest that I’ve heard about (I’ve got to do some more investigation on that one).

I’ve also got the writing project (mentioned above) to work on. I’m going to be recording the first, teaser episode for that in the next couple weeks. I will put it into my “Get Published” feed. I’ve also got two episodes of “Get Published” to record and produce for December.

It’s going to be busy.



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