1. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Horror Funny Comedy / Scary Horror

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by Marcelo, May 13, 2009.

    Hey, I've thought of these for quite a few days... is there a specific way or any tips to make comedy actually be funny and horror to actually make the reader experience fear? How do you think this is done, or what are your suggestions? All the POVs will be appreciated, as they will make a general idea for everyone. :D
     
  2. Pliny
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    Pliny Member

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    For comedy, see anything by Douglas Adams. You need exceptional wit, I think, to make a consistently funny comedy.

    I've never been frightened by words, so I can't comment therein.
     
  3. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Ew at Douglas Adams....Hitchhiker's guide was good, but he's not consistently funny (ie in his other books). I think Terry Pratchett is funnier. But Adam Davies and Bret Easton Ellis are much, much funnier than him.
    But you're rigt of course about a sharp wit, an eye for detail, timing (yes, even in writing) and a lot of other things that a funny author could probably point out but I can't.

    As for horror, for me its all about tension. Great description to be sure, but you could describe the most terrifying thing ever and then ruin it if there's no tension in the plot. Misery and The Shining by Steven King are great examples of really tense, psychological horror stories, not that I'm a big fan of him in general.
     
  4. Pliny
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    Pliny Member

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    Aw, come on... perhaps his other stuff wasn't as funny, but it's still a level of wit and humor toward which any self-respecting comedy author would strive.
     
  5. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I guesssssssss but yeah, im not a fan haha
     
  6. Dalouise
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    Dalouise Contributing Member

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    Comedy is a highly personal thing, so what is funny to some will fall flat with others. I think you need to develop your own style, a bit like a stand-up comedian, and go for it.
    As far as frightening people goes, similar thing. I agree about some of the Stephen King novels, although I am not a fan myself, and I don't think this can be "taught" as such. Read a lot of similar material and analyse WHY you find it builds tension then you might pick up some pointers.
     
  7. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Humor is one of the most difficult forms to write successully. As Dalouise said, it is very subjective, so no matter what you write, some people will shrug and see no humor in it.

    Humor requires some subtlety, but not so much subtlety that it flies over the readers' heads. Going over the top with absurdity nearly always falls flat.

    Horror is very similar in that regard. You want to tap into your readers' deeply buried fears and coax them to the surface, but not everyone has the same fears. Also, if you go after the same fears as every scary movie or book the public is drooling over, you'll find your readers becoming jaded to those fears.

    Lots of gore doesn't make horror. More often it makes horrible. Go instead for the slow buildup of anxiety. Get the reader identifying with the character, and make the character uneasy, and unsure of what is real and what is imagination. It's not a movie - you can't grab the reader with a sudden in-your-face loud noise and shrieking, leering monster face. Instead you have to chew your way under his or her skin and into the brain, the parasite of terror that can't be removed or killed, but keeps growing until it takes over the reader's nightmares.
     
  8. Majesty Apollo
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    Majesty Apollo Member

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    As far as horror goes I'd definitely recommend what has already been stated; Stephen King. Even if you're not a fan of him, the only time I've ever been scared by a book was when I read The Shining. It's all about atmosphere and tension, and as Cogito said, identifying with the character!
     
  9. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    I agree, humor is a personal thing. You simply cannot be funny to everyone. I have my sense of humor and I use it a lot in my writing, and some might enjoy it but I guarantee that at least 70%+ of the people who mind end up reading my work probably won't get it. How do I know? Because 70% of the people I meet in real life don't get my humor either, lol. But it's okay, I mean my book isn't a comedy book, it's just a story, people can take whatever they want from it.

    It makes me think of that movie Napolean Dynamite.. I laughed my ass off throughout the entire movie, yet I have shown it to friends who sat there blank faced the entire time and thought it was a worthless film. Everyone is different.

    Just write what makes you laugh and there will be a crowd out there that it appeals to. Of course, it also depends on if you are writing with the intention of truly expressing yourself honestly, or if you are attempting to write something to appeal to a certain audience. (or both)

    As for scary.. that is also subjective. But I do think there are certain scenerios or ideas that kind of tap into general fears held in the collective consciousness.. such as being in the dark and knowing there is something lurking in the dark with you but not knowing what/where.. I'm no expert though, I've never written any horror, although I'd love to try it one day.

    I've also never been scared by a book. :( Or a movie really. I wish things could effect me more but I'm pretty desensitized.
     
  10. architectus
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    architectus Banned

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    I think IT is better than The Shinning when it comes to atmosphere, but both are too slow.

    A well paced horror is House by Frank Peretti; Ted Dekker
     
  11. wildthing
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    I agree with the statements made by starseed. Horror is best when it portrays something that really scares someone, i.e. spiders or death. I have written some short horror stories (none published hehe) and I got to say, its my favorite genre to write. I love the freedom you have when discussing something like horror and terror. Thats just my thoughts on this.
     
  12. BlackBear
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    BlackBear New Member

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    Daniel pinkwater is hilarious, but only go to his writing if you are lookin' for some wierdo funny-ness.
     
  13. Marcelo
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    Marcelo Contributing Member

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    Haha, I agree with you starseed. Sometimes when I joke only a few get to laugh. When I showed them the Charlie the Unicorn videos on youtube (which are so random they make you laugh) only two friends from like eight actually liked them. :redface::redface:
     
  14. starseed
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    starseed Contributing Member

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    ^Haha I didn't know what Charlie and the Unicorn was so I looked it up and lol, I thought it was funny. Guess I'm a weirdo. Why am I not surprised? ;) Haha actually now that I watch more of it I don't know whether to LOL or be afraid. lolol :D
     
  15. Yitz
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    Eddie Izzard is perhaps my favorite comedian. He's an absolute genius, and he uses it well.
    For writing funny, the person who taps the subtle aspect of humor for me is
    Peter Hathaway Capstick. Now I realize that he wrote about Africa, and a myriad of hair-raising hunting tales (some of which you could probably take some horror tips from), but he truly mastered the art of subtle and clever humor--at least from my perspective.
     
  16. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Please keep this thread on topic. The question is not about WHO writes good comedy or horror, but HOW to evoke the intended feelings in the reader. Examples are fine, but please indicate HOW their example can benefit the aspiring writer.
     
  17. Castlesofsand
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    Castlesofsand Banned

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    comedy is as mentioned, an individual's taste as horror is.

    to me, writing horror isn't so much about creatures and monsters but rather what dwells in the fear behind the eyes, playing with nightmares. you have to go inside the m.c.'s head and show that lil bit of unexpected. with so many hollywood movies and education of what can and cannot be, it makes both harder to do.

    sometimes the reasons we are looking for, don't need to be there, and that's the true horror, just to kill without reason.
     

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