1. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    How do you feel about implementing comedy in a book?

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Inspired writer, Jan 26, 2012.

    There is the chance the readers won't understand or bore from your sense of humour.
     
  2. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    As long as the writer can pull it off then it's fine.

    I'm frequently told that humour (and dialogue in general) is one of my strong points so I don't worry about things like this. If someone doesn't like my sense of humour then they can go and read someone else's work instead. I'm not going to change my style just to please people.
     
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  3. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    Good point. Well made. I'm just unsure many readers will get my sense of humour but I guess there's only one way on finding out. I'm planning on writing a script for a sitcom soon and just wondering whether it'll take.
     
  4. Balmarog
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    Balmarog Member

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    It can go either way. You can always try reading some books that use humor and see how your humor would compare to it. One of my favorite books, John Dies at the End, combines horror and comedy perfectly in my opinion... although my sense of humor closely mirrors the author's, so I might be a little biased.

    And ignoring that, there's an audience out there for everything, even if it's a small one, so write how you will and just have fun.
     
  5. Jared King
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    Jared King Member

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    Would the people who know you generally say you are funny person? If so, your humour should naturally come out in your writing as well. However, if the people you know don't usually get your sense of humour, then your readers might not either.
     
  6. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    Yeah well I hope others are into black humour cause I'm sure there's not much out there. There's a bigger call for satire. But then again, I guess satire is easy to write. Take an infectious protagonist and comfortable surroundings and there it is.
    Then again, perhaps, the protagonist could be portrayed as the straight part and the secondary characters are more larger-than-life. I'll see where it goes.
     
  7. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    My sense of humour can be a little outlandish at times. Some people can understand, well at least sympathise, where others, let's say, don't. Lol. Putting it bluntly.
     
  8. joanna
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    joanna Active Member

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    I don't like the idea of 'implementing' it; a story will be funny if the writer's voice is naturally witty. Contrived humor is not funny.

    Whatever your sense of humor is, likely some people will 'get it' and others won't. You can't please everyone.
     
  9. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    When it comes to writing humour just keep one thing in mind: if you feel you might need to explain it to the reader -- even if it's indirect, eg: another character explaining it for the protagonist -- for them to understand it then it just isn't going to work.

    When I write humour I don't over-think it. I don't even consciously think of making it funny. I can recognise when something is amusing as I write it but I don't intentionally set out to write it that way. Anything I'm unsure of I share snippets of with friends, without explaining anything, and wait to hear their reaction to it. Most of the time they'll say they smiled or giggled while reading it - more than once I've had people complain at me because they've literally LOL'd and had their relatives stare at them from across the room.
     
  10. jc.
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    jc. Contributing Member

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    I think an occasional dose of comedic relief is always good as long as it's appropriate and well executed.

    The MC in the current piece I'm working on has an unusual sense of humor--which I didn't plan--but the quirkiness kind of makes him more realistic, so it works.
     
  11. agentkirb
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    agentkirb Contributing Member

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    Well, do you mean writing a book that is nothing but jokes/comedy or a story that has it's own plot yet you decide to add comedy to lighten up the story a bit?

    The answer is yes to both. You can pull it off. The only thing you need to make sure of is that your joke is understandable in word form. You couldn't put any comedian's stand up act in a book and get the same result as you would on stage because you are missing the visual part of the act. But "written" comedy DOES have two advantages over it's spoken counterpart. 1) You can do more situational comedy in stories, because in a stand up act setting up the situation takes more time to do. In a story, the "situation" that you draw comedy from comes from is already there when you make the joke. 2) You can afford to take more chances with comedy when you have a plot/story to back it up. If they don't like your joke, well, it only took up a few sentences of your story so it's not a big deal. As long as the joke isn't so bad that it distracts from the story you can afford to "miss" on a joke with some people.

    If you are looking for an example of a book that does this well. Read the "Psych" series, based on the TV show on the USA channel. But both the story and the TV show have a lot of examples of doing exactly what you are talking about.
     
  12. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Not everyone can pull off humor in their writing. If you are one of those who can, sprinkle it in where it fits. It's good to lighten the mood in places. But be honest with yourself. If you aren't good at it, your attempts at humor will do more harm than good.
     
  13. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    true... if people you know don't always say that you're so funny you should be a comedian, you probably don't have what it takes to pull off humor in writing successfully...

    anyway, what do you mean by 'implementing'?
     
  14. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    I meant introducing humour to novels other than 'implementing'. Bad choice of words. I thought it might have been frowned upon if a majority of readers out there wouldn't find it amusing.
    Although, I was considering writing a sitcom for British television but I was having a few doubts.
    I was unsure on what kind of comedy is favourite at the moment or just go with my own kind of humour that, let's just say, is a little limited. Putting it mildly.
     
  15. Berber
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    Berber Active Member

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    I actually have to disagree with this comment. I've met several writers who effectively use comedy within their work, and they are not the slightest bit funny in real life. On the flip side of that coin, I've found that people who are over-the-top comedians in real life, tend to come across over-the-top in their writing.

    Good humor within writing takes a strong sense of comedy, knowing what will amuse your audience above and beyond slapstick humor and joke telling, and it also takes impeccable timing. Without either of those, you wont reach your readers the way you intend to.
     
  16. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    I usually resort to ironies with flat punch lines. Not like real punch lines, but a metaphorical type that only appears in contrast to the long winded, drawn out explanation, preceding it with a scene, scenario or setting, nudging the reader into a certain expectations until finally I let them know the truth of the situation. A single short sentence does the trick.
     
  17. Inspired writer
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    But if one was to target, in a light-hearted way, a stereotype of a specific group of somesort but used in a comical way without sounding prejudiced or too prejudiced to be more exact. Would that still be acceptable? I'm not talking about discriminating racial or sexual groups specifically etc but one's perception on a specific group. It's just a book I've read recently. There was a lot of labelling in it that was wrote specifically for comic purposes. Even though it was a good book, very witty in parts, personally I think parts may have been considered quite racy to some readers. But does anyone think that's acceptable for the market?
     
  18. GaleSkies
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    GaleSkies Active Member

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    So not developing a point of humor through "goth kids", the label for example, but instead what people think of "goth kids"? Whether you use labels or not, when I'm reading I get the most out of it if I can follow the train of thought, and like berber said, am interrupted with good timing. I doubt fully developing the consistency of "a group" in fairness and impartiality without the use of labels would be helpful toward either the timing or clarity of your intended humor. Maybe you could get away without using a label. Those decisions are the pleasure of being an author. Do I want to write "goth kid" or "the sober looking figure dressed in black with a twisted frown that seems to have been there since the day he turned 15"

    Try and find an example, because I don't think the market shuns the risque. I bet they eat it up. There is a lot of messed up stuff in literature. I know your not writing a comedy, per se, but I like to go to Nick Hornby for my giggles.
     
  19. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    That was a pretty good line, Gale skies. Very good stuff. I've got simular humour. But I still often worry I'm causing offence. It's especially worrying now. Now I'm planning on targeting a wider audience.
     
  20. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    if you're referring to writing a book, it won't matter what's a favorite now, because it'll be at the very least 2-3 years before the book is being sold and read, even if you're lucky enough to snag an agent and a publisher right off the bat...

    and anyway, the bottom line is you can't tell what's going to work and what isn't, until you write it...
     
  21. Inspired writer
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    Inspired writer Member

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    I was considering writing a sitcom. Outlandish idea I know.
     
  22. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Somehow, the phrasing of "implementing" or "introducing" humor makes me nervous - it makes it sound forced. If you have a natural humorous writing voice, then I'd be inclined to say that, yes, it's OK to _allow_ that humor to come out rather than suppressing it. If you don't have a naturally humorous voice, then I wouldn't suggest forcing one.
     
  23. stvn
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    stvn New Member

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    I am awful at comedy.
     
  24. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    not outlandish at all, since people are doing so every day... but not easy to do and even harder to get anyone in the industry to look at it...

    at least in the uk the latter is possible, while in the us, it's not... unless you are already working in the tv industry and/or have a good track record as a screenwriter and a good agent with good tv connections...

    good luck!
     

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