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  1. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Comedy Funny writers

    Discussion in 'By the Genre' started by deadrats, Apr 17, 2018.

    Are you a funny writer? Do funny writers know they're funny? My lover doesn't seem to think I'm as funny as I do. Maybe my lover just doesn't get it. Maybe all the places that reject me don't get it. I don't think I can just stop trying to be a funny writer. I mean I do write serious at times, but it feels harder than when I'm typing away and cracking myself up. How do you know if the humor in your writing is working? And how many of you have humor in your writing?
     
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  2. Night Herald

    Night Herald Seeker after nothing Supporter Contributor

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    I don't know if I'm all that funny, and whether or not I'll try to be depends entirely on the story. I'm writing a novel that's just crammed with jokes and fun banter, or at least with attempts at such. In that, I'm probably funny at least once, if only because of sheer statistics.
     
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  3. Dracon

    Dracon Contributor Contributor

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    If you're trying too hard to be funny in your writing, that is when it usually becomes unfunny. And unless you're specifically writing a comedy, then I don't think it's a good idea to fill with lots of jokes if you want it to be taken seriously. If that's your audience, then fair enough, but if people are reading and have certain expectations about your novel (e.g., plot to be progressing, characters to be proactive), then it can be quite tiresome if all they're doing is cracking jokes. Because although you might be having the time of your life, your readers just want to get on with reading the story.

    I do have humour, but it sort of just happens really. I'm not specifically looking to put humour in, but sometimes the characters just have that natural rapport. But forcing jokes, or orienting your scenes just so you can get that laugh in... I think that sort of humour is pulled off less successfully.
     
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  4. BayView

    BayView Huh. Interesting. Contributor

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    I don't think I'm a very funny person (well, I think I'm hilarious, but I've learned that others rarely agree) and I don't deliberately write humour. But sometimes my characters say funny things... just 'cause sometimes people say funny things.

    And I think you can tell if your humour works in pretty much the same way you can tell if your writing in general works: get reader reactions, either from reviews or from betas.
     
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  5. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    I use a fair amount of sarcastic and/or teasing humor in my dialogue, as that's the dynamic I have with most of my family, friends and co-workers and it flows more naturally for me. I haven't had any feedback from readers, betas or editors that my humor falls flat when I use it, so I'm going to assume it works well for most.
     
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2018
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  6. xanadu

    xanadu Contributor Contributor

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    I tend toward humor for short stories, especially since I usually only write shorts for the contests here and like to try to go against the expectations for certain prompts (the darker and edgier the prompt, the more likely I'll go for dumb humor).

    For my novels, I like having a good mix of comedy and drama. Honestly, I really can't stand things that take themselves too seriously, be they plots, characters, worldbuilding, or what-have-you. Grimdark doesn't interest me in the slightest. My novels tend to be either lighthearted slice-of-life or lighthearted urban fantasy (in the case of my most recent WIP) that get serious when the plot demands. But I can't write without humor.
     
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  7. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    You seem smart and reasonable, so it’s highly likely that if you find it funny, other people will as well.

    I don’t think most Robin Williams or Jim Carrey movies are funny, but I watch comedy all the time. People can love comedy but not have a taste for very funny people.

    Besides, a successful traditionally published book might sell like 5000 copies, meaning no two people who read it will ever bump into one another. Just goes to show how diverse taste can be. People want so many different things.

    So my point is if you’re writing from the heart, getting better, and making yourself laugh, you are probably functioning near 100% and should stay the course.

    Eventually you’ll find your audience.
     
  8. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    i just bought a book on comedic writing and want to give it a try soon. The two books I’ve finished have gotten most of the serious stuff out of my head. It would be great to learn to do it.
     
  9. matwoolf

    matwoolf Banned Contributor

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    If, in a a relationship, when the woman asks the man - 'Am I funny?'

    And if he says, 'No.'

    Then he's an ass - or mean, or he's being mean.

    ...

    Same goes if a man asks the question. I think so. It's unkind. Not quite the same as 'Can I sing?'

    ...

    'Is my writing funny?'

    'Not really. I have to concentrate [snort, honk].'
     
  10. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    Your posts remind me of Pastoralia by George Saunders.
     
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  11. Mckk

    Mckk Member Supporter Contributor

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    I don't consider myself a funny person, nor one who can tell good jokes - whenever I actually try, my jokes fall flat. But if I just went about like my natural self, people around me laugh all the time. I just hope it isn't at me.

    But seriously. There was once I spent 20min telling a group of international friends a joke - and these are people from all over the world, Brit, Bolivian, Indian, German etc. When I finally came to the punchline, I stopped and said, "Actually, you need to know Cantonese to understand the joke." The funny part is that it was a genuine mistake lol. But I did get my laughs!

    A friend has been telling me that I have "comedic timing." I have no idea what she's talking about.
     
  12. Siena

    Siena Senior Member

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    Try some stand up. All your questions will be answered.
     
  13. Indigo Abbie

    Indigo Abbie Member

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    I consider myself a funny person, most of the people in my family have great senses of humor and we all have our own distinct flair so it's innate. Much like myself, I try not to push characters to be funny. Smoothing over my own socially awkward moments using self-deprecating jokes or sarcasm is the greatest. My best humor comes in the form of an immediate response to stuff other people say. So for certain characters if I see an opening and if the scene allows for one, I'll toss in a quip and hope it holds up.
     
  14. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    I like your method. If I make endless attempts to be funny, I'm bound to hit my mark at least once. :)
     
  15. deadrats

    deadrats Contributor Contributor

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    Jokes aren't the only way to be funny. And there are plenty of funny writers who are taken seriously. Being funny doesn't mess up the basic idea or principles of a story. I don't think readers ever want to just get on with the story. I don't think that when I'm reading. I want fame, fortune and laughter. I think that combination could really work for me.
     
  16. Night Herald

    Night Herald Seeker after nothing Supporter Contributor

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    Actually, that was not advice. That was straight up a confession. That was me seeking absolution for my godless conduct. No. Do not do this thing.

    ETA: Allow me to be borderline serious for a moment. Because I can do that too, equally poorly.
    I don't actually, as such, aim to make my stuff funny in any orchestrated way. The work I'm referring to is something of an exception, and I let it be that way because it was always going to be, essetially, a farce. And it is fine for it to be that. For this particular story, that's kind of core to the concept.

    Even there, I don't try to force funny where funny is not and should not be. Except sometimes I do exactly that, so what am I even saying? Occasionally, the best humor is found where it doesn't strictly speaking belong. I guess.

    Really, I just try to give whatever is on the page as humorous a slant as possible, if it's that kind of story. It's not so much about being funny as establishing a certain tone, I think. Funny just sort of rises naturally from that, or doesn't.
     
    Last edited: Apr 18, 2018
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  17. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll It's Coffee O'clock everywhere. Contributor

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    Humor is subjective, much like the truth. It is either accepted or is not.
    There is no universal, or one size fits all when you come down to it.

    I know my idea of humor is an acquired taste, and if you don't like it
    then I curse you to being tickled to submission by 100 gimps with
    feather dusters and maids outfits (French of course). :p

    On the cereal, even my MCs have their own distinct humor that I don't
    find funny, but it may or may not be lost on the reader. I think it really
    falls down to what type of humor and how it works within the piece.
     
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  18. Mink

    Mink Contributor Contributor

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    This.

    I think I'm a miserable writer when it comes to humor and I don't think my characters say anything remotely funny, but, apparently, I have the ability have humorous moments. I'm not trying to write comedy, though. People can just be spontaneously funny.

    I think that you know you're funny by other people's reactions, but it depends on the person's sense of humor.
     
  19. 123456789

    123456789 Contributor Contributor

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    Sarcasm, not to be confused with satire or irony, is the cheapest tool in the humor toolbox, and it's almost never funny.
     
  20. DeusXMachina

    DeusXMachina Member

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    I don't think I'm especially funny (apart from self-irony as a survival mechanism), but my characters are hilarious,l at least sometimes and situationally. Especially when two or more with the right attitude come together. I love their banter.
     
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  21. JLT

    JLT Contributor Contributor

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    You know, I was watching some of those Twilight Zone episodes the other day and realized that, while Rod Serling had a great imagination, he couldn't write a joke for sour apples. I am in awe of people like Dave Barry or Stephen Colbert, for whom the jokes seem to flow so easily.

    And Kurt Vonnegut could write about screamingly funny situations without telling an actual joke at all.

    As for me, I have been known to tell a joke from time to time*, and write things that put a smile on people's faces. But writing jokes is beyond my poor talents.

    *When some friends of mine were in Carmel the other month, they came across a panhandler with a novel gimmick -- instead of begging for money, he told jokes for money ... twenty-five cents a joke. My friends gave him a quarter and this is what they got:

    "Why didn't the lifeguard save the hippie?"
    "Because he was too far out, man."

    I couldn't write a joke like that to save my life, but I have no qualms about telling it.
     
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  22. awkwarddragon

    awkwarddragon Member

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    I think humor, like all things, is subjective. Whether or not the humor works in one's writing, well, the jury's still out on that. In this case, the audience.
     
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  23. GlitterRain7

    GlitterRain7 Galaxy Girl Contributor

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    I don't think I'm a particularly funny person, so I'd say my writing reflects that.
     
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  24. rincewind31

    rincewind31 Active Member

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    I only wrote comedy so if i'm not funny i'm pretty well fooked. I only write what I think is funny though. If i don't think it is I'm dam sure nobody else will.
     
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  25. KevinMcCormack

    KevinMcCormack Senior Member

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    Stand up and improv, for somebody interested in immediate feedback and craft development through trial by fire.

    A less flopsweatty exercise would be to practice write a fanfiction-style episode of a favourite sitcom, or create your own sitcom. You're looking for a laugh a minute with those.

    I don't think humour needs to restricted to "specifically writing a comedy" - humour is just a tool on the writer's toolbelt, and can build contrast against darker passages. I have gallows humour in a couple of my stories as character development.
     
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