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Comedic Writing

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  • #147327
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Does anyone write clean comedy into their works anymore?  I need recommendations and some help.

    Whew! The last two years have been… (behemoth understatement) rough!

    I want to hear from you guys.  I need to find some comedic inspiration.  To know how you weave humor into your stories.  Mine needs some.

    I have a tendency to write tense scenes and I need to be able to break that cadence up with some genuine humor.  I don’t mean snarkiness or snide belittling remarks, but something that is laugh-out-loud funny.

    There is so much bad news in life, I think it is important that we include a little levity in our works to break up the tension.  Philippians 4:8 tells us to pursue a mindset that seeks the positive things out, which does not imply ignoring the evil done under the sun, but balancing our thinking with things of good report.

    Humor is a release of tension, and I feel we need some of that.

    Would any of you be willing to share a book title of something funny you have read, or a passage in something you wrote that you found comical?  No judgment here.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #147329
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Hey Brian!! Good to see you around!

    Whew! The last two years have been… (behemoth understatement) rough!

    I’m sorry to hear that. Whether you mean in everyday life or with writing (I’m sure it’s both) I hope 2022 gives you a better time! I think we could all use a break. Or at least some comic to relieve the tension.

    Luckily for you, I am a very funny person. (Not trying to brag, but it’s true 😉 ) I have been blessed with a great sense of humor which I am very grateful for. People often come to me when seeking comic relief.

    I have (sadly) only read one book that has ever made laugh out loud for a moment and it was from a total young teenage horse girl series so I’m not going to necessarily recommend it to you XD

    However, what happened in the scene was the girl got so embarrassed by being caught talking to her horse like it was a human which made me laugh so hard.

    I’ve written some comedy into my own stories. It isn’t necessarily easy to do that, but it is possible. One of the scenes I wrote that I’ve been told by many people made them laugh was a scene with my pirates. These pirates are obsessed with tracking down this treasure that they think belongs to some mermaids. Because of this, every evening they go to the beach where they believe the mermaids come up to during the day and search until they find some mermaid treasure that may have been left behind. Some of these pirates aren’t all quite there in the head which makes one scene quite funny. They have all laid their “treasures” on a table and the caption was inspecting it. He then picks up an object and asks the pirate it belonged to why he had brought it.

    “I thought maybe the mermaids had left it behind. It looked valuable” he responded.

    “It’s an old boot!” The caption said.

    “Aye, but it could be a mermaid boot”

    “Mermaids have tails, you fool! They don’t wear boots!”

    “Oh, I guess you’re right about that…”

    I honestly didn’t think that scene was worth much, but everyone who read it said it made them laugh.

    Another thing that’ll make anything funny is *sigh* I gotta say it, dad jokes. If you have characters constantly spitting those out, you can make anyone laugh. There’s a new movie out called Jungle Cruise and one character does that. The movie was a total disappointment but because of his dad jokes the first five minutes was great. (He stopped with the jokes after that)

    You also have to keep in mind that different people find different things funny. One of my close friends thinks puns are hilarious while I am more likely to crack up at cheesy jokes or a reference to something. Then you also have Clown Humor (totally making that phrase up) where actions are funnier than words. You also can’t forget the Crude Humor where someone with bad gas is the funny one.

    I’m sorry that was so long, but I hope it was helpful. I shall dismiss myself on this note….

    What’s brown and sticky?

    ….

    A stick

    Bu dum tsss

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #147332
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Hey Brian, nice to see you around again. Hope 2022 will be an easier year for you 🙂

    Would any of you be willing to share a book title of something funny you have read, or a passage in something you wrote that you found comical?

    So, I do my best to be funny in my writing, and there are several comedic techniques I like using.

    I wouldn’t say I’m “laugh out loud” funny but I am at least “snorts in amusement” funny, which is quite a lot already.

    This will be a rather clinical covering of comedy in writing more than recommending something funny, but I bet there are other people who can do that. 🙂

    So, the key to comedy tends to be relatability and subversion of expectations. A joke has to be at least slightly unexpected to be funny, whether in actual content, which character makes the joke, or the timing.

    As for relatability, that doesn’t mean it needs to be a cliche joke like “why did the chicken cross the road”, it means there needs to be some element of familiarity in it.

    Even if the joke is about something completely unfamiliar, people can relate to having stupid conversations with their friends, or making a terrible joke just to see everyone cringe, or trying to lighten the tension with some remark that isn’t even especially funny.

    Banter

    I don’t mean snarkiness or snide belittling remarks, but something that is laugh-out-loud funny.

    So, you kind of mentioned this isn’t what you’re looking for but it’s still worth mentioning. I love it to bits, it’s one of my favorite parts of writing dialogue. Not every remark needs to turn into banter, serious conversations are important too, but there’s nothing I love more than characters teasing each other.

    It can also set up tension if the characters don’t particularly like each other and it turns into bitter insults instead of friendly teasing.

    This is particularly effective because it sets up relationships between the characters and you can slip actual necessary information in between while also amusing your reader.

    Comic drop

    Another good one. It’s completely about subversion of expectations.

    Often it will mean you set up something to be very serious or grave and then it turns out to be completely unfounded. (Or the alternative, but that’s less common)

    An example from my own writing is when the main characters go in search of a group of rebels/spies and when they actually get there they find them arguing about some extremely stupid thing I have not yet decided on. (It might be whether birds have knees, you get what I mean)

    I’ll spend time setting up how the main characters expect them to be dangerous and well-organized and that they’re actually kind of scared of them and then they get there and they’re basically a bunch of teenagers.

    This one needs a serious caveat. Do not, do not, use this during a moment you actually want to be serious or epic. It will completely ruin both the comedy and the scene. Just, don’t.

    If I were to try to use the previous scenario, but after the drop I tried to set up the spies as dangerous and intimidating and the lot it would lose all of the effect. The point is that the main characters’ perceptions have set up a certain expectation that turns out to be false.

    Inside joke

    A really excellent trope but much harder to set up. It takes time and effort. It’s when characters have some kind of inside joke with each other about some event that previously happened in the books and they keep calling back to it. It can be amazing when used well because it makes the reader feel like they’re part of the joke, but it takes effort to set up.

    Narrative humor

    This one is harder to describe, but can be very effective. It’s essentially when the narrator (whether a pov character or an external narrator) has opinions about events that are happening.

    (Or alternatively just describing things in an amusing way.)

    It’s funniest when it contradicts whatever the characters are doing. For example, the classic:

    “I’m fine!” He was not fine.

    Or when characters indulge in a long, dramatic tirade about some very minor inconvenience without showing anything externally.

    This was often used in “The sweetness at the bottom of the pie”. The main character has an extensive vocabulary and extensive opinions but seldom voices them out loud, so the narration often includes vehement tirades against very specific if irrelevant matters.

    An example I remember almost verbatim is:

    “I hated Mrs. Mullet’s seed biscuits the way Saint Paul hated sin. Perhaps even more so. I wanted to clamber up onto the table, and with a sausage on the end of a fork as my scepter, and shout in my best Laurence Olivier voice, “Will no one rid us of this turbulent pastry cook?”

    As Erynne mentioned, senses of humor differ and you’ll never manage to amuse everyone, but if you have a variety of jokes you will probably have at least something.

    As you keep writing, you will find it coming easier. It takes practice but before long it will naturally seep into your writing.

    I’ve often seen with authors who essentially make humor their trademark that they start really forcing it in later books, as though humor is the only reason people are reading. So, humor is great, but never at the cost of tension or character 🙂

    I hope this was at least somewhat helpful!


    @erynne

    However, what happened in the scene was the girl got so embarrassed by being caught talking to her horse like it was a human which made me laugh so hard.

    Psst, I can confirm that literally everyone does this. Whenever I’m at the stable you can hear others having literal conversations with their horses. It’s hilarious to listen in.

    Without darkness, there is no light. If there was no nighttime, would the stars be as bright?

    #147338
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Psst, I can confirm that literally everyone does this. Whenever I’m at the stable you can hear others having literal conversations with their horses. It’s hilarious to listen in.

    Heyyy another horse girl! Yeah, I do it too (except it isn’t my horses, it’s my neighbor’s NEIGGHH-bor’s”) I’m sure it’s hilarious!

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #147358
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    Heyyy another horse girl! Yeah, I do it too (except it isn’t my horses, it’s my neighbor’s NEIGGHH-bor’s”) I’m sure it’s hilarious!

    That’s so bad you’re leaving me horse 😉   (yes. my siblings hate my puns…XD) I don’t have a horse I talk to my dog like he’s a person, but nobody should listen in while I’m have a conversation with my dog; we’re talking about some really deep stuff, like really deep stuff.

    Like how he digs his dogbone like ten feet in the ground 😀

    So, I pretty much have nothing to add to this topic except bad puns (:

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    #147361
    Noah Cochran
    @noah-cochran

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Hey brother, I’ve got one word for you: Banter

    Other than that, I love having a character who is always up to shenanigans, or is flippant in behavior. Juxtapose this character’s facetious mind or actions with a serious situation, and humor abounds.

    #147431
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    Thank you all for your very kind and helpful suggestions.  Sorry I had to drop off for a bit.  I appreciate you guys and gals!

    Since I lost my mom in 2021, it has been hard for me to continue writing while grieving.  Getting clarity is hard sometimes and it is easy to drift off into negative emotions and the general distress of the world driven by fear, violence, and sickness.  It is in these moments that holding to God’s certain and unchanging truths becomes so crucial to be able to cope.  I noticed that my bookshelves are stocked with many novels that have very little if any comedic and light-hearted subjects. I looked through the Forum post and sadly could not find any writing topics that dealt with Comedy.  I realized that in response to Philippians 4:8, I needed to find more of the healing release that God gives us in the form of laughter.  We live in challenging times prophetically, but as writers, we know that God is still in control even when it looks like all things that bring us comfort in life are stripped away.  I looked online in Christian and secular bookstores and could not find any humor written in the last two years from Christian sources, and I think we need to realize that gap in the market is where God can also use our gifts and talents to meet a need for people who only see the darkness around them.

    In verse 12, of Philippians 4, Paul continues to assert that he found that joy and contentment, need not be determined by the external circumstances around us, but it finds strength (v.13) and certainty in the contentment that God brings in the midst of storms, and loss.

    I realized that that need for unshakeable optimism must be anchored in the certitude of God’s sovereignty and His good intentions towards us.  It is easy to become distracted from that.  I struggle against those distractions every day.  But God does not want us to lose our joy.  He wants us to experience His peace that passes understanding (vs. 7) because it persists in situations and through trials where it is not understandable to the outside world to have peace.  When we truly experience joy in moments of trial that demonstrates a powerful testimony to those needing hope what that might look like.  I am not saying we laugh off the tragedy, far from it.  But that we catch a glimpse of those truths that God promises that bring us a kind of joy into our moments of trial.  Because we know we are never abandoned in those journeys through darkness, we are more equipped to survive the passage.  It strikes me that if we write a “faith-holding” character facing trials, we cannot just leave them to respond to it as the typical world does.  We have to infuse an element of faith that comes to them when they stumble.  A ray of hope that shines to them, when they cry out and feel the loss, or disorientation.

    Can we find humor again in 2022?  Can we look beyond the darkness to find joy?  I hope so.  And I choose to believe that. He promised He will never leave us or forsake us.  I need His help and am grateful for each of your help to allow me to laugh again. <3 <3

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #147432
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    I’m sorry to hear about your mom, Brian. It’s hard losing a parent, I know, but it will get easier as time passes. After a while the pain fades away and you focus more on the good moments you had with her. Is there a memory you have of her that makes you laugh?

    I agree that 2022 needs to be the year for comedy! All of my examples were based off characters I have seen in books, but none of them are hilarious. We need moments where we set the book down because we’re laughing too hard. That would be a wonderful book.

    I got fired from the calendar factory.
    Just for taking a day off….

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #147435
    Noah Cochran
    @noah-cochran

    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    We live in challenging times prophetically, but as writers, we know that God is still in control even when it looks like all things that bring us comfort in life are stripped away.

    Amen.

    There will always be those claiming that times are worse than ever or that the end of the world is coming, but when one studies history and sees the depravity of man and prevalence of death throughout time, one will see that today’s times aren’t actually that bad, and that there is nothing new under the sun.


    @erynne

    I got fired from the calendar factory.
    Just for taking a day off….

    That wasn’t half bad.

    #147441
    Erynne
    @erynne

    @noah-cochran

    Why thank you

    What do you say to your sister when she’s crying?
    “Are you having a crisis?”

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #147530
    Brian Stansell
    @obrian-of-the-surface-world

    I do tend to “pun-tificate” from tome to tome…

    Okay…that was bad.

    I once saw a guy stuffing a lion and a witch into a wardrobe.
    I asked him what he was doing.

    What did he say?

    Move along, kid. This is Narnia business.

    Brian Stansell (aka O'Brian of the Surface World)
    I was born in war.
    Fighting from my first breath.

    #147611
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    simba was going too slow so I told him to musfasa 🙂

    OH!!!! I invented a word: plagiarism 😎👍

    If somebody ever asks you what procrastination means say “lemmie get back to you on that”

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    #147612
    Cathy
    @this-is-not-an-alien

    what did the sea say to the other sea?

    nothing they just waved 🙂

    did you sea what I did there?

    I’m shore you did 😀

    To be a light to the world you must shine in the darkness.

    #147646
    Erynne
    @erynne

    I can’t believe someone broke into my house and stole all of my fruit…I’m peachless!

    Be weird. Be random. Be who you are. Because you ever know who would love the person you hide.

    #147669
    Valkyrie Falk
    @valkyrie-falk

    A good book series to read for humor is The Wingfeather Saga! It’s full of really good humor. Like Eggypigheamers and stog. Long story.

    I also write a lot of humor. It’s not that good, but it is kind of funny. Here’s a short scene that I wrote with two spy characters.

    I sped off in search of this Patch fellow. I found someone I didn’t recognize in the basement playing ping pong with the wall since he was all alone.

    “Hey,” I said.

    “Hya!” He shouted, spun around, and hit the ping pong ball towards me with such force it almost knocked me over.

    “What was that for?” I asked.

    “Do you work for Mr. Boss Man?” He asked.

    “…yes… don’t you?”

    “I suppose.” he turned back to his game.

    “Um, what’s your name?” I asked.

    “I was told never to talk to strangers,” he replied.

    “How old are you?” I asked.

    “If you didn’t know this already, you qualify as a stranger,” he stated.

     

    That one can be taken two ways, either one is fine.

    Also, I have a character that has two sons and he says “I’m glad God gave me two knees so I can spank you both at the same time!” (I got this quote from my dad.)

    This one is also kind of silly. The main character is a shapeshifter and can shapeshift others too.

    I sighed and patted his back. “Just don’t do it again or I’ll turn you into a goat for a day.” I joked as I sat on the window sill, ready to go.

    Gilbert locked eyes with me. “Oh, please don’t do that!”

    “Then behave. See ya,” I flipped out the window.

     

    Heywire is the best kind of wire.

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