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Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Komedy Rules

Humor. 'Tis the lifeblood of society because without it the economy would cause an eruption of epic teary proportion. We laugh until it hurts so the actual 'it' doesn't hurt anymore.

I've read hundreds of books & articles, all of which talk about the comedic relief character, sarcasm as cope mechanism & even one that said women are not sarcastic on paper. Now, I don't know about any of ya'll; but, I'm a female with a facetious bent. And no subject is sacrosanct - myself included.

In my weekend perusal, I plucked another WD article. This one from Leigh Anne Jasheway. The topic is non-fiction funny, but I think it can be applied to fiction as well. Subtle ain't my middle name, but it is my unequivocal belief that the 'rules' she gives can be applied to all types of writ.

"K?" "K." - Guttural sounds such as 'k' & hard 'g' denote a funny all their own. Garagantuan, gorill-ll-ll-ll-a, kismet, character - as stand alone words, maybe not so much. But they can be played with. This is a subtle way to introduce humor without a banner to scream - "Hey, this is the punch line!!!! Get it???"

Triads - The power of three. As a general rule, people remember the first & last things they hear. When I did employee evaluations, I sandwiched the negative inside two positives. This made the process a little less hair teasing for me. The key here is to pair 2 congruent items & then throw a curve ball - 'coffee, tea or me.'

Compare Me - "Yes, officer, I could have used my turn signal. But, then the traffic cam would have known my intention. I couldn't risk that kind of exposure to 'Big Brother.'" Okay, not my finest, but it does the trick. This is the same metaphorical trip writers take everyday - the simple, the complex & the surprising. Take a metaphor, pass it around & she never comes back with the same dress you sent her out in - mix it up & you might find a bit of the funny stone in there.

Cliché It Ain't So - How many times have we read, don't do it? More times than Larry King's been married I'd say. But, you can take the mundanities of the English language & spin them like a top-knot. You know the old adage, "It's not the destination but the journey,"; well, flip that puppy, pet its belly & then spit on it. "When your destination is the 'Bates Motel', who cares about the freakin' journey?" 

What's your story? - Real life is funny. It is the water cooler fodder for which we all live, especially when it happens to someone else. Of course, we jazz it up, sass it up, way up. So, this one time at... the grocery store.... Take it away, Gil. Because, let's face it, I'm tone deaf & band camp would have been clishay.

We all have a bit of the funny in us. And, peppering the tale with it provides tension breaks, stinging cakes & whittle sticks.
Happy Writing,



  1. Thanks for the tips on humor. :D It can be hard to pull off in writing.

  2. Golden,
    You're welcome & so right. As in all things, humor is subjective. Thanks for the comment.