Creating a laugh

I have always preferred writing that brings out a smile or even provokes a laugh or two. This is why my favorite authors are the humorists, Sir Terry Pratchett being at the pinnacle of that heap. Editors may not believe it, and I think that is how they think because the number of depressing authors far outnumber the humorists, but it takes far more talent as a storyteller to create a laugh than it does to invoke a tear.

An important point to consider though is the quality of the humor. It is all too easy, especially with the sort of laughs Hollywood goes for these days. Situation is far more difficult to write successfully than the cheap scatological reference and even more difficult than descending into the gutter of profanity. Yes, I have also read those critics who have managed to convince themselves that adult writing requires what is called adult language. I have also rejected their premise utterly since the market has also proven not only that less is more but forcing profanity into a manuscript just to create shock value cheapens the work rather than improving it. Some may disagree, but this is my blog. write your own if you think differently.

Here is an example of a funny scene out of the second volume in The Milward Chronicles:

Jerrold leaned on his halberd and listened to the clamor coming from inside the city on the other side of the gate. “No one allowed in or out?” He called over to his partner in the outside duty.

            “Them’s the orders.” His partner spat a bit of the weed he was chewing off to the side. “No one in or out, no matter what.”

            “The Sarge say why?” Jerrold shifted his weight to the other foot.

            “Naw,” Another spit, “just said to keep an eye out, an’ skewer anythin’ that tries ta climb the wall.”

            Jerrold considered, “I ain’t never skewered anythin’ afore.”

            His partner spat again. “Ain’t nuthin’ to it, ya just shove.” He demonstrated with his halberd. “Want some chew?” He held out the pouch to Jerrold.

            Jerrold shook his head. “No thanks, makes me see things that ain’t there.”

            His partner was impressed. “No kiddin’? All’s I ever gits issa nice buzz. What kinna things ya see?” Sput!

            “There’s a woman ridin’ a Dragon!”

            “Wow, wish I could see stuff like that. Like I said, all’s I ever gits issa nice…”

            “There’s a…flickin’…woman…ridin’ a flickin’ Dragon! Right…flickin’…there!”

            The weed chewer looked up and his eyes bugged. He took out his stash and looked at the bag. “Good stuff,” he murmured.

If you look closely at the blocking of the scene you will see similarities with that used in The Big Bang Theory. No, I did not copy them. This scene was written five years before the show aired.



About robertleebeers

Author, Illustrator, Artist, Musician, and (sorry) politician.
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