Various Aspects of Humor in Writing
The Prompt – Is humor an important element is your stories? Do you ever laugh at something you’ve written?
Are you kidding? I continually laugh at what I’ve written. Not that the content is so amusing. But the construction and execution? That shit’s hilarious.
Yes, humor is important. Mine is more along the lines of sardonic or ironic. I have a few bits where characters riff on the potential dangers of “squat” (hole in the floor) toilets, satirical bits where cultures collide and/or judging a book (person) by the cover moments, commentary from someone about an institution or a holy cow, one-liners. Otherwise, my best humor is relegated to potty mouth stand up. Take a trip to the urologist or proctologist, a comparison of vomit to certain foods as yet uneaten, the candy wrappers in dog poop from the candy you don’t remember buying (how to tell if your spouse has visitors). But rarely would I work any of that into a novel. Maybe there’s a short story series about a wannabe stand-up comedian’s fails. Been done? Of course…
Back to institutions and one liners, “I like my mice in underpants,” “Princess wrangler,” “Handsy little shits” (from Snow White) to character descriptions. What one group might find acceptable or usual, encountered by someone less worldly or from another social class. Poking holes in the Town & Country on the coffee table crowd from a backstage POV. I don’t write Syfy, but of all the Star Trek movies my favorite lines were “too much LDS in the Sixties,” Scotty talking to a mouse, then being redirected to a keyboard and saying “how quaint” to Bones “Surgery? How barbaric!”
I don’t do slapstick well. Or at all. There’s a skill to writing it that requires both economy and pure visuals. Laura Levine usually has one or two per book. The one about getting stuck trying to remove a Spanx type undergarment in a small bathroom at a party and getting both arms stuck inside the elastic tube is hilarious. In fact the entire discussion of the tiny spandex body tube is great in many ways.
But from me? There’s always (pick one)
Don’t care? Skip to the bottom – See what others are doing!
Painted Ladies ridiculousness, caste and the vagaries of “art”
Locked Out Clothing as morality enforcement
Cat Show Beautiful people and embarrassing one-offs
Since everyone seems to have a sex or innuendo quote, here’s a First time for everything – Elephant