NVDT #64 – Banana Peels and Semicolons

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


Published by

Phil Huston


15 thoughts on “NVDT #64 – Banana Peels and Semicolons”

    1. ” I will become the epitome of Buckwheat and suspend belief in any creative photography degree that bears my name” No, I didn’t laugh out loud, but I got the biggest grin on my face!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Workin’ too hard and not knowing when to quit. The surprise misdirected pink slip and the coat rack were fine. A little more attitude from the idiot girl, shorten the indignant dude’s rant by 30%, the boss is gone, uh lost, uh in the bathroom, a quick narrative glance from the wrong guy to idiot girl as an oh, shit! moment, and quit. Let it stew, see where it needs to go. The only problem with that one was no choke on the rant. I had an editor tell me one time the beauty in fiction dialog is that we don’t need to bunny chase. There are those who say no! It has to be authentic! and that’s BS. It has to sound/read as authentic and there’s a big difference. All that to say let the guy be indignant, interrupt him a couple of times with I’ll fix it, ramp up your own oh shit factor a little as you did, and kill it. Don’t work so hard, and keep your editorial cleaver handy. “We don’t need to know that or even telegraph it right now and I don’t like it, so…” CHOP.

        Liked by 1 person

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