Thursday, 22 May 2014

Tips on comedy

We get a few stories into the Global Short Story Competition dealing with some heavy subjects, many of them doing so very well but serious for all that. So it’s enjoyable to read the occasional humorous stories we receive.

Here are some thoughts on writing comedy:
* All good comedy comes out of situations and the writer needs to observe them and work out how best they can be re-told. Such humour works best if the reader can say ‘yes, something like that happened to me’.

* Be visual. Yes, good humour is about clever word-play but it can also be about visual gags. It’s no coincidence that the comic heroes of the black and white film era remain funny today. Simple gag told in numerous different ways.

* Some of the best humour comes from over-egging things. Take a situation and make it ridiculous. Let your mind freewheel, let it take a situation to its logical if absurd conclusion.

* Don’t ram the joke down the reader’s throat. Write your funny line and move on, let them work out if it is funny.

* Do not forget the rules of storytelling. It may be a comic piece but it still needs a good story, structure, real characters, genuine places etc.

John Dean

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