Writing: The Funny Thing is… Writing Comedy

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I wouldn’t have dared tell myself I was going to write comedy until I wrote it. Working on my first novel, as I became more comfortable in the story-telling, humour became an inherent part of the mix. Initially, I didn’t think about trying to make readers smile. I saw it as a way to make the writing more enjoyable for myself. And, at that point, technically, I didn’t actually have any readers, so I could be as silly as I liked, without worrying if I was the only one who found the funny-bits, funny.

From a very young age, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by highly opinionated, determined, women. I found these women far more interesting than other children. I enjoyed listening to their conversations, and realized, once silent rules had been exchanged, confidence earned, friends provided each other with detailed narratives of their lives. Opinions flew back-and-forth. Voices were raised, or suddenly lowered, to indicate secret drama. Jokes, some revealing a deeper, inside knowledge, traded with relish. I was fascinated, and even more so, when I realized these conversations were private, not usually shared with the men-folk, or innocent bystanders.

There was a lot of humour in my family. I didn’t realise, growing up, that not every household communicated by incident and anecdote. Life was viewed through a slightly satirical lens, sometimes to soften the blow or cushion the fall. Spending a lot of time with my characters, sharing humour became part of getting to know them, along with a sense of confiding in the reader. We all became friends. While there are darker issues in my books, some characters have a slightly irreverent take on their lives, while others are completely unaware of their comedic traits.

There’s a lot of discussion about ‘Finding your Voice’ as a writer. I only fully realised what that meant, when I became more light-hearted. That’s my voice. My take on the world. I’ve always tried to look at life with a sense of amusement as much as I possibly can. Humour is my default setting, it makes situations bearable, ambitions achievable, and doubt, merely fleeting. The giddy-stuff can be pretty potent stuff.

By the time I was working on my new novel, hearing how people laughed, cared, and forgot themselves, while reading AWFUL BY COMPARISON, I gained confidence in typing up a more mischievous serving with GIRLFRIEND, INTERRUPTED. Putting a smile on somebody’s face is the best feeling in the world. I want my readers to know they’re going to be thoroughly entertained, and always made to feel welcome.

* Article first published by Jane Craddock @weheartwriting (USA)

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