Capturing the Laughter

Been sick with the flu for quite some time now, it inspired me to write this.

The empty bowl with its porcelain soul

Coldly awaits my next arrival

Without just cause, or probable pause

I keep it close to better my odds of survival

Tomorrow will be here a day too late

To stave off an endless misery

Yet with a new day will come a new chance

For another symptom to make it’s history

Anyone can cry, the main thing is to know how to laugh. Especially at yourself. Most people think I’m crazy the way I laugh at my computer now and then, but I know I’m not alone. Many a writer has been caught cracking themselves up at their own joke. (Yeah I see you smirking!)

On the flip side of this I do sometimes struggle with humour in writing. I find that my most emotional scenes are also my funniest. It seems I combat the sadness in the material by adding loads of humour to buffer it.  Hmm, since I often use humour to deflect emotion in my real life it’s only natural it creeps into my work too. I suppose that’s what gives us all ‘a voice’ but like everything, moderation is key.  Thank heavens for the edit process.

Writing is a very honest medium and often times our most personal character traits come out on the pages before us, which is why I truly believe that if you really want to get to know yourself, you should write.  Or maybe that’s just me. 😉

Tammy’s Tip of the Week: I am very sarcastic, but sarcasm does not always translate itself clearly into the printed word. Hence, I’ve come up with a nifty little tip that I use. If you are writing humour into your work, try reading the lines in front of the mirror and then watch your face as you say the words. Note the subtle expressions that slide across your face. If you then write those expressions into your piece, it will help you to ‘show’ the emotion of the joke rather than just the words. I hope you try it, and I hope it helps. 🙂

What things/music/tips do you use to inspire your own comedy writing?

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24 Responses to Capturing the Laughter

  1. What an excellent post! (And leave it to you to write a beautiful poem about something so icky.) And such good advice, too. As a writer of humor myself, I’ll experiment with your technique…

    • T. Crosby says:

      Oh Devin you’ve got the humour down in spades! You’re book Red Hot Property should have come with a warning ‘side splitting likely to occur’. 🙂 Funniest book I think I’ve had the pleasure of reading!

  2. Gareth says:

    Im not sure how I put myself in the mood to write humour pieces. I had one character, Malakai, in one of my tales (cursed by Odin to live for eternity in Raven form for chickening out of battle after flyting his own prowess) who ended up grabbing the eyes from a dead mafia goon (they can get the persons last few minutes of visions in the world that they inhabit through them), flying up to the rooftop, swallowing them in front of my MC and then deadpanned “Those were spicy meatball’s.” Probably not much humour wise but twisted in a certain way.

    I think two writers do it very well for me, Terry Pratchett has always gone down well for me although Tom Holt and Christopher Moore can be a bit hit or miss. Other than that I tend to watch or listen to quite a bit of Billy Connolly who I find hillarious as well as Al Murray’s Pub Landlord. Other than that I find light music with thoughtful lyrics helps get my twisted mind working well. Great idea with the expressions in a mirror though.

    • T. Crosby says:

      Lol, nothing wrong with twisted. 😉 I’m so glad you stopped by and I’ll be doing some surfing to check out your tips.

  3. Livy Parker says:

    Good tip, Tammy.

    I wish I could write comedy… alas, my wit doesn’t translate to the page AT ALL. What I find funny, others think morbid. Oh well, I’ll stick to dark dystopia 🙂

  4. love the poem and great tip!

    Julie

  5. That poem sadly reminds me of last weekend. I hadn’t drank in a while and did a real “night out” Saturday. Paying for it on Sunday. :S

    Made me smile though! I don’t read “humour”, and I don’t write humour. . . but some of the favourite books in the genres I do read, are the ones with what I call “wit”. Not necessarily as obvious as humour, but sort of an underlying amusement about the whole story, or even the whole genre. Victoria Alexander, in the historical romance world, I find does this. I would like to have my writing do the same!

  6. DianeG (Diane Girard) says:

    Laughter is precious and being able to laugh at oneself (or have a character laugh at herself) in print is a lovely gift.

    If I can make a reader laugh, I’m grateful. And I’m happy to say I’ve been able to do that on occasion. For me, the trick, if there is one, is to leave it be for a while and then return when I think I have some objectiviy and see if I still think it’s funny. Sometimes what I’ve written still works and sometimes it doesn’t and I can it.

    • T. Crosby says:

      haha, I think I know what you mean. Sometimes I’m laughing while writing, but then go back later and think, WTF? I once wrote a line I thought very clever and witty and no one got it but me. Sigh….humour is very subjective, and therefore risky too.

  7. As a humor writer, my strongest influences have been Carl Hiaasen, Dave Barry, and Janet Evanovich. What I love most about the work of these three authors is their extreme irreverence. It’s a risky approach, but when it works, it works!

  8. Another great blog Tam. Loved the humour in the poem. Making something so sick into a poem is humour in itself….pun intended.
    As for humour…I don’t think I write humour very well. I’m sarcastic as hell, and most of the time it translates into laughter by the receiver, but trying to put that onto paper…well I’ll take your advice and try it in front of the mirror sometime to see if it works and how to translate that into words. Thanks for the tip. Good one! 🙂

  9. I find that the humour kind of come out as I’m writing – although I tend to be sarcastic as well and writing first person makes that very easy to convey. I’d love to write a satire in some form some day but that I consider to be a very difficult task.

    • T. Crosby says:

      Now satire would be a challenge for sure. I do hope you give it a shot though, I think you would surprise yourself. Sometimes by trying things outside our normal domain it pushes us to greater success as a writer. Dive in! 🙂

  10. Heidi says:

    I think I put humor into my pieces but usually I’m the only one who gets the joke and I have to write in ‘they laughed’ so that the reader will know it’s a joke. I’ll try your tip though and maybe try writing a comedic piece just for the practice.

    As for your poem, icky and funny, and I hope that you feel better soon. Fennel tea works wonders for settling the stomach, you can find it at any health food store.

    Oh, it’s Akeyla from the OWG!

  11. Lisa Forget says:

    Hi Tammy,

    Great poem! You’re wonderful at writing them. (Livy’s, Manic Quinn…)
    Thanks for sharing your tip and your talent!
    Lisa aka BookFever

    PS: When my husband laughs out loud at something I’ve written, he says I should thank him because being the King of Smart-Ass himself, surely he inspired such wit. Ha! Men. Always a fountain of inspiration! 😉

  12. T. Crosby says:

    Hi Lisa! Thanks for stopping by and I’m glad you enjoyed. 🙂
    And yes, men do have a way of making everything about them. tee hee!

  13. nlriviezzo says:

    Lovely poem. I like it a lot. I’ve written some poems with very similar ‘praying to the porcelain god’ themes. The writing muse frequently strikes at odd times for it is a fickle and frequently perplexing force of nature.

    For humor – in my experience – all writing needs humor to it even if it is a serious topic. What is the point of life if you cannot laugh about it? Now, not everyone will share the writer’s sense of humor but as long as the person writing it finds it funny, it is funny.

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