So you wanna write comedically, Bunky…
Here’s an exercise that I do, as needed. Over the years, it’s helped me identify where the ‘fun’ is hiding is some stories I’ve been frustrated with. It’s not foolproof, but it might be helpful Try it, it might be your best comic tool.
Patience is a virtue, just as practice makes perfect, though you must give each a try…
- Create a random character. Fully flesh him/her out so you know their personality, motivations, etc. Write a dossier. j
- Put the character is a mundane situation, such as standing in line at the DMV.
- Place an obstacle in their path that prevents them from getting what they want, such as one with which we’ve all become familiar in the recent past –
- Every time they think of a new way to circumvent the obstacle, find something to impede them. Your mission (should you choose to accept it – and I suggest you do) is to not let them get what they want, while not allowing them to give up either. Don’t be afraid to be absurd – this is key! Keep cranking up the craziness. Give them hope then snatch it away. This may be familiar turf… your challenge is to find the funny in this situation. Can you do it?
- Pay attention to what your character does and says while this is going on. His/her reaction to this scenario and the lengths he/she is willing to go is where the comedy gold is. It’s your characters’ job to be funny. They will if you wrote them right… Imagine your readers laughing, but don’t force it. Everyone has their own sense of humor… Let them use it!
Flesh this out to 1000 words and you’ll see what’s funny. I promise.
…in a riff off the famous line from ‘Jerry MacGuire’ – “Show me the funny!”