July 5, 2011

A Joke Is A Very Serious Thing

Or so said Mr. Churchill.

Well, it’s been a while since I’ve given any update as to my writing…  and that’s because there was no major update to give.  I spent the last year taking a screenwriting class, only to find out in the end that my stories (or the ones I like anyway) were too complicated to be features.

All the great things are simple, or so said Mr. Churchill.  Still though, I like my stories to be a tapestry of interwoven plots and subplots that in the end, form a beautiful (if complex) picture.  So... I finally returned to my book series (not that I’d ever planned on quitting it altogether, but I took a—rather long, might I say—pause via Hollywood).  And it’s been a BLAST! 

Granted, it was a necessary break, for it permitted me to improve on my story planning.  Which is key if I don’t want my chef-d’oeuvre-wannabe to become a rather unpalatable blob.  Ah, and to think that I once felt I was so close to success already (hey, I HAVE had one of my sorry-isn’t-good-enough-for-an-excuse manuscript versions read by an agent—or at least the first few pages).  But some very well-targeted missiles from my brother’s very discernible mind put me back in place.  Criticism may not be agreeable, but it is necessary, as Mr. Churchill once said.  Well, in my case it’s true, and I can already feel the tinglings of a job well done when concatenating my research and ideas into a coherent background for my Vis Viva Cycle.

Well, I shouldn’t count my chickens before they’re hatched, eh?  After all, this is a rather arduous journey. 

So what does this post have to do with humor?  I’m coming to that.

As I’m striving to become a better writer, I get the chance to read lots of fun books, and noticed something in my favorite fantasy writer’s book Best Served Cold.  See, I found myself chuckling in a number of passages as a result of a repeated but oh-so-successful process.

And what is this process, may you ask?

Repetition of a point/word/expression throughout the said passage (or chapter or book).  Why is it funny?  Well, first of all, said point/word/expression is somewhat funny to begin with (usually sardonic).  Initial chuckle or, if more stuck-up than me, slight trembling of upper lift.  But then the point/word/expression’s later repeated.  And then again, and again, until you end up laughing at it.

If you have an important point to make, don't try to be subtle or clever. Use a pile driver. Hit the point once. Then come back and hit it again. Then hit it a third time - a tremendous whack.  As Mr. Churchill said.

In this case, the repetition creates a sort of inner joke between the writer and the reader, drawing the latter further into the story.

And after this wonderful realization, I shall now resume my studying/reading/writing session.  After all, Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential.

Or so said Mr. Churchill.

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