Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How to be Funny. No, How to Write Funny.

This is not going to tell you the answer.

I don't know the answer of how to include more humor in my writing. I first typed, "in your writing," but I am talking about me.

Which is why I signed up for Ariel Gore's first ever humor writing workshop. Because I realized that I don't have a lot of humor in what I write. Not usually and not in the big pieces I have in progress (or in a stalled state).

Humor can move the story along. It lightens the heavier moments. It makes us feel good or breathe or think, I can read more even though the topic is a little too close to home or heavy or something.

One of the many things I admire about Ariel is her ability to mix in levity in serious subjects. Like her most recent book, "The End of Eve." It is not a humor book and it is not a humorous story. But there are moments which she weaves together as golden threads to keep the reader right there in the whole experience of the moments about which she has written.

These are the things missing in most of my stories. When I try to write humor I feel stilted or stupid and that the writing is too self-conscious or it outright sucks. Which may be a bit over the top but it is how it feels.

Humor in the face of big topics or big emotions. To bring a smile along with the tears.

This week before the week-long intensive we were instructed to find a piece of something we find funny. Then write about why it is funny. To us. To me. And I realize that I also don't read much humor. Or I haven't for a while. So my first challenge in the workshop is to find something that is funny. There have been moments in books, but only moments. I was reminded about Marc Acito's books, which I read several years ago. If I can't come up with something more current, I will go with one of those - find a passage I like and post it, with analysis of why I find it funny.

Humor. I'm not against it. But I realize it is an important missing ingredient in a lot of what I write. I don't aspire to be a comic, just to put more light and space in my stories.