Friday, August 29, 2008

Make 'Em Laugh

My first couple of books were serious, thought-provoking pieces that made you think about the nature of religion, parenthood, and politics. They were the kind of heavy books with lots of pages that make a person look really really intelligent when they read them in a coffee house. They also had about as much entertainment value as the average biscuit.

I'm not ragging on serious books by any means. I like books that make me think; it's just that I have to laugh at books like my first few that try so hard to be insightful and end up being unintentionally ludicrous.

So finally, I had this brilliant idea that maybe I should write the kind of books that I like to read. I really deserve a MENSA membership for that little burst of inspiration. Anyway, thus ensued books about superheroes, zombies, and stalkers (oh my!). Thus ensued books that are funny. Because man, do I like a good laugh.

So now, instead of wanting to be the next Oprah's Book Club pick, I really just want to give people the giggles. Honestly, I'd like to be the Terry Pratchett of YA, except that Terry Pratchett now writes YA so I guess he's got dibs on the title.

Comedy is a lot more difficult than people think. I remember watching an interview about Rowan Atkinson, who played Mr. Bean among other things, and they were talking about how meticulous he is about being funny. How exacting he is, so that when he's doing a sight gag and is covered in pooh, he very seriously evaluates the pooh coverage ratio to make sure that it is at exactly the right level to get maximum laughs. And that is exactly what a comedian needs to do. It's easy to make your friends laugh. It's not so simple to make strangers bust a gut.


Cate Gardner said...

YAY! Superheroes & Zombies - how about together!!!

I don't know much about Oprah's book club (being in the UK) but we have something similar here with Richard & Judy (never heard of them - right?) and the books they recommend tend to favour literary over fun. Though I believe Daniel Water's 'Generation Dead' was on Oprah's list and it's a YA zombie novel.

PJ Hoover said...

Humor is great. The latest thing I've written has almost none which is a huge change from me, but it so didn't fit the tone of the novel. Of course, there's always room for some.

Carrie Harris said...

Catherine: Oooh. Or zombies with superpowers. They can lurch, moan, and shape change into toasters or something.

I'm sorry. Feeling silly today. And the idea of zombie toasters makes me laugh.

PJ: Yeah, there's a time and a place for humor, isn't there? I do love finding the nuggets of humor in an otherwise serious book, too. :)

Adrienne said...

Now I'm curious - what is the right amount of coverage for a poo plaster? Now that's attention to detail.

Dawn Wilson said...

I totally agree on both counts. It's definitely more enjoyable reading a book that has some or a lot of humor in it, but it's hard to write good humor. Practice makes perfect, I suppose.

Angela said...

Yes even dark books need a few fun moments!

Carrie Harris said...

The right amount of poo coverage is of course 78.3%. And I am full of poo. ;)

Angela and Dawn, I love it when people agree with me! But seriously, thanks for visiting my blog!