Tag Archives: comedy

When Your S.O. Misinterprets Your Actions as a Writer

9 May

by Savannah J. Foley

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The other day I was looking up character names in a baby names website (something we all do, I’m pretty sure), and I got to thinking about how what I was doing could be misinterpreted by my boyfriend. Afterwards, I came up with the following list of scenarios that a boyfriend unfamiliar with writers might encounter with his new writer girlfriend. It’s mostly silly, but maybe you’ll laugh at one or two. 🙂

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1. You leave your computer up on a webpage of baby names.

Misinterpretation: OMG she’s pregnant! Or she wants to have my children and is already planning out their names. Is this a hint? Was I supposed to find this?!

What Really Happened: You were using the list of baby names to find the most awesome name ever for your new character.

2. You talk to yourself out loud, in different voices.

Misinterpretation: You just went into full-blown metal disorder mode, a la A Beautiful Mind.

What Really Happened: You were just plotting really hard and accidentally vocally acted out some of the characters you were working on. It’s normal, really.

3. He catches you mock-strangling, -stabbing, or -shooting an imaginary victim.

Misinterpretation: You’re homicidal and you’re practicing for killing him.

What Really Happened: You were -again- acting out a scene in your book to get a feel for the actions and emotions. Totally normal.

4. Your browser history shows searches for “the perfect murder” and “poisons without antidotes.”

Misinterpretation: Surely this time you’re out to get him.

What Really Happened: Nope. Still figuring out plot details for your murder mystery subplot.

5. You stock up on chocolate.

Misinterpretation: You’re PMSing.

What Really Happened: Not this time. You hit a tricky part in your manuscript, and need some chocolate to get through it. Or you submitted something and are anxiously awaiting a reply.

6. You stop showering and suddenly avoid spending time with your S.O.

Misinterpretation: You’re trying to convince him to break up with you because you’re too chicken to do it yourself.

What Really Happened: You’re working hard on a deadline and literally forgot to shower/spend every waking minute working on your project.

7. You suddenly start spending more time “at the library” or “at a coffee shop.”

Misinterpretation: You’re cheating on him!

What Really Happened: You were just trying to give him some space since apparently your every action means you’re insane and trying to cause harm. This was your way of getting out of the house and having the time/space to, once again, focus on your project.

8. You start visiting thrift stores and “alternate fashion” stores.

Misinterpretation: You’re becoming a dirty hippie. You’re an artsy person, it had to happen sometime, right? This would also explain the no-showering thing.

What Really Happened: You’re researching styles of a particular decade.

9. You ask his cop uncle a lot of complex and detailed questions about law enforcement.

Misinterpretation: You’re considering a career change into law enforcement.

What Really Happened: Absolutely not! It’s just research! It’s ALWAYS research!

10. You change your degree from English or Creative Writing to something more mainstream, like Business & Management, or Computer Sciences.

Misinterpretation: Surely this time it’s a sign of giving up the dream, right?

What Really Happened: No, you just realized you don’t have to have the degree to be able to write well, so what’s the point? Might as well have a backup.

11. He catches you practicing your smile and posing in the mirror.

Misinterpretation: You’re an imaginative person, and so therefore you were pretending to be a movie star, for research, right?

What Really Happened: Actually you were just practicing for your author shot.

12. You sneak into your room on tiptoe, not making a sound.

Misinterpretation: He’s with the program now. He concludes you’re pretending to be a cat. For research. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that.

What Really Happened: …Actually, you were trying to see if your leftover toys from childhood move and talk when you’re not in the room. What? Writers never truly lose their inner child! Plus you saw Toy Story 3 recently, and, well… it was worth a shot.

~~~

Savannah J. Foley is the author of the Nameless (originally known as Woman’s World) series on Fictionpress and is signed with the Bradford Literary Agency. Her website is www.savannahjfoley.com, but she updates more frequently on her livejournal. She is currently working on editing Nameless to go out on submissions. You can read an excerpt from Nameless here.

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You Know You Live in a YA World When…

5 Apr

by Kat Zhang

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I posted this over on my personal blog a little while back, but the general consensus was that the list really should be longer. Unfortunately, I’ve run out of fun ideas, so I’m asking all of you to help me out! Read MY idea of what living in a YA fic world is like, then give me yours! 🙂

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Have you ever caught yourself wondering if maybe your life isn’t real? That out there, somewhere, someone is writing your story and…OMG, it’s a YA novel? Never fear! Just ask yourself if the following statements are true. Then you, too, can know for sure if you’re living in a YA novel world!

1. You have never, in your life, done a group/partner project that didn’t end in drama of some kind.

2. When you’re stranded somewhere, your crush just happens to show up and ask you if you need a ride. Bonus points if his car is something old that he fixed up himself, or something that he got handed down from his father/older brother/uncle that he apologizes for but that you find rather vintage and cute. Super bonus points if he sticks in a CD that you just happen to LOVE and you shout, “Oh, I thought I was the only one in the world who liked ____!” and the two of you Bond.

3. The waitress checks out your crush on your first date. Bonus points if she tries to leave him her number.

4. Your worst enemy likes the same guy. Bonus points if your worst enemy used to be your best friend years and years ago, before you two hit puberty and she went off to be a cheerleader.

5. Your mood swings change the weather. You don’t remember the last time you cried when it wasn’t raining outside.

6. Your parents always seem to ignore whatever you do until it’s convenient to the plot to ground you—I mean, until you’re ABSOLUTELY needed somewhere for something VERY important. (but then, isn’t that real life, too?)

7. If your best friend’s a guy, you’re either together by the end of the book (I mean, um…the end of…um…well, you know what I mean) or he’s gay. If your best friend’s a girl, she’s prettier than you are. Bonus points if she’s smarter/more athletic/both, as well.

8. Your grandparents are awesome. And quirky. And probably less conservative than your parents.

9. And finally, you know you live in a YA novel when your life is a constant stream of ups and downs, ups and downs, but you can afford to be completely chill because hey, you know you’ve got a 99.9% chance of everything working out more or less perfectly in the end 🙂

Do YOU live in a YA novel world?

(PS, please nobody be offended by this, ‘mmkay? I’m not pointing these things out to make malicious fun, and having these things in your story does not automatically make it stereotypical or cliche. And yes, I’ve used these things in my own stories, as well! 😛 )

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Now it’s your turn! What else should be on this list? 😀

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Kat Zhang is a Spoken Word poet and a Creative Writing major. She is represented by Emmanuelle Morgen and her book HYBRID–about a girl with two souls–is currently on submission to publishers. You can read more about her writing process and books at her blog.

Happy Holidays Part 2

25 Dec

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Happy Holidays to everyone!

The Rules of Comedy — AND A COMEDY CONTEST!

1 Apr

by Biljana Likic

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So today is April Fool’s Day! Just about the only day you can get away with lame jokes like tying people’s shoelaces together and messing with the kitchen faucet without getting a smack upside the head. And what other day could possibly be so fitting to talk about a couple rules of comedy and kick off a contest?

So that’s exactly what we’re doing! (And yes, the contest is real. And no, that’s not a joke either.)

The Basics:

Write a maximum 1000-word story or comprehensible excerpt using at least three Rules of Comedy. It may be written in narrative or script (with stage directions included.)

The Goods:

The winner will receive a bag of confectionary goodies and a critique of the first 50 pages of your novel. The 50-page critique can be substituted by a critique of the first three chapters of a novel, a query letter critique, or a guest post on Let the Words Flow.

The Fine Print:

The contest begins today, April 1st, (once again, it’s real!) and ends on May 1st at midnight, EDT.  We will not admit any late entries, so be sure to send it in time. The winner will be selected by the LTWF contributors, and announced on Tuesday, May 11th.

No multiple submissions!

No plagiarizing or stealing jokes from comedians or other writers! In the comedy scene, as well as in the writing scene, stealing jokes and ideas is considered very low. If your work is inspired (there is a difference) by another’s idea, tell us so. No Fan Fiction, but parodies of pop culture are allowed.

Send your admissions in to letthewordsflowblog@gmail.com.

If there are any general questions, or if there is any confusion about the rules of the contest, let us know in the comments.

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And now, the actual post!

Today, I’m going to talk to you about all the glories of being funny. Funny, (and this might surprise you, because of the ease with which I do it,) can be harder than drama. Telling a joke can be harder than telling someone their car has been impounded. Coincidentally, telling someone their car’s been impounded can be as funny as telling a joke. And that is the beauty of comedy. Totally versatile. And therein lies the problem.

There are so many people out there, and there are so many styles of humour, that you will always, from the start, have to accept that not everybody will find you funny. There’s no way to be King or Queen of Comedy, (unless you’re me, of course,) so you might as well just tell yourself right now that some people are either going to think that you’re an idiot, a very crude person, a pompous jerk (chiming in, right here,) or a little bit pathetic.

However! There is salvation! There are certain things in comedy that are pretty much universal to every form of humour. There are rules you can follow, and if you do them well, you can make your way steadily to achieving Comic Gold. I’m going to talk about five basic ones. These aren’t the only ones, but they’re very common. I can almost guarantee that you’ve experienced these in real life before.

So let us begin!

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1. Mistaken Identity: Also like a comedy of errors. It’s when a person or a group of people think that somebody or a group of somebody’s are something other than what they are. The comedy comes from the audience knowing what’s going on. Sometimes, the identity is revealed to rip-roaring laughter. Other times, it’s not revealed. Also to rip-roaring laughter.

Example: In the movie The Road to El Dorado, Tulio and Miguel have been captured by the natives of El Dorado. They think they’re going to be killed, but they’re actually mistaken for gods. (Side note: this is one of my all-time favourite movies.)

2. One-upmanship: One-upmanship is when either one or all of the characters involved attempt to continuously outdo or impress the others. Can be the start of many fights, can end in corny ‘yo mama’ jokes, but can also be very funny.

Example: Between two Gr12 high school students in Canada. In dialogue form!

A: What are you doing after high school?
B: Thinking of taking a year off. You?
A: Actually I got into my first choice for university.
B: Oh I…I teach there.
A: Really? I didn’t tell you the name…
B: I teach at…every university. I’m like a sub, like a sub-prof, kind of like a sub-marine, but I’m not actually in the army.
A: Hey my brother’s coming home this weekend. He’s in the navy; just won a medal for courage.
B: Oh really? I’m…Actually I’m a war vet. Yeah I was uh…fought in Vietnam.
A: Canada didn’t fight in Vietnam.
B: Nope. Nope. But I have…triple citizenship. From Bulgaria, Estonia, and Australia. And Canada.
A: That’s four.
B: Yeah they made it special. Just for me. Special. From the uh…government.
A: …Great. Well I have to go—
B: I’m a spy.

3. Straight Man/Crazy Man: This is when there are two or more people. One of them is crazy and the other one is completely normal, and they get into a situation where the ‘straight man’ stays realistic in order to contrast the ‘crazy man’s’ words or actions.

Example: Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie from A Bit of Fry and Laurie. Notice how immediately, Stephen Fry’s character, (like any normal person in real life,) thinks Hugh Laurie’s character is crazy.

4. The Illustrious Magic Three: Magic Three’s aren’t only popular in comedy; they’re popular everywhere. Everybody says how good things and bad things come in threes, and in comedy, it’s no different. If you say something once and it’s funny, it’ll be funny again the second time, but the THIRD time, it’ll be hilarious.

Exmaple: Sorry guys, couldn’t embed this one. The Magic Three is very easy to spot.

http://www.collegehumor.com/video:1929378

5. Specificity: In writing, oftentimes, specifics can get boring. But in comedy…yeah they can also get boring. Sometimes though, specifics can be awesome. Adding superfluous details can make a situation funnier, because they make you think of things in ways you wouldn’t have. This makes it new. Just be careful to not overdo it.

Example: Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry again! I love them… Pay attention to Stephen Fry’s speech patterns.

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Now, I know. I know. What works on video doesn’t always work in text. I showed you videos because every time I tried to write a little funny tidbit, excepting the dialogue, it ended up sounding lame. It’s astoundingly hard to show something like a Magic Three in a paragraph without sounding repetitive, and for Straight Man/Crazy Man you have to establish a whole relationship.

So really, this isn’t only a contest, but a challenge. I’m giving you 1000 words to get out everything you can.

Because it’s so hard, and because my examples weren’t very writing oriented, feel free to ask any questions. If you have an idea for let’s say, Specificity, but you aren’t sure if you’re doing it right, don’t be afraid to email LTWF (letthewordsflowblog@gmail.com) with “Comedy Contest Help” in the subject box. I’d be more than happy to help. That said though, I will not be helping anyone with the writing. I’ll just be there for guidance about the Rules of Comedy.

That’s all! Good luck everybody. We’re all ready to fall off our chairs laughing.

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Biljana Likic is an aspiring author, currently revising her first novel, TIME IS A FUNNY THING. She’s in her final year of high school, waiting and waiting to graduate, finish university, and finally have all the time in the world to write. You can visit her blog here, and check out her work on her FictionPress account.

Your Heroine Does Not Need Violet Eyes

16 Mar

Sorry this is late everyone; I forgot that Tuesdays were vlog day!

Anyway, this vlog is a personal one I did a few weeks ago, and it has a lot to do with the article I posted yesterday about Rules for Writing. This vlog is slightly comedic, and deals with ‘special’ characters.

Enjoy!

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Savannah J. Foley is the author of the Antebellum (originally known as Woman’s World) series on Fictionpress. She has written five novels, owns her own freelance writing company, and is signed with the Bradford Literary Agency. Antebellum is currently out on submissions. Her website is www.savannahjfoley.com, but she updates more frequently on her livejournal.