Friday, September 29, 2006

Reply from UK publisher....and how to write humor

How exciting! I actually got my first reply from a UK publisher for my children's book, Billy Lang. It's far from being an affirmative, but at least they are willing to look at it.

I think you must think me lame, but this is very exciting for me!

"Thanks for this. We are looking at the programme for next year but not
including much children's fiction unless it fits well with other titles we
are planning. Anyway we will take a look and get back to you.

All the best."

On another note, I want to thank MPH MidValley for giving me a wonderful poster display, which absolutely works because the books began moving as soon as it was up. They are so kind!

I'm currently reading the 'banned book' The Marriage Market, by Nisha Minhas, which is absolutely hilarious, her funniest book yet. This one is about a British born Indian girl marrying a white man and being disowned by her family. It's a laugh a minute romp about a very serious subject.

"With a hangover so severe that Aaron had to threaten his nine goldfish with his George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Reducing Grilling Machine for making too much gill noise, he arrived..."

Which brings me to: how you write humor?
I have been writing humor for ages in my That's Just Suzie column, alongside other articles.
And if there're several things I'm certain about:

1. You've got to be Over The Top (OTT) with your descriptions
2. Hit your readers with totally unexpected sentences
3. Your situations and dialogue have to be OTT
4. Mishaps are funny. People like reading about bad things that happen to other people, which are written in a funny manner.

What else do you think makes a book funny?


Argus Lou said...

Mmm... funny is as funny makes one chortle. Humour is really hard to define. For example, I don't find Kathy Lette's writing very funny. Overstraining for laughs is not too funny. It has to appear to be less contrived but well thought out. Therefore, funny is pretty difficult to achieve; it's not easy to strike a balance between humour and empathy. I would like to qualify something you wrote above, Xeus: People like to read about bungles that other folk commit which they can identify with. Not just bungle after bungle.

When I was a kid, reading 'Catweazel' really made me laugh out loud.

And, yes, an unexpected turn of events can really bring on the guffaws. Something unpredicted by the reader that catches him off guard but rubs his funny bone the right way.

Hmm, didn't I say humour is really hard to define, ma'am?

Xeus said...

Argus, long time no see! I like Dave Barry. His descriptions and comparisons are something that totally catches you unawares!

Ted Mahsun said...

I personally like non-sequiters... I watch too much British comedies, that's why. Too much Monty Python and Black Adder and Douglas Adams...

Lydia Teh said...

Xeus, Writing funny is serious business. Though occasionally I can get it funny the first time, usually, it's after many rewrites that I get the humour down pat. But I tend not to go OTT. I admit though that exaggeration often tickles the funny bone.

Xeus said...

Ted, believe it or not, I wasn't sure what a non sequiter meant, so I had to look it up! Now I do. It's very John Cleese :)

Lydia, I agree. The more you hone at it seriously, the funnier it gets.

theeternalwanderer said...

I must add that I'm very weak at writing humour...which is why I think very highly of you considering that you've written humour AND such dark, twisted stuff.

I'm gonna keep trying though, but I don't think I'll let anyone read my so-called humour just in case it falls flat...Maybe I'll email you some stuff one day and see if you think it's funny...

Xeus said...

Sure, any time, Eternal Wanderer.

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