@Entracte I moved our conversation here so as not to derail the interest thread. Plus, I think it’s an interesting conversation which deserves its own thread, and others might like to participate.
Here is the conversational backlog ported from the Interest Check thread.
Thanks for your kind words. I’ve written comedy before, but IF is a new form for me. Writing it, anyway.
To your question: what form serves IF best? Dunno. My instinct is: whatever works. I dig humor because it entertains, yeah, but it also disarms and ingratiates. You can make people like characters, so they care about what happens. Or enjoy themselves so much they don’t see the next thing coming.
A CoG author w strong comedy elements is @Gower. It’s pretty consistently of a kind. “British humor” often seems like a vestige of the class system to me, so lots of subverting or playing on social expectation and etiquette. Plus a dry-ish wit. I also thought the narration in Night Road was snarky on the regular–lot of pop culture references. I think a lot of “American humor” is sourced in irreverence, rebel spirit and such. Choice of the Dragon is pretty funny too, and a lot of that comes from the narration rather than the characters. Like a film with commentary or something. Cheers!
Here are some things I've been learning if you think they will help.
-It’s hard to make people funny in distinct ways consistently. You shouldn’t force-feed your characters random funny lines but make their comedy fall out of their character and circumstances. This is what makes it sustainable, I think. To oversimplify, since you brought up my work, I try to contrast Trudy with Saz via cheery overstatement versus matter-of-fact understatement and keep them in those lanes. Some works, the narrator is just hopping between bodies. I find when everyone has their own unique pattern, dialogue writes itself.
-The juice has to be worth the squeeze. Or, the longer a joke is, the bigger the laugh has to be to justify the length. I’ve had to abandon many of my favorites bc they take too much lead up with not enough pay off. Things have to move forward as well. In all writing, every sentence has to develop plot and character. For comedy, add intermittent laughter to the multi-tasking. Nice segue to–
-There’s a rhythm you have to feel out. How long between laughs? How big are those laughs? Set up. Pay off. Set up. Pay off.
-Variety is either a thing or it isn’t. Haven’t figured that out yet. I try to put different stuff in there for different people, but maybe someone reading is looking for one thing from you?