BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

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BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Blade Barrier on Sat Aug 27, 2011 10:24 am

Because this section is dying and needs a revival.

The purpose of this thread is to give you the tools to create an effect in your RPs/ Stories/ Publications/ whatever. Like how to make a situation more romantic, funny, action packed, etc. I'm not going to tell you exactly how to do everything though, this is more or less a creator's kit than a lesson on writing. If you'd like to be told how to write though, get your butt over to Christoph's thread!

Today's topic is...

How 2 Write Something Funny!

Q: Why do I want to be funny? I'm writing a drama!

If you don't want to be funny for personal amusement, there are plenty of reasons to include humor in your "dramatic" works. Comic releif can be used to make depressing parts of a story more bearable, and can even amplify your drama depending on how it's used. Sure it's sad when someone dies in the heat of battle or during a chase, but during a birthday or some other great celebration is much more heart wrenching.

Q: Okay, how do I make people laugh?

There are 3 rules for a good joke:

#1: It has to be unexpected.

Makes sense. That's why repeating the same joke to someone a million times makes it go from being funny to annoying. Any unusual behavior will likely be "unexpected".

#2: It has to make the reader feel superior to the character.

The blond jokes are a pretty good example of this. If somebody does something stupid or fate is ill to them, it's funny.

#3: It has to make lite of things.

It's easier to make people laugh when they're being serious, so the time and place of the joke should be a serious one. This is why dramas are great for comedies, because their's so much opportunity.

Here's a good one...

A mother and her toddler son are walking through the supermarket, getting groceries and other goods for the week. Then suddenly, the toddler said. "Mom, I need to take a piss." The mother was, of course, shocked at his use of language. However, she remained calm and told her son."Next time, say that you need to use the bathroom!"

Over lunch, the mother was conversing with her friends, talking about the good ol' days as she sipped her wine. Once again, her son showed up to ask. "Mom, I have to use the poddy." The mother was, of course, embarrassed because her son had brought up the bathroom in front of her friends while they were eating. So when she took her son to the bathroom, she told him. "Next time, say you have to whisper."

Late at night, the mother was sound asleep in her bed beside her husband, who was still just barely awake due to the fact that he had just gotten home from work. Seeing that his mother was asleep, the boy came to his father's side instead. "Daddy, I need to whisper." His father however was just on the verge of going to sleep. So he just mumbled.

"Go whisper in mommy's ear."


I think that wraps up this episode.

Comments, praise, complaints, and suggestions are always welcome.
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Count on Sat Aug 27, 2011 11:58 am

May this link help you wherever you go. Thank you, Wired, for providing the community-at-large of geeky people the means to create their own humor. Social skills - away! XD

In writing, however, it is best (in my opinion and experience) to provide humor as a transition point between plot point and plot point. So. In low points of the story, humor thrives. Random jokes that happen in the heat of battle rarely work well with the surrounding language. When everything is peaceful, attack with the joke!
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Blade Barrier on Sat Aug 27, 2011 1:50 pm

My three rules of a good joke are actually just a simplified version of various theories about humor. Actually, even claiming them as my own is wrong because I read about them in an article a long time ago. I'm not saying the Benign Violation Theory doesn't work, but I think it works mainly for slapstick and dead-pan humor and doesn't have the versatility of some other theories.

However, I do agree that there are some times where dropping a joke is a bad idea. Like you said, during a fight, or really anytime you desire drama. It's much more effective before or after said event. I'll have to add that to my little write up later.

Thanks for the comment Count.
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Sun Aug 28, 2011 12:52 am

Hah! Great article. I'd had the benign violation thought myself, though I never put it into terms.

Definitely, humor in stories is important, moreso as the length of the story increases. Nobody wants to write a Dostoevsky (I hope). xD

Good tips! Very Happy
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Blade Barrier on Tue Aug 30, 2011 6:50 pm

Thanks for tuning in.

Today's topic is...

How 2 write a Fable/Parable!

Q: why would I want to write like that?

Although stories of this nature are simple and lack the detail of most modern stories, they are easily remembered. It is because of this that tales like "The Tortoise and the Hair" are remembered better and longer than the people who created them. Succinct tales can be told in a short span of time, and if executed well, will be just as memorable as full length novels.

Even if you don't have a particular story you'd like to write from start to finish in these styles, it can be helpful to Incorporated a tale like this into your story. Particularly if the story takes place in an old world (or perhaps even post-apocalyptic). Maybe a general is bestowing a hard life lesson on one of his subordinates, or maybe a lover tells his other half a tale to show why they can't or must be together. There's no end to the uses of such tales.

Q: What's the difference between a Fable and a Parable?

A fable uses talking animals, plants, and the like. A parable uses only people.

Q: Okay, what do I do?

The hard part is deciding on a moral that you want to base your story around. Or if it’s taking place within a story, have the fable/parable’s moral based on what he’s trying to get into his listener’s head. After that, it’s not hard. Resist the temptation to fill the story with details and just include what’s absolutely necessary. Don’t describe the grass, don’t say what the traveler’s name is, and don’t mention where he’s going unless it’s vital to the story. If it’s a fable, make sure there’s a reason for said character to be what they are. Foxes are cunning and sly, peacocks are beautiful, lions are strong yet full of pride.

That’s really all there is to it. I don’t really feel the need to do an example. As I said earlier, I’m more interested in providing you with tools than giving you specific instructions on how to do things.

EDIT:

CHANGED MY MIND!

"The Tortoise and the Hair"

One day an old tortoise was out for a casual stroll through the forest. He was not alone however, because he had a long hair that grew off the end of his nose. It was angled forward and stiff, always leading the way.

"Hey tortoise." Said the hair. "I know you beat a hare way back when, but how does it feel to know that you'll never beat 'this' hair?"

The old turtle just smiled. "I could beat you any day I wanted."

"Alright then" The Hair said with an ominous chuckle. "Then let's get to it! I challenge you to the 100 millimeter dash!"

Not much later, a short patch had been cleared out and spectators were sitting in place to see a tortoise race against the hair on the tip of his nose. The hair knew he had already won. There was no way the old turtle could sever him from his nose, and he didn't move nearly fast enough to blow the hair behind himself. Victory seemed assured. After the race started, the hair only became more sure of his impending victory as the turtle inched closer. but then the turtle stopped and started to turn around. The hair cried out in confusion, but it soon became apparent that the tortoise was crossing the finish line backwards, effectively making the hair cross last. The crowd roared with applause as the winner was declared. the tortoise had trumped the hair again.

An advantage is no guarantee of success.


Last edited by Blade Barrier on Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:07 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Guest on Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:26 pm

I've read Aesop's Fables, and ever since then I've wanted to include fables in one of my stories. I certainly believe that they can add a deeper element to a story.

As for your first topic, humor is always something that has escaped me. Most people I know say I have no sense of humor, though I can say myself that that is certainly not true. I strive to put it in my writing, but, aside from romance, it is one of my hardest challenges. I agree with all of the points you made, but I still manage to fail at it.

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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Kalon Ordona II on Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:26 am

Hare. Tortoise and the Hare.
Though Tortoise and the Hair is all intriguing to me now. xD
I can just see a parody fable of a turtle in a barber shop, cutting hair slowly but surely. Laughing

Cool tip, BB!
I do like coming up with my own fables, though I guess they're actually legends that turn into parables... *ponders*
I like your differentiation between fable and parable. Nod
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Blackrock on Wed Aug 31, 2011 5:10 am

Personally I prefer Achilles and the tortoise, Zeno's paradoxes always gave me headaches as a kid study Very Happy

On a more serious note, great initiative on the thread - I can see it being useful to novice writers. Humour can definitely make or break an otherwise average piece of writing, but I believe it must be handled with great care. Seeing a potential humorous situation is one thing, but how you apply it (if at all) is a totally different matter. Often times I've cringed when a serious episode of a tale has been ruined by an untimely use of humour.

And then, of course, comes the question of to whom or what do you apply the joke. Is it something your character says or does that makes fun of another character in the story? Or are you, as a writer, ridiculing your character(s)? There's a huge difference between the two, as the first just works as an element of the story, something in-world; the second is YOUR stance on the character or the situation, which - in my opinion - sets a much lighter tone on the whole tale.

As an example, I'll toss up two popular authors and their most famous works - George Martin with A Song of Ice and Fire and Terry Pratchett with his Discworld. Both writers have undeniably got a great sense of humour and know how to tell a joke, but Martin's work remains strictly in the realm of dark fantasy even if one of the main characters (Tyrion) constantly takes the piss out of everyone and everything. Pratchett, on the other hand, has set his own stance as humorous, hence why the whole setting is treated as such.

Ahem, to catch up with the topic: fables. Yes, those are always fun and are actually quite interesting to write. I've used them a few times, the most recent of which was for Emoria here on FOG, when I still participated. I think they are a powerful tool for world-builders, seeing as coming up with one short tale can perfectly explain the nature of the various factions in their world. It's also a great way to fill up an otherwise dull part of, say, a journey while still providing some character insight. Sort of like Don Quixote - you've got the main arc, but also a number of smaller stories thrown in there.

Looking forward to the next topic Wink
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Blade Barrier on Thu Sep 01, 2011 9:05 pm

Silvone: I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe the people you're writing for just can't appreciate your humor, or maybe it's so dark and twisted that people are afraid to laugh at it. When I was younger, I would alter jokes slightly and add them to my stories. Then over time, I changed the joke more and more, to the point now that I don't need a joke anymore. Of course, even now I find myself failing to make others laugh from time to time. We can't be perfect all the time.

Kalon: for you insolence, I will now write the tortoise and the hair and include it as a sample for my last topic. it will be a master piece!

Blackrock: I must stress that I am not teaching people how to write, but merely giving them tools to work with. All tools can be misused or used improperly which WILL result in unsatisfactory results. No amount of preparation will prevent all mistakes, just like any art form. I don't want to teach people to write like me, I'd rather people find their own way after taking a few tips into account to get them off the ground, and then learn how to move in the right direction, which will most likely be a variation of a path I've taken.

But since I can't resist a good debate or fascinating opinion, I'll humor you a bit (pun intended). Douglas Adams's Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy was quite funny, and incorporated both methods into his tales. He had witty dialog and zany characters, and the narration itself was also funny, particularly the long-winded descriptions of things such as the ravenous bug-bladder beast of traal, which is frequently referenced throughout the series. He also just had weird stuff happen. The improbability drive that turned 50 naked woman into kangaroos was weird. Yet he was still a very successful writer. More interesting is how despite how funny his books are, he's dropped some of the biggest shockers on me. Like the computer that surpassed "Deep Thought" in every way. There are always times to break the rules. The trick is feeling when it's right.

But Yes, humor is sensitive material, perhaps too sensitive to be the first topic in a "how to" thread explained so vaguely.





Glad to see this topic is starting to get the attention of some more regulars. Thanks for the comments! I meant to release another update, but that will happen later this week.
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Re: BeeBee's How 2 Write it!

Post by Blade Barrier on Mon Sep 05, 2011 2:15 pm

Turtle and hair fable added to last topic. Go read it now!

Today’s topic is…

How 2 Write Character Chemistry!

Q: What the heck is this exactly?

Your characters’ ability to have interesting conversations and do interesting things. It’s actually not too uncommon to have a group of solid characters that create a boring tale because of poor chemistry. A marvelous painting is captivating not because of how bright or moody the colors are, but how well the colors work together to create the image that the viewer sees. A story is no different. Better characters can still fall prone to having poor chemistry.

Q: Sounds cool. So what’s good chemistry?

I’m sad to say that that is debatable, but here are a few things to keep in mind.

First off, a book’s characters should resemble a dysfunctional family. That is to say that although person A and person B are working together, it’s more interesting if they have different motivations. Let’s say in a particular story I’m writing, a powerful warlord dominates a nation and rules with an iron fist. It might be tempting to create a picture perfect team of do-gooders that always get along to oppose said warlord, but that’s boring. Sure, one of the characters could be like that, but then I’d like to include a mercenary who’s in it for money and fame instead of justice, and the other characters could consist of a revenge-fueled guy, a sweet girl who’s trying to kill boredom, and a higher up under the warlord’s command that actually wants his position. Why make a team that has a 95% chance of falling apart on day 1? Simple, Angst. There’s plenty of room for failure and growth for our little hack squad. If everything’s going to be a forward push right to the warlord’s bunker, you have a predictable plot, which is why 100% of serious writers hate being told their character is a Marry Sue. (more to come in later topics) People who make mistakes and have room to improve are more human, which makes them easier to relate to.(also more to come in later topics)

Of course, you can have chemistry between your characters and your tale’s secondary characters as well. They merely need a reason to oppose the main characters, and (usually) a reason to help them. This can range from everything from a lover not wanting his/her sweetheart to go to war, yet realizes it’s for the best of their country, or a shaken witness who won’t help a detective find his/her son’s murderer in fear that they’ll uncover a dark family secret. Every step of the story can be an adventure!

Antagonists are a hard lot to associate with chemistry. They do oppose the protagonist, but how do they interact with the environment in your story? Do they also have the same hardships as the protagonists do, or is life a cake walk for them? It all depends on the kind of bad guy you decide to use. If I can talk about movies for a moment, Darth Vader is tormented by the death of his lover and his son’s place in the war, yet Darth Sidious is almost completely isolated from the woes that most humans face.

Short of writing a story, there's no quick example I can give you, and I'm already running late with this update. Thanks for reading!
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