Thursday 25 July 2013

Do you need to feel funny to write funny?

I'm writing a new novel at the moment but I'm not happy with  its tone. I want to have a giggle while I write it like I did with Spray Painted Bananas but instead I'm grimacing and hitting delete.
I keep wondering, do you have to feel funny to write funny?

The Minions help, but only for a while, and then I'm back frowning at my computer again.
Little Prince Minion
I consider banning myself from Twitter, because barely a second passes that I don't pick up on some depressing news. I mean what sort of insane world do we live in where women are still having their genitals mutilated for cultural reasons? Where people are still killing each other  in the name of God? It makes me want to cry, not belly laugh.  
But it's also the reason I want to write books that offer relief from it all!
Yesterday I watched The Heist, a light comedy starring Morgan Freeman, Christopher Walken, William H Macy as three security guards who decide to steal their favourite pictures from the gallery where they work to prevent them being sold off to a museum in Denmark. There were holes in the plot and it wasn't particularly original, but I did laugh. And what made me laugh was the detail in the characterisation, the portrayal of the external and internal life of the characters.

Their lives were unremarkable and yet absurd. The interaction between them was ridiculous but still believable. I sensed the writer had had a laugh inventing their quirks and habits and knew more about them than what was ever written into the script, or included in the last edit.

While I've been working a lot on plot I haven't paid enough attention to my characters and they are what bring a novel to life. It's the decisions that they make that move the story along, that give rise to absurd situations and opportunities for laughter.   

I have a suspicion that what I need to do is put my full attention on my work, rather than half on my work and half on the disasters going on around the world. I also suspect that if I relax and stop trying to force the words and start enjoying myself then I've got a greater chance of writing an entertaining novel. Perhaps you don't have to start off in a funny mood to write funny, but you have to be open to the right mood coming along.

If all fails there are always the Minions... 

Monday 8 July 2013

6 Things To Do While Waiting for News

Just to be clear, I'm not waiting for news. From anybody. But if I were waiting for news, say from publishers, or not from publishers, from anyone really, then these are some things I might channel my restless energy into, if I had any restless energy, which I don't. Obviously if I were waiting to hear from publishers, the sensible thing would be just to get on with my next novel, which I am, I mean, I would be, if I were waiting, which I'm not.  

Organise tights into freezer bags -  Once a no-go area, my tight drawer is now a tourist attraction.  


Learn to Make Bread - Ideal if your local Londis closes for refurbishments. They say you shouldn't name your food, but if I were to make bread, I'd probably give every loaf a name beginning with 'B'.   

Grow a Tomato - Just one will do. Play 'spot the tomato' with friends and family. 

Listen to Inappropriate Music while Exercising - What's the rush? Jog so slowly you're virtually running backwards while listening to the steady rhythm of 'The Final Judgement' (El Juicio Final) by Lucho Beltran.

(Lyrics) 'No one is anyone on this earth, Because this earth isn't ours. We're here for a long time, then we die and others are born...' Yeah, feel that stretch!

Listen to The Final Judgement

Put Your Face in a Letter - is a free, easy to learn version of Photoshop. Great for making blog headers... maybe, I've never tried.  

Front Cover
Meditate - Spend 20 minutes each morning accepting and detaching yourself from your repetitive thoughts.

"Every thought pretends it matters so much. It wants to draw your attention in completely. Here is a new spiritual practice for you: don't take your thoughts too seriously," - Ekhart Tolle

Anyway, just a few things I might do if I were waiting for news, which I'm not. If I were I'd have photographic evidence, wouldn't I?  

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