28 April 2009

Humor Writing / Character Consistency

Humor writing continues to be in great demand = as always, comic relief keeps the darkness at bay.

Writers with the gift or innate talent to write funny lines make it look easy. It's not. As with most aspects of writing, humor writing can be taught: timing, subject matter, and how to keep from crossing over to satire. With humor writing, the reader laughs along with the characters. Satire holds human folly and vice up to scorn, derision, or ridicule and causes the reader to laugh at the characters or at least at the characters' action.

Good humor writing can blur aspects of character development, dramatic action, and even thematic significance when going for a laugh. A character can even act "out of character," if doing so is funny and furthers the story.

In the end, however, humor writing like every other genre in that the story at its core is still about the protagonist's transformation. Humor writers, like all writers, benefit from plotting out in logical and meaningful character change step-by-step to the ultimate transformation that drives the Climax. The character who delivers the punch line at the end of the story behaves differently at the Climax than the character we're introduced to in the Beginning. At its deepest level, that change is what the story is about.

At the Climax, the protagonist faces her biggest fear, deadliest antagonists, most taxing test, deepest prejudice. This is the moment the entire story has been steadily marching toward.

After the Climax, the energy of the story immediately drops. In the Resolution, the character acts in her newly transformed way. This reinforces that her new skills are fully integrated in her new life. The character, now surrounded by allies, has nothing to fear. Here, at the end, she demonstrates her new behavior with ease and great humor.