Funny. This is a word that’s been on my mind a lot lately. Especially since I’m going to be doing a mini-session on the topic of writing comedy into romance at my RWA chapter’s retreat in a couple of weeks. (What’s really funny is how terrified I am about that…)
I’ve written some funny stuff. To me, anyway. I go back and read parts of Lucky in Love and just giggle. But what’s cool is that in the course of researching for this class, I’ve found out why some of that stuff is so funny and how to do it on purpose, instead of just sticking words and scenarios out there and hoping they make your readers laugh. No presentation spoiler alerts here, since I’m not going too much in depth, but some of the most interesting info I got was about word choice and letter sounds.
Take, for example, the “K” sound. To illustrate this point, here’s a quote from Neil Simon’s play, The Sunshine Boys:
Words with the `k’ sound in them are funny. Casey Stengel, that’s a funny name. Robert Taylor is not funny. Cupcake is funny. Tomato is not funny. Cookie is funny. Cucumber is funny. Car keys. Cleveland…Cleveland is funny. Maryland is not funny. Then, there’s chicken. Chicken is funny. Pickle is funny.
It’s true–Maryland really isn’t funny! Just kidding, Marylanders, but it got me wondering whether I used a lot of “K” sounds in Lucky and, if so, whether that made things more funny. Here’s a random excerpt from chapter nine:
There were times over the past decade that I’d convinced myself that I’d forgotten all about Chance. After all, for a lot of years, he was just my annoying brother’s annoying friend that practically lived at our house. One of my earliest memories of Chance was when I was six years old. I punched him in the nose because he held me down while Jack stole my favorite Barbie, cut off all her hair, used a Sharpie to make her anatomically correct, and zip-tied her to the top of our Christmas tree. I got grounded to my room, while Chance got three chocolate chip cookies, a wad of gauze and lots of sympathy from my mom for his bloody, grotesquely-swollen nose. Mom said we had to be nice to him because he had a bad home life, but I was just mad because I had to miss Punky Brewster.
Lots of “K” sounds, but I’m pretty sure they were coincidental. Do you have opinions on what makes writing funny?