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Offline kw3000

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Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« on: March 08, 2018, 01:44:36 PM »
I know it's good advice for writers to read widely, but I just wanted to point out that I'm also finding it fun and instructive to read comedic works while I attempt to write something humorous myself. I find watching funny movies and TV shows also helps.

It doesn't mean I'm out to co-opt another writer's style, rather it sets a mood and inspires me to create some silliness of my own. Besides, how boring would it be to just copy what someone else is doing? But I do enjoy looking at what other writers do to elicit laughs, reading their work is picking their brains in a sense...in the least grossest interpretation of that phrase as possible.

Right now, I have three funny books on the go that I'm enjoying quite a lot:

Get Shorty by Elmore Leonard
A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole
Space Team by Barry J. Hutchison

Should also mention, I recently finished reading Steve Hely's hilarious novel: How I Became a Famous Novelist, and I highly recommend it.

Anyway, if you have any funny reads you found helpful in creating some humorous fiction and silly characters of your own, let me know. I'm always on the look out for stuff that inspires me to create and to get better.  8)

Ken Ward

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #1 on: March 08, 2018, 01:56:05 PM »
I always recommend Terry Pratchett

Whether you want a mystery, a political book, a religious book, whatever. He did it all with the Discworld series and all of them are hilarious.

Here's a reading order guide. I would start with the city watch...
https://www.discworldemporium.com/content/6-discworld-reading-order

Offline Indiecognito

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2018, 02:22:27 PM »
Dave Barry is hilarious. Helen Fielding is v. funny if the genre is women's lit or something similar. Either Sedaris.

Following someone like Megan Amram on Twitter is also good for daily laughs.

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #3 on: March 08, 2018, 03:15:13 PM »
Some of my favorites are David Sedaris, Jean Shepherd, Jenny Lawson, and Erma Bombeck. Shepherd has probably had the strongest influence on my work; I love the way he blends nostalgia and exaggeration to spin a good old-fashioned yarn. (And of course, if you've never read Jenny Lawson's bit about Beyonce the Chicken, you're really missing out.)

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Offline kw3000

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #4 on: March 08, 2018, 04:26:27 PM »
I always recommend Terry Pratchett

Whether you want a mystery, a political book, a religious book, whatever. He did it all with the Discworld series and all of them are hilarious.

Here's a reading order guide. I would start with the city watch...
https://www.discworldemporium.com/content/6-discworld-reading-order

Yes, I've got Pratchett in my reading queue. I can't believe it's taken me so long to read his work, but that is something I'll remedy in short order.

Dave Barry is hilarious. Helen Fielding is v. funny if the genre is women's lit or something similar. Either Sedaris.

Following someone like Megan Amram on Twitter is also good for daily laughs.

Haven't read any Dave Barry, is he similar to Hiaasen? I've heard of Helen Fielding, but haven't read any of her books, same for Sedaris. With Sedaris I've put off reading him mainly because he writes non-fic and I'm usually more drawn to the made up stuff. I'll have to look up Megan Amram on Twitter, always looking for good follows there and folks who aren't too toxically political.

Some of my favorites are David Sedaris, Jean Shepherd, Jenny Lawson, and Erma Bombeck. Shepherd has probably had the strongest influence on my work; I love the way he blends nostalgia and exaggeration to spin a good old-fashioned yarn. (And of course, if you've never read Jenny Lawson's bit about Beyonce the Chicken, you're really missing out.)

Have added Lawson and Bombeck to my list, though Bombeck is mostly non-fic, no? Am I wrong about that? Not familiar with Lawson, so I'll have to look her up. I believe 'A Christmas Story' was based on a book by Jean Shepherd. I really like that movie, but again he's non-fiction isn't he?

Gosh, I guess I'm coming across rather pretentious with my whole "only interested in reading fiction" thing. lol I'll have to re-think that stance.  8)

Ken Ward

Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #5 on: March 08, 2018, 04:49:42 PM »
Haven't read any Dave Barry

That makes me sad.  Go forth and read some Dave.  Funny stuff.

Quote
Gosh, I guess I'm coming across rather pretentious with my whole "only interested in reading fiction" thing. lol I'll have to re-think that stance.  8)

Some of the most fascinating things I've ever read have been non-fiction.  You're missing out.
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Offline SueSeabury

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #6 on: March 08, 2018, 04:56:22 PM »
PG Wodehouse, Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones' Diary, not the new one. The movie was actually better. I cringe for HF for screwing that book up so badly), Douglas Adams, Philip Roth, Oscar Wilde, Bill Bryson, Sophia Kinsella, Mark Twain, Gerald Durrell, Tom Robbins, Nick Hornby.
re: Dave Barry. I adore him, and think he's way funnier than Hiaasen. I don't know why, but I hate Hiaasen's characters.
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Offline kw3000

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2018, 04:57:36 PM »
That makes me sad.  Go forth and read some Dave.  Funny stuff.

Some of the most fascinating things I've ever read have been non-fiction.  You're missing out.

You've given me pause, I'll have to re-structure my reading queue. *clears schedule*

Ken Ward

Offline kw3000

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2018, 04:59:16 PM »
PG Wodehouse, Helen Fielding (Bridget Jones' Diary, not the new one. The movie was actually better. I cringe for HF for screwing that book up so badly), Douglas Adams, Philip Roth, Oscar Wilde, Bill Bryson, Sophia Kinsella, Mark Twain, Gerald Durrell, Tom Robbins, Nick Hornby.
re: Dave Barry. I adore him, and think he's way funnier than Hiaasen. I don't know why, but I hate Hiaasen's characters.

Good list, some I have read, some I have not. And the reading list grows even longer.  :)

Ken Ward

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2018, 05:17:05 PM »


Have added Lawson and Bombeck to my list, though Bombeck is mostly non-fic, no? Am I wrong about that? Not familiar with Lawson, so I'll have to look her up. I believe 'A Christmas Story' was based on a book by Jean Shepherd. I really like that movie, but again he's non-fiction isn't he?

Gosh, I guess I'm coming across rather pretentious with my whole "only interested in reading fiction" thing. lol I'll have to re-think that stance.  8)

No, not pretentious at all! I'm the one who didn't read your post closely enough to catch the part where you said you were looking for funny fiction writers. My bad! All of the writers I mentioned are ones who write mostly non-fiction, memoir-type books. While I'm nowhere near being in their league yet, those are the sort of books I write, too. (Well, not my romance novels. Those are fictional, obviously. At this point in my life, I don't think I could write anything non-fiction about romance. Sigh.)

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Offline SueSeabury

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #10 on: March 08, 2018, 05:29:36 PM »
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Offline Tizzy

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #11 on: March 08, 2018, 05:35:06 PM »
Anyway, if you have any funny reads you found helpful in creating some humorous fiction and silly characters of your own, let me know. I'm always on the look out for stuff that inspires me to create and to get better.  8)

Well, there's of course Prattchett, which others have already mentioned. Can't read Prattchett and not like Adams either. But the other two guys whose funny books have helped my writing a lot are Snicket (his books get progressively darker as the series advances, but they're mostly funny at least until the tenth one) and Rankin. The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse is just the kind of book you know will make you laugh with just reading the title.

There's also my own novel too :D *shamelessly self-promotes*

Offline Jeff Tanyard

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #12 on: March 08, 2018, 05:55:43 PM »
Another vote for Wodehouse.   ;D
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Offline solo

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2018, 05:59:55 PM »
I am reading - An Idiot Abroad: The Travel Diaries of Karl Pilkington. This book is an accompaniment to the television series An Idiot Abroad. Hilarious. Understated humor.

Here's also another shameless self-promotion:
BONER the Barbarian ONLINE XIII: A LitRPG Satire. LOL. Though the release is by the end of March 2018. Wrote it for fun. LitRPG is going mainstream and Hollywood anyway. No, the main character didn't take an arrow in the knee.
« Last Edit: March 08, 2018, 06:07:49 PM by solo »

Offline It's A Mystery

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2018, 09:53:15 PM »
Wodehouse is not only funny, but the use of language is just incredible. The words dance on the page.

Offline joyceharmon

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #15 on: March 08, 2018, 09:59:46 PM »
For comedy of manners, Jane Austen and Georgette Heyer.

Offline vic6string

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #16 on: March 09, 2018, 08:24:18 AM »
I will add another vote for Dave Barry. I grew up reading his weekly column (alot of his stuff was syndicated, but he was a regular weekend feature in the Miami Herald back in the day). I like his shorter stuff (the newspaper columns and the shorter books like Babies and Other Hazards of Sex), and the one book I have published on Amazon (the one in my sig line) is very much in the Dave Barry style. I warn you, though, since most of his stuff is short and quick to read, it can become addictive as you can read most of it in one sitting so you don't mind doing multiple works back to back.

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Offline Madeline_Kirby

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #17 on: March 09, 2018, 08:44:40 AM »
I would add Christopher Moore to the list as well.

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Online TromboneAl

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #18 on: March 09, 2018, 10:01:00 AM »
Yes to reading in the style in which you want to write.

For example, I have a supernatural character who is from the early 1900s. He says things like this: 'Is this not a superb place for taking morning refreshment?' or 'You mock my manner of speech. Richly deserved. My attention has been frequently drawn to my custom, but I am hard pressed to avoid speaking as I do. Habits are not easily dispatched, and mine are particularly resilient.'

When I'm about to write a scene for him, I binge read something like Arthur Conan Doyle or Dickens.

For writing in a clear unadorned style, I'll binge read Lee Child or Grisham.

Although not fiction, take a look at McManus' funny books. For example, https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00723IMRQ/ref=dp-kindle-redirect?_encoding=UTF8&btkr=1

Same for Dave Barry.
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 10:04:18 AM by TromboneAl »

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Offline joyceharmon

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #19 on: March 09, 2018, 10:47:16 AM »
You know, I love Dave Barry and read his column and got a lot of his books, but I just have to say it - his 'would be a great name for a rock band' line stopped being funny after he'd used it about five dozen times.

Offline dkw

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #20 on: March 09, 2018, 06:39:12 PM »
I always recommend Terry Pratchett

Whether you want a mystery, a political book, a religious book, whatever. He did it all with the Discworld series and all of them are hilarious.

Here's a reading order guide. I would start with the city watch...
https://www.discworldemporium.com/content/6-discworld-reading-order

I'll second starting with city watch--Night Watch and Men at Arms are my favorite, but I also really enjoy Small Gods...you really just can't go wrong. A lesser known series but rather amusing: https://www.amazon.com/How-Succeed-Evil-Patrick-McLean-ebook/dp/B00589W1DM/ref=la_B004FOLK6K_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1520649477&sr=1-1
« Last Edit: March 09, 2018, 06:42:39 PM by dkw »
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Offline RightHoJeeves

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2018, 08:05:02 PM »
Thanks for the recommendations.

He doesnt do fiction, but I have not encountered a funnier writer than Bill Bryson. The perfect blend of dorkiness, self deprecation, acid, and charm.

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Offline kw3000

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2018, 08:24:13 PM »
So many books and authors to consider, yet so little time. A good problem to have, especially when it comes to reading humor. Thanks everyone for the suggestions.  8)

Ken Ward

Offline alawston

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Re: Sometimes reading funny can help you write funny
« Reply #23 on: March 10, 2018, 04:29:43 AM »
Robert Bevan's stuff is well worth a look, and the Red Dwarf novels by Grant Naylor (and later by Rob Grant and Doug Naylor separately) are also brilliant.

Plenty of people have already rightly mentioned Moore, Adams, Pratchett and Wodehouse. I've never quite gelled with Rankin's style, but in person he's an absolute gentleman. Tom Holt is sort of a mid-point between Rankin and Douglas Adams - I never fail to enjoy his books when I come across them, but I also never exactly seek them out.


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