Writing Humor

Konigsberg’s award winning novel.

Recently I read an interview that Lee Wind did with Bill Konigsberg about Konigsberg’s novel, Openly Straight.  Openly Straight recently won the Sid Fleischman award for humor writing.  Konigsberg talks about writing humorous scenes in a novel that is not necessarilly comic.

Here are some of Konigsberg’s tips:

  • When you rewrite, keep the funny.  Cut what isn’t.
  • When you are going about your non-writing day and a funny phrase pops into your head, write it down.  Message yourself.  Leave a voice mail.  Do whatever it takes.
  • Keep track of these funny bits because inspired is often funnier than revised.
  • In fiction, funny for funny’s sake doesn’t necessarily work.  It also needs to move the story along.

These tips really hit home with me because so many authors talk about revising things to make them funnier.  In my own writing experience, funny things pop into my head or they don’t.  Yes, I can sometimes take a funny bit and make it funnier but the thoughts just kind of pop into my head in some kind of freeform humorous flightly inspiration.  I can’t analyze somethign and make it funnier.  I can’t contemplate it or think about it and get there. I just have to helter skelter stumble right into the middle of it.

Maybe, just maybe, I’m not the only one.

You can read the entire interview here.


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