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Writing Humor - Natural Talent or Hard Work?

Discussion in 'Fan Fiction and Writing Resource' started by JadeDjo, Mar 30, 2004.

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Writing Humor - Natural Talent or Hard Work?

Poll closed Mar 25, 2012.
  1. Natural Talent

    22.4%
  2. Hard Work

    4.9%
  3. Both

    72.7%
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  1. JadeDjo

    JadeDjo Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 14, 2004
    Unlocking and upping.
     
  2. JadeDjo

    JadeDjo Jedi Master star 2

    Registered:
    Feb 14, 2004
    I have always been fascinated with people who are able to write humorous stories. And I'm not talk a small chuckle, no the really funny ones where you fall out of your chair laughing. Are those people just naturally talented in their writing? Or is it something they have work at, writing draft after draft until they get it right?

    Love to know what you all think!
     
  3. obaona

    obaona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Both. I think some people can just write it so easily - vader_incarnate, anyone? [face_mischief] - and others have to work at it. I know when I started trying to write humor, I learned a lot from my co-writer (the person above) in how to write humor, and why things are funny. That experience really helped me write things like It Got Too Hot and the others in the Temperature Series. :p

    So I suppose it also depends on the person. For me it is a combination (I did write humor before), but others just seem to be able to do it. Elli makes me laugh so easily - and not just in writing, but everyday conversation. ;)
     
  4. ColorNShape

    ColorNShape Jedi Youngling

    Registered:
    Mar 29, 2004
    While trying to not sound like a professor, I believe I can help with humor. If you're talking about situational humor, however, I can't help. This genre seems more suited to quips and quick, funny events that deliver a laugh then move on.

    Humor is almost always an unexpected grouping of words. If you want funny dialogue, simply write something unexpected. Irony is really good. That is usually the opposite and in mockery of what is expected. If you want the charachter to say something funny, try the opposite of the expected response.

    More than anything, though, never be happy with what you've typed. Expect perfection from yourself. If you think someone else could write the sentence better, rewrite it. And rewrite it, and rewrite it. It's easy to write an interesting story. What gets you book deals is writing an interesting story with great skill.

    Though not published or recognized as great yet, I still laugh out loud at things I've written. Don't underestimate the power of writing from the very top of your head. Sometimes that's where the funniest stuff is hiding. matt

     
  5. Dev_Binks

    Dev_Binks Jedi Knight star 6

    Registered:
    Aug 7, 2003
    Humor, or Humour, is one of those things that I don't see in my own work until someone shows me it. I've never realy tried humor, but I do it naturally.
     
  6. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    I agree with not recognizing it in my own work until it's shown to me. Like I'm helping write Swings and Roundabouts, definitely intended to be humorous, and in my last scene, I had a hapless Padawan lose his lunch all over a catering truck driver. I posted a few minutes later to say it was a taste of things to come and apparently that was funny, but I hadn't meant it to be. I know that for me, writing humor is hard work, since i'm a very subtle person, sometimes you have to think hard to get when I'm trying to be funny. If you doubt humor is hard work, watch Topsy-Turvy.
     
  7. NarundiJedi

    NarundiJedi Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 8, 2001
    I guess I'll vote for both, even though I wouldn't call watching comedy movies and sitcoms 'work'. :p

    I figure if I watch enough comedies then eventually I'll discover a formula or recipe for funny. I'm leaning more toward the "recipe" side of things - certain amounts of certain things create funny, and adding too much or too little of some of the parts can make the end product yucky.

    In order to get the parts of the recipe, you need to read, watch TV and watch movies. It works for me! :D

    Jae Angel
     
  8. sidious618

    sidious618 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Apr 20, 2003
  9. dianethx

    dianethx Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Mar 1, 2002
    I think writing humor is like anything else. You have to work at it and never accept anything less than the best you can do. I've been told that I write humor but I don't really see it. I write irony but my friends laugh at it so I guess it's funny.
     
  10. Jedikma

    Jedikma Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2004
    I think it is both.

    There are some people who are naturally humorous but you have to be careful how you use it and where you place it in a story and that takes practice.

    :) :D
     
  11. Jaina_Solo_15

    Jaina_Solo_15 Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Dec 5, 2002
    I would say it's a bit of both. Humor seems to come very easily for some people and not so easily for others. Some people have to work hard to write good humore.
     
  12. Herman Snerd

    Herman Snerd Jedi Master star 6

    Registered:
    Oct 31, 1999
    One thing that always amazed me about writing with the Gonks (that reference is probably lost on many of you) was how a group of people could be so consistently funny. It didn't matter who was writing, they could always make me laugh.

    Granted it wasn't sophisticated humor all the time, but given how many different people wrote it it's still pretty amazing.
     
  13. Xaara

    Xaara Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Jun 30, 2002
    Both. Some people are naturally witty and amusing, but that does not make them natrually good comic writers. Writing humor is just like any other form of writing - it improves with time, patience, and good honest work.
     
  14. VaderLVR64

    VaderLVR64 Manager Emeritus star 8 VIP - Former Mod/RSA

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2004
    I think it's both. My mom is just a funny person and even when I look on the backs of baby photographs she has some hilarious comments. I mean the kind that makes you just snort with laughter even if you're in the middle of a group of people. So, she writes funny very well. And I think there are TIMES when it is easier to write humor than others. Oddly enough for me, I tend to write funnier stuff if my life isn't going too well. Not GREAT funny stuff, mind you, but funnier. Of course, I do have an odd sense of humor, which my daughter has inherited. Not exactly high-brow humor but we have fun!
     
  15. Stormtrooper_Shrink

    Stormtrooper_Shrink Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 11, 2004
    Anybody ever read P. G. Wodehouse? Now that's classic humour. He abided by the same rule VaderLVR seems to - he wrote funnier stuff when he was depressed.

    It's a bit of both, like everyone says. Most of my humour is pretty weird, and it's not really hard work (which is why it's weird), but, er...

    Anyway. :D
     
  16. Sebulba2179

    Sebulba2179 Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Feb 5, 2002
    I have to go with natural talent. I find that writing humour depends largely on the territory; are you trying to maintain some kind of characterisation and proper setting, or does anything go? In an "anything goes" fic like the infamous "Skywalkers/Solos" series, or a diary or chatroom-themed story, I find it miles easier to write humourously; there are no character constraints or realistic setups to worry about, because it's pure parody. In the only attempt I've thus far made to write a canon-ish humour story, I've found it very hard to be even remotely funny while staying true to the canon elements. Dialogue is just about the only place I can hack it, short of engaging in brainless physical comedy.
     
  17. DarthIshtar

    DarthIshtar Jedi Grand Master star 9

    Registered:
    Mar 26, 2001
    I read P.G. Woodehouse. Hilarious stuff! Gilbert and Sullivan are good examples of both.
     
  18. AERYN_SUN

    AERYN_SUN Jedi Knight star 5

    Registered:
    Apr 1, 2001
    I think it comes down to talent. I have a weird sense of humor and when that it is translated into fanfiction, a small phrase that may seem absolutely hilarious in my mind, well, my readers may not understand or even catch the joke.

    ~aeryn
     
  19. Lonewolf89

    Lonewolf89 Jedi Master star 5

    Registered:
    Sep 26, 2001
    I think it's a little of both, though it may lean more toward natural talent. Some people can work very hard at it, but it's never quite as good as some other people's writing.
     
  20. XackAttack

    XackAttack Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Oct 2, 2001
    Through grade school, I was always told I was a gifted writer, and my teachers always submitted my work into composition and essay contests, and I won many, many times. To be honest, I never even tried that hard when writing papers.

    For example, in Literature, we had to write a poem for a contest and a grade. Before I continue, let me tell you I am not a poetic person at all. I never thought I was good at it, nor could I stand reading it. ANYWAYS, I did the poem last minute in about 2-3 minutes. It had to do with September 11th (which may had to have been a factor in the later winning), and it was simply entitled "Septermber Mourning." It was only 6 lines or so long, yet it won 1st place.

    Now, certainly that wasn't supposed to be a funny literary piece, but it certainly shows that writing IS mostly a talent - it's not completely hard work. But, then again, writing hilarious stories does take hard work, but what makes it funny is the persons talent.

    ~Zack V.
     
  21. AlrikFassbauer

    AlrikFassbauer Jedi Padawan star 4

    Registered:
    Apr 2, 2003
    Honestly, I cannot say.

    For about 10 years I was not able to write *any* form of homour into stories or poems, but since one or two years I experience the ability to do so - my dry humour people know me for. ;)

    I don't know how this developed. I'm clueless.
     
  22. Lady-Kenobi

    Lady-Kenobi Jedi Master star 3

    Registered:
    Mar 5, 2003
    Dying is easy. Comedy is HARD.
     
  23. Excellence

    Excellence Jedi Knight star 7

    Registered:
    Jul 28, 2002
    If you want witty lines that are both smooth and sound natural for someone in the SW galaxy, check out Hero's Trial and especially Cloak of Deception. Two books whose banter and dialogue paryicularly in the outlaw characters' scenes were commendable.

    Tatooine Ghost was another book that had smooth, easy carefree lines between Solo and Leia.
     
  24. MariahJade2

    MariahJade2 Former Fan Fiction Archive Editor star 5 VIP

    Registered:
    Mar 18, 2001
    There is a lot of good banter in the X-Wing and Wraith Squadron books as well.
     
  25. obaona

    obaona Jedi Master star 4

    Registered:
    Jun 18, 2002
    Aaron Allston makes me swoon with laughter. [face_love]
     
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