Saturday, October 22, 2011

Comedy Comparisons

Just a thought today...

My husband and I love Brian Regan. Have you heard of him? He's a comedian and he's awesome!
Just yesterday, we stuck on his CD (You Too and Stuff) and I was thinking about how writing YA is a lot like being a comedian.

Even if you aren't intending to write something humorous in your novel, you still need to keep the reader's attention. Scattered throughout, a comedian links back to previous jokes, creating a full circle of fun. The jokes can't be cliche, or people won't laugh. New and unexpected elements brought in make the audience do a double take and keep their attention glued to the comedian. And have you noticed something?

WHEN SOMEONE IS LAUGHING SO HARD AT SOMETHING: it doesn't matter what the comedian says next, the audience is still laughing. Still engaged.

So, my thought is this: You may not need to be constantly 'on one', but you do need to consistently bring in new and unexpected elements that gather a person up and make them not want to let go. Hitting a strong emotional cord and keeping up the momentum can really turn a reader's mild interest into a full-blown relationship with a book.

Also, a comedian doesn't take his time explaining why he said something funny. He just keeps cranking it out, hoping you'll keep up. Because you will. Readers/viewers are smart. We can keep up with a myriad of ideas, even if they come side by side. So, here's the challenge: PUT MORE into your work. Each chapter I write, I promise to add even more emotion as I go through revisions. This will help make my book engage the reader and help them relate to my characters (if I do it properly =).

And for your listening pleasure (sorry, I didn't have this live), here is a little bit from the genius himself, Brian Regan:

Enjoy!! And hope this inspires you. (more than my mismatched ideas!)

Who knows, maybe I'll post more of these later. I just love his stuff!


Jess said...

Hi Kathryn!

Just wanted to reply to your comment on my Little Women post~ I completely agree with you, and know that Marmee's trying to teach Jo to curb her temper (I just thought it might be fun to see what a bunch of writers would think about the severity of the crime/punishment) :) One of the reasons I love Little Women is exactly because of what you mentioned. The morals and the ethics and the visible mention of ways to find guidance in various places (family, God, etc.).

Love your comparison of comedy acts to writing, and I look forward to listening to Brian Regan after leaving this comment!

Kathryn Packer Roberts said...

Thanks for your comment, Jess! Yes, like I said, I would totally be as upset as Jo was to find her MS all burnt up. How very sad. I love that book!