Last night I was talking to my co-author for an upcoming book. We were discussing an entertaining story we had seen shared online in an occupational forum. We both work in the casino world as dealers for a day job and a dealer from another casino had shared a great come back line they had witnessed. It is often a subject among dealers on breaks as to what the best way to handle particular players / bosses / other dealers would be.
As we read through the story, laughing the entire time, it struck us that we may have a problem with the book we are writing. Our's is supposed to be a funny, snarky, sarcastic book but we aren't sure if it will come across that way or as a lecture which not only could but probably would be quite off-putting to those venturing into its pages. The problem is, after a great deal of discussion, we have no idea how to fix it. We don't even know if it needs to be fixed or not.
Humor writing is an art. Technically all writing is an art but there is a subtlety to the nuances of humor writing that can easily be lost for someone unfamiliar with the style. I have been told in person I can be very funny. In person however, it is a performance piece. I am a perform by nature and can use pauses, facial expressions and gestures to help the story along. Writing to make people laugh is much more difficult.
Many of the stories I share in the book I have told to friends and family. They have all laughed and ad follow up conversations but again, inflection can go a long way. Currently I am reading books in the genre of humor / satire in order to try and find some ways to help my own work along. Sometimes there are just parts of the process that are harder than others.
People believe that writing comes naturally for authors, and in many ways it does. Most of us see stories playing out in our minds, hear characters talking to us and have that nagging need to get words on paper before they drive us crazy. What may not come naturally is writing in a particular genre. I write drama. I have serious books covering serious and sometimes difficult topics. Writing to make people laugh is not a task I have ever tried before. I know the subject matter works from the in person deliveries I have attempted, now I just need to find out if it will translate to the written form as well.