Tag Archives: comedy

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Let it Lie, Let it Lie

“I’m Anna Nomly, and we are the “Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle” society.”

That’s a line from chapter one of what will, of course I’m going to say this at this point in the process, be undoubtedly the YA RomCom runaway hit of some year to be determined. I’m putting it in the same high school as the YA I’m working on marketing as I, well, no, not right this minute, but during this same general time.

My goals for the year include getting a start on another project by the end of February, so, by gum, I’m on track. I’ve also been entering contests as they come up. RWA contests, that is. Amongst other things, they tend to give actual feedback. Not the big national contest, but the local chapter contests. So far I’ve entered everything I’m eligible to enter. My goals say I’ll keep doing that all year. Unless, of course, I win the big national contest. Stranger things have happened; I’ll let you know when that does.

Of course, there is a foil to the “Like a Fish Needs a Bicycle” society. If you want to know what it is, you’ll have to wait until later. To be honest, I have two pages written, and this is my first overt comedy novel. Should be fun. You know, ’cause it’s a comedy. You know, funny.

Man, you need to lighten up!


Breaking Up Ain’t Hard, It’s Beautiful*

Close to (my) home: a sculpture inside City Center on the Las Vegas Strip.
Close to (my) home: a sculpture inside City Center on the Las Vegas Strip.

*So long as I’m not involved in any way.

People ask about inspiration, where you get your muse, where do you get your ideas, that sort of thing. Fair enough. I hope I get known enough for my writing to get tired of answering that one, but for now, I’d have to say it all comes out of my own experience and imagination. Leaving aside the question of whether tough emotional times may make for more creativity, I have a peculiarity in my tastes in music. I’m not sure what it means, but it has to be pretty well infused throughout my sense of self. I like breakup songs.

There are a lot of them, too. For instance, Southern Cross by Stephen Stills. Or, one of my favorites because of how it’s often used, Good Riddance (Time of Your Life) from Green Day. Don’t the people who pick songs for graduations and such ever listen to the lyrics? Or read the titles? Crimony! Good Riddance, indeed. And, one of my favorites from away back is The Last Thing on My Mind by Tom Paxton. I started what was to be a comprehensive list of breakup songs I like, but I can’t find it, other than that I know it’s on my Surface Pro somewhere. Might be out on my cloud drive. I’ve searched, I haven’t found it.

But that is an odd thing, isn’t it? Or is it normal? Is it like humor, and I like it because it isn’t happening to me? They aren’t funny (usually) are they?

Heck, you tell me. Should I be worried because I enjoy songs about breaking up? Should I?

What’s on Your Bookshelf?

This Boat Takes You On A Tour of New York Harbor (Harbour?)
This Boat Takes You On A Tour of New York Harbor (Harbour?)

They don’t use those sails for much, but they look pretty. So.

Every so often I like to say something about reference materials for writers. Not that they change all that much, but still, it’s good to refresh one’s memory from time to time. So, what follows are mercifully short reviews of some of my favorites.

First, in the spirit of knowing the rules in order to break them, is The Elements of Style, by Strunk and White. If I need to say more, are you sure you want to be a writer?

I like humor, both as something to produce, and as a topic. As an introduction to how to be funny, I recommend The Comic Toolbox: How to Be Funny Even if You’re Not by John Voorhaus. The title says it all. I wish some of the bosses I’ve had over the years had read this. (Do bosses read, anyway?)

For Characterization, I have two favorites. They compliment each other. The first is Goal, Motivation, and Conflict by Debra Dixon. For an excellent overview of how to set up and use internal and external motivation to propel your characters and your story, this book is hard to beat. Like a specific guide to character types? Then, I recommend The Complete Writer’s Guide to Heroes and Heroines, by Tami D. Cowden, Caro LaFever, and Sue Viders. What happens if a Chief meets a Librarian? Find out in this book.

For an overview of developing your skills and becoming a writer, I recommend On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft by Stephen King. I think Stephen and I attended the same Writers’ Workshop at different places and different times. It’s also quite well written, as you’d expect.

Finally, one I haven’t read yet, but intend to because I like his stories, is Damn Fine Story by Chuck Wendig. I’ll review it after I read it. Look for me on Amazon, per usual.

The links in each paragraph are to the book in question for sale on Amazon.com. You may buy any of them wherever fine books are sold.


This is Just Not Funny!

And there’s a reason for that. Comedy, you see, involves a lot of writing. And I like to write! Heck, I’m writing even as I write this, right? But I have other stuff to write, too. Like a couple more middle grade readers to polish up, and a really nice YA romance, that I do believe will be a hit, which I’m still polishing up. And then there’s the house, which cleans not itself, and I have to do maintenance on the place inside and out, and, well, that leaves roughly zero time for writing funny bits. Which is too bad, because I really like doing funny bits. So that’s why this, and not much else I’ve published lately, just isn’t funny. Don’t laugh! It really isn’t!

But, here is a writing tip for you, one that works for me, at least. It can be quite funny, if you write funny stuff, so pay attention.

I use the Voice Recorder app that comes with Windows. Pretty much any version, if memory serves. For Windows 10 it has gotten simpler looking and more sophisticated. Here’s a thumbnail of how it looks when open:

The voice recorder as seen with Windows 10.
The voice recorder as seen with Windows 10.

You can see that it looks clean, and if you enlarge the picture by clicking on it you’ll see that it pretty much explains itself. If there are no recordings in the default location, the entire screen is white except for the microphone icon. Now, Windows isn’t the only program with such a feature. Heck, I have one on my Droid, and if Apple doesn’t provide one, you should flush that sucker and get a real computer, but of course they do. Have one, I mean.

What I’ve been doing is to read each chapter into the voice recorder, then listening to the recording the next day. Whilst doing both things I make changes, or if the change is large, making notes in the Word document that is my manuscript. I find that I frequently say things that I meant to write, but something, I don’t know what, made me type in a stiffer phrase. Seriously, this has been working great, and I commend the effort to your attention.

If you try listening to your own dictation, I’ll bet you’ll be surprised at what you learn about your own writing. I know I sure do!


Comedy Last Nite

Okay, a little late when I got in last night, so I’m posting this morning. I was out at Haza Las Vegas, in Chinatown, trying out a new short set. Meh. But, it was a fun evening, all the same, thanks to Leo Gets and his partners. There was a $50 prize for the performer voted the best. That brought it to two singers (a couple of lovely chanteuses) and half a dozen comics. I didn’t win (I’d have been disappointed in the voting if I had) but the guy who did got my vote, so everything was fine at the end.

Haza serves Yakatori amongst other things; it’s a Japanese restaurant in Chinatown (on Jones) run by a bunch of Polacks, so you know it has to be good. There is comedy every Wednesday, usually professionals, not open mike. They serve a special comedy show drink, but I have no idea what’s in it. It costs $4.50. They have specials on Sapporo beer, too, and sake. There’s also a special comedy menu from 7PM, and the show starts at 8. Check it out!

Blog Day

I hereby declare Wednesday to be “Blog Day.”

Shhhhhhyyyyeah. Sure.

Anyhow, I put it into my calendars, so I’ll be getting reminders about it, so maybe. We’ll see. But for now, here’s what I’m up to this week.

In the world of real estate I have one condo for sale and two rentals. One of the rentals has been hit with a lot of vandalism as it sat empty. It took me months to get the owner in Kentucky to understand what was happening here in the big city. He lives in Bowling Green, a nice college town, where people are not so eager to mess with other people’s stuff. But, enough about real estate. Check my pages on Facebook if you want more of that.

In the world of writing, I have a middle-grader ready to pitch, assuming I can find someone to pitch to. I’ve joined RWA for the quality of their conference, in particular since a fellow children’s’ writer, Jay Asher, has so heartily endorsed them. Tami has been a member since forever, even served on the board once upon a time. I’m looking forward to the conference. I have begun plowing very slowly through my YA romance, about a chapter at a time, trying to make it read well and all. I’m up to page 15. Don’t hold your breath, but it shall be done.

And then there’s stand-up. I took two courses from Philip Paredo, a recent import to Las Vegas who is a comic and also runs Tickle Me Entertainment. I haven’t decided how far to pursue this field yet, but this very night I plan to be at Legends on Boulder Highway for open mic night, starting at 9pm. Don’t go there to see just me, ’cause I may not make it, but I’m going to try. Go there if you want to hear some fresh comics, though. Definitely for that.

I’m hoping to get additional creative juices flowing through this blog, so if you want to help out in comments or whatever, and tell me what you’re up to, or trade links, you know the drill, I’m open to that.

I’ll see you, I hope, next week. Same bat time, same bat channel.