What's So Funny?


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Wikipedia defines wit as "...a form of intelligent humour, the ability to say or write things that are clever and usually funny. Forms of wit include the quip, repartee, and wisecrack."

Who hasn't thought of the perfect quip or comeback a minute, hour, or day after your conversation has ended? There’s a name for that phenomenon -- l’esprit de l’escalier, the spirit of the staircase, which refers to the perfect retort that arises at the wrong time. 

Writers have that gift of time--if the perfect line doesn't come to you in the first draft, you have revisions to hone your prose.

I write to expand my communication capabilities and to stretch my mind. To that end, I plan to take a romantic suspense book I wrote a few years ago, but never published, and revise it as a romantic comedy.

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Oh, it will stretch my mind and capabilities! The problem is, no one who knows me would say I’m a “fun” person. I get things done, games aren’t something I enjoy. 

 

 

But I like to find humor in things, make puns, and create fun new words like awesumma (awesome with a Latin twist). Humor and word play are skills I’d like to improve and I expect it to be an enjoyable pursuit.

Humor combines with wit in one of my favorite figures of speech, the paraprosdokian. This is found in a sentence or phrase where the latter part is surprising or unexpected and causes the reader to reframe or reinterpret the first part.

Here are a few examples from Winston Churchill, a master of the paraprosdokian. More examples can be found here.

  • If I agreed with you, we'd both be wrong.
  • I didn't say it was your fault, I said I was blaming you.
  • I used to be indecisive. Now I'm not so sure.

Similarly, authors need to find fresh ways to express familiar phrases. Instead of her heart pounded, readers are more engaged with her heart hammered like a metalsmith on six Red Bulls.

Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash
Photo by Giulia Bertelli on Unsplash

 



 

 

See the difference? 

So, here's hoping my funny bone isn't broken and I can turn my romantic suspense story into a light-hearted, smile-inducing romance. Reading other romance comedies for research is a lot of fun!

Photo by Cathal Mac an Bheatha on Unsplash



 

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