Saturday 5 July 2014

A matter of timing:

Here's the thing - I'm reading these reviews of Prince of Fools and I'm seeing 'hilarious' and 'I laughed out loud' and that's good because I was definitely hoping to raise a smile in several places.

The thing though - the thing is that I'm not a terribly funny guy. Here I am in the cut-throat dog eat elephant world of publishing being told I am funny - but as a kid in a class of 30 damned if anyone would have put me in the top 5 'funny kids' let alone be cool enough to hang with the cool kids. I can't tell a joke to save my life, and my 'witty' lines are lucky to raise a wry smile if I speak them.

So, timing... like most people I'm on the bus home when I think of something cutting/funny I _should_ have said in the moment. Writing changes the timing. It's not _just_ giving you more time though. I don't agonize over my lines. I don't spend hours thinking 'what will be funny here' - I just type out what happens at about 30 words a minute...

Even so, whatever humour I possess seems to morph from shandy to whiskey when written out... text is clearly my medium!

I used to run a play-by-mail game with many players. I ran it for 10 years or so and after a while I started running table-top sessions for some of the players once or twice a year. It was quite a shock meeting them. Some of those who came across the most intelligent, witty, and plain hilarious on paper were awkward, reserved and plain unfunny in person. Whereas some who seemed barely literate and deeply confused on paper were charismatic laugh-riots in person.

Hopefully the contrast with me isn't quite as extreme as some of those cases, but the fact remains, that I'm a very different person on paper. Be warned!


  1. Most of the serious writers I know are introverts (or, as in my case, true nerds). We searched for some other creative avenue because we weren't funny/popular/etc., so I wouldn't expect razor one-liners darting out of the mouth of an author (just out of the keystrokes).

    [PS- Dammit, now I miss role playing again.]

  2. Yeah, I've noticed this too -funnily enough I was thinking about it on the way home today- but for me its the opposite. I'm an aspiring writer and apparently I'm very witty in person but on paper I can barely get a joke in...