I’m not a funny person – well not ha-ha funny anyway. I can only ever remember one joke* and I definitely don’t tell ’em well.
I do like a funny book, though, and it would be wonderful to be able to bring a touch of joy and humour to my (future) reader’s lives, so I was absolutely well up for last week’s writer’s workshop with Abigail Mann.
It also coincided with the end of a couple of very trying work days and I was hoping for some light relief.
Calm down, I told myself, she’s not a stand-up comedian. And though she’s not, she was far better – she taught us how to make ourselves laugh. Abigail set us to work with a set of prompts to brainstorm with, and a mission to tie them together into a funny scene.
I sat there and literally nothing came to mind, at least nothing that wasn’t an awful cliche. But then Abigail set out some guidelines for us, a set of tools to draw out and amplify the funny in almost any situation. Before long I’d re-written my scene into something original that was making me grin.
I watched a cascade of comedy situations coming through the Zoom chat and knew that my fellow writing nerds had been similarly inspired.
And while I don’t think I’m quite ready to throw my bleak sci-fi or post-apocalyptic stories in the bin to work on something laugh-out-loud funny, I am definitely better equipped to bring some gallows humour, or maybe even some comic relief into my work.
Abigail Mann, my (future) readers salute you.
*What’s large, grey and doesn’t matter? An Irrelephant