Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Dying is Easy.

I'm semi-convinced the major reason the vast majority of comic books consist of people hitting other people (or things) is that writing fights is one of the easiest things to do in comic form. Even assuming the writer goes to the effort of coordinating the combat and describing it in sufficient detail that the page and panel composition don't rest entirely or almost entirely on the shoulders of the artist (which isn't safe to assume), it's still a lot easier to come up with something like:

HERO: YOU LITTLE %#*&, I'M GONNA KICK YOUR %#*&ING HEAD IN!
SFX: THWAMM!
VILLAIN: ARGH!

...than it is to make a page of talking heads (or even more active heads) say something interesting.

For whatever reason, the hardest material for me to write has always been comedy. When you're looking at a joke for the nineteenth time, it's difficult to remember why you thought it was funny to begin with. And the kind of comedy I tend to prefer, certainly as a reader--that of the Wodehouse/Adams/Pratchett variety--is all about the deft use of language for comedic effect. This kind of work isn't--or I can't imagine it being--off the cuff stuff. It's words that have been honed and refined, worked and reworked until they're perfect.

Frankly, it's not a lot of fun to write this sort of thing. But it's extremely rewarding when someone finds something I wrote to be funny. It's even better if I can find it funny myself, by viewing it through fresh eyes (usually eyes that haven't read the material for a couple years, run by a mind that doesn't remember writing it in the first place.)

When I'm writing something for which "being funny" is the primary goal, my approach is fairly simple: brainstorm as much stuff as possible, figure out if some of it's funny, try and figure out if some of it could possibly be funny with some work, toss the rest and then try and find a way to wedge the good stuff into a narrative framework (the looser the framework, the better.)

Which of course leads to a lot of material that never gets used.

As I was digging through the office a few minutes ago looking for something to write notes on, I came upon a few pages of stuff that appears to be the result of a comedy brainstorming session. And, as I've been exceedingly lax with the blogging lately but don't really have much I feel like talking about at the moment, I figured, hey, I wrote it, I might as well use it.

I can't be sure, but I'm guessing the following material was aimed at the script for a Platinum Studios project I created called JEST CAUSE (which remains one of my top five favourite scripts I've written to date). It might have been done for THE TOKEN GOBLIN, too...in any event, it reads as though I was aiming for comedic fantasy with it. I offer it unedited, warts and all, in the hopes that one of my half dozen readers will get some meagre entertainment value out of it. If you don't...well, you get what you pay for.

Here we go:

-All the fashionable lairs these days are built by Maurice, a former evil wizard whose fashion empire was built on a foundation of impeccable taste and bloodshed.

-It is said that history is written by the victors: Victor Conroy, Vic Hedges, and Victor Vincenzo were the heads of the historians guild.

-Not since pork chop leapt from frying pan has

-If all the world's a stage, then the gods are the director, writer, and largely the audience. The lives of the merely mortal are there to amuse and entertain them, but nobody but the gods gets to take a bow when the curtain falls.
They're desperate for appreciation. "Didn't I do good?" they ask, and the person they ask damn well better give them the right answer, lest they be well-damned.

-All things are relative. Necessity is the mother of Inventtion, and Madness merely the weird uncle of Ambition.

-There's a place for people who defy the gods, a place specially designed to make them wish they hadn't.

-"No, seriously, three of them, and they could talk and build houses. Well, one of them could, the other two just kind of stacked wood and straw up and prayed for good weather."

A

1 comment:

EFF said...

-Not since pork chop leapt from frying pan has

Please complete this sentence.