Someone asked me recently if I laugh at my own jokes while I’m writing.
Though I have an uncomfortable acceptance of my place as a comic fantasy writer, I also must admit that I do write some funny stuff now and then. Often even intentionally. But I don’t laugh while writing it, and I don’t laugh while readng it. Which is strange because anyone who knows me will tell you I laugh a lot. Just not much at funny books, either my own or others.
There is a notable exception though. I tend to laugh while reading my writing aloud. I don’t know why, but there’s something about hearing it, even from my own lips, that will make me chuckle. Sometimes it surprises even me. This is probably why I should never do my own audio books.
Sometimes, the laughter makes sense. If I wrote something a while ago, odds are good I don’t remember every single word. It can be a pleasant surprise to stumble across something funny I wrote and forgot about, almost like discovering a buried treasure you buried yourself.
Other times, there’s just something about hearing it aloud that makes me laugh. Yesterday, at my writer’s group (the ever-lovin’ blue eyed DFW Writer’s Workshop) I made myself chuckle twice. It’s something I try not to do because I’m looking for honest opinions and trying not to taint the listeners with my own performance.
But this isn’t surprising, really, because I have a tendency to laugh at my own jokes, which is a bit uncouth. Nobody on sitcoms does that, no matter how witty and clever they are. And it always bugs me in comic fiction when the author points out that everyone laughed at a joke in order to remind us that this is supposed to be funny. It’s the literary equivalent of the laugh track, and I dislike laugh tracks.
It also hurts my protests that I’m not a comic fantasy writer when I can’t help but laugh at my own stuff.
I think it’s okay to admit that I’m fairly clever. I’m not going to quantify that, but I do make a living writing stories and, hopefully, amusing people with my wit, humor, and imagination. And a love of giant fightin’ robots and jetpack gorillas. Humility comes with the knowledge that there are a lot of clever folks out there. I just happen to be lucky enough to get paid for it. And getting paid for it is really mostly a matter of persistence and luck since I know lots of clever, witty folks who are still waiting for their big break. All I know is that I recently got a royalty check for writing a story about a raccoon god who wastes most his time watching television, and that has to count for something.
Fighting the good fight, Writing the good write,