Writing comedy in your novels

I tend to write in specific genres: fantasy, dark fantasy, horror and young adult. One of the hardest things to do when writing in those pillars of literature is being able to inject some humor into your work.

Some of the best novels I’ve ever read are the ones that inject humor in the middle of heavy drama or between scares. A good punch line or a well-timed bit of irony, either in dialogue or description, can add good pacing to your writing.

But comedy is tough in general, not to mention in the written word. Much of it has to do with timing, just like it does in film and television. It takes a bit of work to cleverly craft your prose to lead up to a good one-liner or to accurately describe a funny situation when the crux of the story is centered around a more serious tone. The wrong wording, the wrong placement, the wrong usage can make a joke fall flat and become disruptive to the reader.

The last thing you want someone saying when they read your work is “where did that come from?” in a negative way.

As with anything, the best advice is to practice. What is funny in your head might not translate to paper, but just because it doesn’t immediately read back as funny doesn’t mean you should scrap the joke. Rework it, switch things around, play with what comes before and after the punchline and see what does work.

Your best help does come from friends and family. Never be afraid to show them your work. They know it’s in progress and they’ll often give you good suggestions. They can also be good sources for funny material as well. Take notes, observe, remember and apply.

Comedy is a big part of any genre if you use it correctly. Don’t be afraid to use it. Even in the most serious or most dramatic works of fiction, humor has a role – often an important role – in fiction.

Tree of Life: Chimera_Turning Point — Featuring Author KC Hunter

Samantha Geary has a new project called Chimera – a collaborative journey in epic writing, where I will interpret the cinematic scores of audiomachine’s Tree of Life album to create an original, music-driven tale. Previous chapters are listed HERE.

Readers who leave their feedback in the comments section below, will be entered to win an ebook of The Immanent World from our featured author, KC Hunter! The commenting window for each post will remain open until October 30th!

For more information on this project, please check out the Tree of Life blog online.

Painting Away

So, recently I’ve been adding more paintings to the collection for the first Dorian Delmontez book. It’s taking a long time (started last October) but is quite a fulfilling process in making the paintings and deciding which characters, environments, situations to convey through oils.

At some point, I hope to do a “behind-the-scenes” video.

As for the book itself, I’m in the second draft phase so hopefully it’ll come out before the end of the year. I’m quite busy with all these projects and living life but it is a goal of mine to get this book done right.

Indie Publishing in the year 2012

For every person you hear say that literature is dying, you’ll find another who says it’s thriving. It’s hard to really point to anything beyond book sales to gauge this, but it’s more likely that the industry is shifting more than anything else.

Today, it’s easier than ever to publish. It’s not so easy to get noticed. With a lot of publishing houses only going for guaranteed ROI (return on investment), fewer new authors are getting a push. This, however has given rise to the self-made author. This is basically a person who is a writer, a marketing exec, a distributor, a printer all wrapped up into one. It’s not easy work, but it can be done.

The names John Locke and Amanda Hocking come to mind when you talk about successful self-publishers.

Locke very famously sold over 1 million eBooks on Kindle within five months, making him a millionaire. He was the first self-published author to ever make #1 on the best sellers list. His strategy is rather common sense, but as with everything, it requires dedication and hard work.

The internet contributed greatly to Loche’s success. His web blog was, and still is, a simple site designed to give you the goods without a lot of fluff. Readers can download samples easily and get into the story without forking over a lot of cash. He gained readers as well by smartly pricing his works at 99 cents, which is the lowest you can set for Amazon’s Kindle network.

You can learn more about him at his website.

Amanda Hocking's short stories

Amanda Hocking’s story is a bit less about marketing and more about persistence. She was writing as a hobby and started self publishing in 2010. Since then, she’s made over $2million in sales of her pop culture, quirky girl, action filled stories that are available for the Amazon Kindle. After her huge success on her own, she signed a deal with a publisher to put out four more books.

At first, her sales were modest. But she worked with what she had and learned how to promote her work and gain an audience on the web. After a while, she went viral and her sales skyrocketed.

Her sales jumped to 6,000 units a week on Amazon. She’s settled herself into the niche of paranormal romance ala Twilight. Readers caught on and began devouring her series of books online, which she sold for relatively low prices. Hocking claimed that to be one of the reasons she’s done so well, citing that many authors – especially new authors – price their books too high.

There are tons of stories like these out there, and we’ll be highlighting independent authors and small press publishers over the next few months. There are a lot of great stories out there to read. There are stories out their to inspire authors. If you are a writer, and think you can’t do it, look to others for inspiration and then look to yourself for what makes you unique. There’s nothing keeping you from being the next Hocking, Locke or Meyers.

 

Youth Reading Still Going Strong

Many years after the last line was written in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, the youth literature movement seems no signs of letting up.

Back in the early 2000s, Harry Potter was seen as a unique – and rather curious – phenomena. At the time, the literary world had gone decades without anything really motivating the younger audience to read. It was often thought that fiction would perhaps die out one day and be replaced by YouTube, blogging, and of course television.

Something interesting happened though when J.K. Rowlings‘ tales of a young wizard gained record-breaking appeal amongst a new generation of young people. It sparked a renewed interest in reading, and in storytelling. What some may have thought was a fluke, a one-trick pony, an aberration in the natural decline of more sophisticated entertainment, quite the opposite has happened.

Before Harry Potter ended, Twilight came into pop culture and established another niche in the young reader world. His Dark Materials, Abarat, The Hunger Games, Vampire Academy, Percy Jackson, The Immortals and about another dozen or so series have captured the imagination of the younger audience.

That audience is has grown up by ten years now, and are starting to read more. No, they didn’t stop when Voldermort was finally defeated or when Bella finally turned into a vampire, they continued reading older novels, more adult novels, and of course the latest popular teen lit series.

This is promising for the future of entertainment as far as writing and reading are concerned. Books on the other hand, may still be doomed. Even with the rise in reading, the traditional book may be going the way of the cassette tape pretty soon.

Books will probably never go away completely. There is a core audience of readers who relish paper over pixels, but as many big chain book stores are closing, it may be only a matter of time when the actual physical book becomes a rare (and expensive) indulgence.

Whatever form literature takes, it’s good to know it’s not dying any time soon. Nor should anyone have thought it would. Storytelling, in all its forms, has an audience – and most other forms of storytelling often have their roots in fiction. Musicians cite authors or lines from novels, television and movies notoriously adapt the printed word into the visual world.

The only call now would be to originality. We don’t need anymore vampire love stories. Let’s get a bit more creative and perhaps make new monsters, new love stories, new ideas, and keep the art of storytelling vibrant and healthy.

Clive Barker Recovering From a Coma

Mastermind of the classic horror films Hellraiser and Candyman, as well as the author of such fantastic novels like Imajica, Weaveworld, and the young adult series Abarat Clive Barker, suffered for seven days in a coma after a routine dentist appointment.

He recently commented on the incident on his Twitter page.

My friends,Clive here.I’m at home now after a while in hospital,thanks to a nearly fatal case of Toxic Shock brought on by a visit …

…to my dentist.Apparently this is not uncommon.In my case the dental work unloaded such a spillage of poisonous bacteria into my blood..

…into my blood that my whole system crashed,putting me into a coma.I spent several days in Intensive Care,with a machine breathing for me.

..Later,my Doctors said that they had not anticipated a happy ending until I started to fight,repeatedly pulling out the tubes…

…that I was constantly gagging on.After a few days of nightmarish delusions I woke up to my life again,tired,twenty pounds lighter…

..but happy to be back from a very dark place.And here in the world I intend to stay.I’ve books to write ,films to make and paintings ….

…to paint. I seem to have come home with my sight clearer somehow,and my sense of purpose intensified.Thank you all for your messages…

…your prayers and love.What better reason to wake to life than knowing I have such friends? Again,thank you.My love to you always.Clive.

Thankfully, Clive is still alive and kicking. We look forward to the continuation of The Art series, the second book of Galilee and the final two books of Abarat.

Books to Look For – Abarat: Absolute Midnight

Some time ago I posted about Clive Barker’s lack of activity with his series. He’s got three going that are over a decade old and none of them have been completed:

The Art trilogy (2 of 3)

Galilee (1 of 2)

Abarat (2 of 5)

 

Well, it seems our wait is over for one of these as Abarat: Absolute Midnight is finally going to be released next month on September 27th. I adore this series, and cannot wait to see what wonderful, weird, colorful and outrageous things Barker has come up with for this latest installment.

The trailer is here. If you’re familiar with where book 2 left off, there’s a pleasant surprise right at the beginning of this. The art direction is pretty darn good too.

 

The Immanent World Concept

We’ve seen a billion or so anthologies over the years. We’ve also seen a few fantastic collections of short stories and poetry. Of course, being myself, I wanted to up the ante on the anthology concept by taking it a step further, especially with the new electronic media we have.

Some of my all time favorites are The New Weird, Zombie Stories of the New Age, and Books of Blood.

The New Weird
Time for an even NEW weird

So, The Immanent World (please look up the definition of immanent as opposed to imminent) is an anthology we hope to have out later this year. It’s a combination of various writers, photographers, poets and illustrators who all contribute to the project. The theme of this book is “weird and dark” – essentially horror fiction, odd photographs, strange illustrations and creepy poetry.

The book will also work as a promotional piece for all those involved, and as such, we want to emphasize the creators of these works as well. Each creator will have a section of the book that starts with a profile of them complete with social media links, a short ‘get to know you’ part and some photos. For the eBook, I’m looking to fully utilize html5’s video capabilities for more in-depth commentary by the authors on their work.

Projected date for the release of The Immanent World is February 2012 (paperback and eBook).

More to come …

Paris: The Dark Epic Now Available

The first in “The Dark Epic” series has been released.  Paris – The Dark Epic is now available in paperback, eBook and Kindle formats.

BUY NOW:

On AOE Studios.com (paperback)
On Amazon.com (paperback)

On Kindle

eBook – complete novel
eBook Parts (Nine in total) for $1.50 each.

Synopsis

Split between this world and the next, three souls weave their way through a tale of natural corruption and supernatural adventure: Paris Drezner, an aristocrat who was slain in his youth and has returned as an Unborn; Michael Scottsdale, the second son of the famed Scottsdale clan who have sat as titans on a mountain of money and power; and his wife, Traci Scottsdale, a woman plucked from obscurity and thrust into the limelight as the wife of one of America’s most sought after bachelors.

For them, the world is not as it seems. Revelations of the past force Michael Scottsdale to confront his family’s own secrets, and also challenge him as to his own nature. Traci, in a desperate attempt to help her husband, delves into a world which she could never have imagined. It is the world of Paris, and his world is anything but normal.

The wars between the Daridum Brotherhood and the Unborn have spanned many decades, neither side gaining a clear advantage and both hiding in the shadows of normal men. The time has come for this conflict to come to a head, and Traci finds herself in the middle of an ancient and bloody war that changes her life, while Paris fights with his destiny to be part of his new world, or watch it burn to the ground.

From the humid, fast paced streets of Miami’s South Beach, to the soaring heights at the top of Norrumpatholah … from the boardrooms of America’s top industries to the bohemian back alleys of Baltimore, Paris takes the reader on a journey through two intertwined worlds of the human and the supernatural. At the end, each character will stand at the precipice of disaster or desire, and their choice will bring earth shattering consequences to the whole of mankind.

Harry Potter Mania

So, it’s finally here. The wonderful final chapter (in two parts) of the theatrical version of Harry Potter.

And so also ends the era of fantastic franchises/series during the 2000s.

From Lord of the Ring to Star Wars to Spiderman to X-Men to The Matrix to Saw to Kill Bill to Harry Potter to Twilight – we’ve been blessed as movie goers with thought-out, continuous epic stories. The age of sequels which broke continuity, changed characters or the universe for that matter in a way that betrayed fans and the artistic expression alike were gone.

Unfortunately, we seem to be entering further into the remix era. I actually saw that there’s another Scream film in the works (the movie franchise that single-handed ruined the horror genre for a decade).  We can only look for some more franchises coming in the future that are well told.

Not all of these were great. The Matrix trilogy was a bit of a let down and let’s not even get into the Star Wars prequels, but the good thing is they weren’t rehashed sequels. They weren’t the crap of 80s and 90s sequels where you might as well have had a Hollywood exec on the screen saying “you’re dumb enough to buy this crap, so we’re just going to repackage the last movie and take the heart out of it while screwing up the characters”.

So, sometime over the next few days I will hit up the local theater and check out the first part of the Deathly Hallows. The real end actually comes this summer when both Twilight and Harry Potter will be singing their swan songs (get ready for a nutty busy summer at the box office with those two franchises closing out).