Friday, September 23, 2016

It Gets Funnier Every Time

I think things are stagnating a little with the constant "I don't know what this story is about." So we're going to talk about something different today. I actually wrote a whole post about lines and bits of dialogue I've collected, but I've had way too much coffee, and it really doesn't make any sense. So we're going to try this again.

Looking through all my collected stuff… how about running gags? Those are fun. If you're not aware, a running gag is some amusing thing that keeps popping up. It's Family Guy's giant chicken, Avatar: The Last Airbender's "My cabbages!", and basically all of Arrested Development.

I have a list of running gags, see?

  • Someone constantly gets the main character's name wrong.
  • A certain item always turns up in the most absurd places, with no way of having gotten there.
  • A character is constantly using malapropisms and mixed metaphors without realizing it.
  • A character is constantly trying to come up with a new catchphrase (and failing).
  • A character is in a band and changes its name each time they introduce themselves.
  • A male character has a tendency to take his shirt off. All the time.

I don't know why, but things are funny when they happen repeatedly. But not too much. There's a humor equilibrium, where something happens enough to be funny without swinging out toward annoying. In general, there's the "rule of three" where, you guessed it, things should happen in threes. Sometimes you can get away with more than that, like in a long running TV show, but in a shorter work, three is a good number. Especially if it's something more over the top.

I had more written with examples from my own stories, but then I realized that they aren't nearly as good out of context. So you'll just have to use your imagination on that. I'm starting to find the line between "stream of consciousness" and "things people actually want to read." I don't really know what people want to read, since no one tells me anything, but I'm taking a guess.

But I digress. You can bet that my upcoming project will have some recurring joke in it. I don't know what that will be yet, since, you know, I don't really know the plot of the story. And now we're back where we started.

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