Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter

Writing Bad, But Keeping It Happy

My wife told me the other day that I was writing too much "downer" stuff, which puzzled me. Mostly, I write two things: humor, and "buy my books!" Usually I try to combine the two, so people don't know I'm trying to sell them something.

Maybe I shouldn't have said that.

In any case, I try to be funny when possible, so I wasn't sure what she was referring to. Then she pointed out that yes, they were humor pieces, but lately they'd been humor pieces about everything going wrong. Winter--which is wrong by nature--for instance. Sinus infections. My epic fails in the area of holidays and anniversaries. That kind of thing.

And she doesn't even know about my two written but unpublished blogs, involving my misadventures with medical testing.

It's a good point, but I think it's often in the nature of humorists to write about bad things. In general, when good things happen it's just not as funny.

But I have blood stored on standby, just in case.

"Hey, we had my birthday party the other day, and everyone was happy and I loved my gifts and the food was great! How cool is that?"

"I cleaned my garage the other day and nothing fell and broke and I didn't get hurt!"

See what I mean? (By the way, buy my books!)

Last month I rammed my foot into a piece of furniture that's been in the exact same spot for twenty years, and thought I broke it. (The foot, not the furniture.) That's a story. It's not much of a story, until I embellish it the way I embellished the Infamous Exploding Lawn Mower Incident, but it's still a story.

If I'd gone by the furniture without injuring myself I'd have been a lot happier, but there would have been no story at all.

So I went back through my blog, and almost all my humor pieces were either about something bad happening to me, or me complaining about something. That's not the way I am at all in real life. If every thing I did led to something or someone getting smashed, I'd have been in a grave in my twenties. If I complained about every little thing that presented itself to me, people would run away every time I walk in the door.

Which some of them do, but I thought it was just my deodorant.

It's the same with my fiction. My first published novel opens with a tornado, followed by a cop getting into trouble for false arrest. My second started with another cop getting into a confrontation with a politician. My third started with campers being upset because of a drought, and at the opening of my fourth my main character hits a deer. These are not good things. And yet all those works have comic elements, or at least that was the plan.

Ouch! Paper cut!

Think of your favorite TV show, book, or movie. Chances are, not long after the opening something changes for one of the characters, and it's usually something that really shakes up their lives. Ever watch Doctor Who? He runs into most adventures happy, anxious to make discoveries and meet new challenges. By the first commercial he (well, she, now) is desperately trying to keep any more people from getting killed.

So, yeah, I'll probably keep writing about things that are downers. And I'll probably also keep trying to get you to buy my books, but at least I'll be funny about it. I hope.

(And remember: Every time you don't buy one of my books, the groundhog sees his shadow. Stupid groundhog.)

It's just a relaxing hike in the woods; what could go wrong?

Tags: accidents, humor, humor writing, medical stuff, writing

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