August 19, 2008

Getting Not-So-Serious About Writing

Nothing satisfies my attention-seeking-middle-child-syndrome like making people laugh. I love to make people laugh, and have no problem making myself the brunt of any joke if I think someone will get a good laugh out of it.

Early in my writing career I tried my hand at writing a few short funny pieces. One of those humor pieces got me a job with a local newspaper whose editor must have liked the piece so much she hired me as a regular contributor to write serious pieces for the newspaper. Ironically, she didn’t invite me to write more humorous pieces for her. Each month the serious editor assigned a serious topic for me to write about, and requested I interview some serious people for the article. From that job I learned how to write about things I knew little about as well as the art of serious interviewing. It was a wonderfully serious learning experience.

Fast forward years later…I was at a writing seminar and I was joking with some people about two of the YA books I was working on--both of them on serious, edgy topics and one person asked me, “Why do you write about such serious topics? You seem so funny, I figured you’d write about funny things.”

And a light bulb suddenly flicked on in my overly-cluttered head where the lights don’t always work. Somewhere along the line of trying to be a serious writer, I lost my writing sense of humor. After I got home from the seminar, I took out one of the dark, edgy, serious-topic manuscripts I had written and started lightening it up a little. My characters became more sarcastic and funny. Serious parts were rewritten so they had some humorous scenes sprinkled in. And the story, which is about such a serious topic, has only gotten better taken with a little bit of humor. Kind of like life.

5 comments:

Writer on Board said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Another Writer said...

Yes, middle children are often attention-seeking ho's. :) In my case, I guess it could more accurately be described as "stuck-somewhere-in-the-middle-of-half-a-dozen-children syndrome."

The Rejection Queen said...

We writers gotta stick togetha!

Writer on Board said...

Humor. Yes. Thank you, Cindy.

Anonymous said...

Very Interesting!
Thank You!