Lizz’s Team Pick
When you’re laughing great big Santa Claus chuckles while reading Autostraddle, it probably seems like the words flow from my metaphorical pen to your laptop screen complete with hilarious and well timed pop-culture quips. That’s not actually always the case. I sometimes stare at paragraphs of boring words for whole minutes while wondering, “how exactly am I going to make Pretty Little Liars funny yet again? How many dinosaur jokes are too many dinosaur jokes?” It’s true, it actually takes some practice to learn How to Write Like a Funny Woman.
The Rumpus Funny Women column editor Elissa Bassist wrote How to Write Like a Funny Woman in response to an Improv 101 class she took. I’m not sure Bassist’s advice is relevant exclusively to women, but she still reveals critical ancient comedy wisdom.
5. Make strong choices. The more specific you are (“I’m in a graveyard, and I’m a vampire slayer who is also a vampire [real scene that happened to me]”), the stronger you are communicating…. 5a. I can visualize a strong female lead who likes grilled cheese with American cheese and white bread; I do not have a clear picture of a character who eats food.
We talk a lot around here about movies with funny women in them and the general bizarre nonsense people claim about female comedians, but it’s interesting to get perspective and advice on actual writing. Particularly when it’s neatly divided up in to bite-sized numbered nuggets. Perhaps you won’t finish the article as a full-blown carbon copy of Tina Fey, but it’s still a great collection of advice for comedy (or any) writing.