The first installment in the Adventures of Nash Wiley comes out this month, titled “Death by Cocktail Straw.” There are those (who will remain nameless) who can vouch for the fact that this first story is loosely based on actual events. For the sake of comedy I have of course embellished, but not the part about the trip to the E.R. after the incident. Or the residual fear of misdirected cocktail straws.
I had this idea for a series of short stories staring a central character that focused on her dating adventures (uh… misadventures). The concept was that each story would build on the previous story so that if all four are read in sequence there’s a longer narrative arc.
Humor is tricky. As my editor, Cindy says, humor in fiction is an odd mix of character, dialogue, action, and strong setup. It all has to be in the right amount at the right time.
That’s so true. The setup is everything. And subtle, detailed threads that repeat themselves and refer back to previous actions can make the setup even stronger.
I’ve had some practice being funny as my alter ego writing Jane’s World. Jane has endured a lot of silliness over the years just so I could rehearse.
Comedy is all about ending up where you don’t expect to end up. Like a train jumping a track. Usually, when I’m trying to set up a gag I imagine the obvious consequences taking a particular action would create and then I try to avoid that obvious path at all costs. It’s the unexpected consequences that end up being the funniest. Case in point, from Jane’s World, a fledging lesbian is nearly smothered by her busty date during a make out session. CPR is required. The newbie lesbian ends up developing a breast phobia as a result of this traumatic, yet sexy encounter.
A lesbian with a boob phobia… now that’s funny. (Or maybe sad, a lot of humor originates in sadness, but that’s for another blog.)
This short story series is set in Orlando, where my misspent twenties took place. I pitched this concept more than a year ago, long before the shooting at Pulse. After the shooting I considered changing the location because all of these stories have an element of humor, but in the end I decided to leave them as they were. I decided to celebrate Orlando and the vibrant LGBT community that resides there. Maybe this is the best time to celebrate Orlando, with humor and love.