Redux: A little humor

Subject: Redux: A little humor
From: "Dennis Hays/The Burden Lake Group, Ltd." <dlhays -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 20 May 1996 19:42:08 -0400

I've followed this thread for a short while and, after spending portions of
my life as a professional magician, technical writer, writer (fiction and
non-fiction), and trainer, I've come to believe that few people understand
how to write humor.

Wait a minute, wait a minute here... I know some of you are saying "except
me," or "I know I can," but the truth is: writing humor is one of the most
difficult types of writing there is. Someone once said, "Dying is easy,
comedy is hard." They're correct. I've been a stage performer and a writer
and a trainer. I've seen other trainers pitch an anecdote or joke totally
inappropriate or have no sense of timing, yet think they've nailed it. I've
tried to write humorous short stories and failed miserably. Yet, as a
trainer for over twenty years, I can deliver an humorous anecdote that
sounds spontaneous, but has been in my _patter_ for years. But I never have
injected humor in a manual or other set of TW docs. I wouldn't know what's
appropriate for the reader at the time and place of the reader. It takes a
better writer than me to pull it off.

If you think you're adept at writing comedy/humor, you're in the wrong
profession. Comedy writing pays much better. If you're not that good, stick
to the material at hand. That's my opinion and those of the mentors before me.


Dennis Hays, The Burden Lake Group, Ltd.
Voice: 518/477-6388 Fax: 518/477-5006
E-Mail: dlhays -at- ix -dot- netcom -dot- com
"Write with fire; cut with ice."

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