Month: April 2010

Humour in Writing

Humour in Writing
Update: I found that very few people understood my joke and it’s true I find visual stuff much more funny than wordplay which seems to be what most people find funny. One person laughed her head off at my joke though so I console myself with this. It seems that it is risky putting jokes in a story and I may avoid it but at the moment I still want to try it because it develops a subplot of the story. I have been thinking though and I realise now why stand-up comedians do that little bit just before a joke – to build up tension and set the scene. So what the guy on the box is going to do is say this:

“Funny things – aliens. I have heard they’re violent most of the time but when drunk are really a laugh and love dancing. Opposite to humans really.

What does the bouncer say to the aliens on a bender to save his life?
Answer: You put your left leg in, your left leg out,
do the hokey-cokey and you turn about… ”

Problems with Writing in First-Person
Another thing I have realised is that when writing in first-person it is very difficult to built tension around the main character because of course you know that they survive to the end – otherwise how could they tell the story. This is not a problem in my sci-fi story because the survival of the main character is not really the main point of the story but in Ordo Lupus and The Winged Serpent, a reader did say that they climax needed a little more tension around the survival of the main character. I thought about this hard and finally came up with a solution. It involves a tape-recorder and without giving too much away, the main character buys one in the story and tapes his journey so far, for the benefit of his wife who is divorcing him. There are nine chapters but only eight tapes (the ghost-writer tells us) so I have reintroduced that tension I think. It seems to work quite well and in fact many parts of the plot work better. It forced me to change the tense of certain passages and I think they benefit from this.

Sci-Fi Top Trumps

Nanogenerator or N-gen

Coolness: 9
Cost: 5
Usefulness: 9
Futurosity: 5
Weakness: 8 (very prone to break down and food can taste dodgy if the callibration is out)

Size: about that of a Microwave oven, it uses nanotechnology in the form of nano-bots which can build anything you like basically out of a raw ‘tablet’ which you load into the back. The tablets come in various sizes- the smallest being the size of a kitchen-matchbox size and going up to shoe-box size and looks like white plastic, but has an amalgum of many compounds which can be used to produce any chemical structure imaginable.

You load your block, dial in spec of what you want made – anything from a plate of fish and chips to a camera and wait the required time and there it is. Open the door and take it out. This idea is not mine and has been around for a while. It will probably be available in the next 50-100 years but I have not seen it in a sci-fi story yet.


Well I have decided to call the book ‘Ordo Lupus and The Winged Serpent’. Its not a name I thought up (thanks – you know who you are and there will definately be acknowledgement) but its better than the titles I thought up and others like it.

Target Audience
I initially aimed this book at Baby Boomers – well actually I basically aimed it at fantasy/suspence thrillers and then pleased myself, but it has ended up more pure fantasy than I inntended. I don’t really mind that. Its oten been said that there is an element of sci-fi in all my stories and I suppose fantasy is pretty close to that so maybe I am homing in on what I really like writing (and perhaps I am getting better at it). I now just need to actually make contact with my audience! I had a lot of friends into this kind of writing many years ago at college but I seem to have lost contact with them. I do not have a single close friend who is into the genre now so I am contacting interest groups on (where my work is published). I will see if they are interested in reviewing my work and I will review some of theirs in return.

I must say feedback from all 5 readers so far has been very encouraging – they have all had strong opinions which can’t be a bad thing.

Target Age Group
I thought my book would appeal to baby boomers (40-60yrs) but as people have read the work some have commented that it would appeal to readers as young as 15 and one reader said as young as 10. There are erotic passages in it which I did briefly think of toning down even more or even removing but the general consensus seems to be that if the reader is sophisticated enough to want to read it they will cope with the erotic stuff or want it.

I guess it will stay in and I will see what happens.

Humour in writing.

OK. I have arrived at a point in my new sci-fi story when I need to write some genuine comede – a joke actually. I often mix humour into stories but I have never tried proper comedy before or a joke. So I am going to try it out here and see what people think. The humour (that might, I hope, make the joke funny) has this context in the story. At this time (whenever it is) aliens are known to exist but nobody has seen one yet. There is a stand up comedian who is busking on a street corner and the main character sees him and hears the joke and laughs. Later on he sees the same guy on a talent show on the equivalent of tv and perhaps later again, each time developing his jokes further.

When he is seen on the street corner he is dressed in suit, standing on a soap box (futuristic equivalent) and wearing a satirical rubber mask in the likeness of the presedent of US and Canada. He is interspersing his jokes with humorous comments about passers-by. Here is the joke:

What does the bouncer say to the aliens on a bender to save his life?
Answer: You put your left leg in, your left leg out,
do the hokey-cokey and you turn about…

I think its quite funny but then I would. What do other people think?

Now for the second in my series of Sci-Fi Top Trumps


VisGogs are the future equivalent of Pilot sunglasses. Kind of naff but in a cool way. They are cheap and usually have a reflective coating. As with most sunglasses in the future they come with a chip and can display the contents of your hard drive in a heads up or ‘eyes up’ display on the inside of the lenses. In the case of VisGogs though this can include personal and scandalous information about the people you are passing in the street. There are smaller versions and you can get them without the reflector coating but hey, they wouldn’t be VisGogs then, would they?

Coolness: 7
Cost: 1
Usefulness: 3
Futurosity: 2
Weakness: 1 (no real weaknesses apart from the scorn of women)