Humour in Writing
Update: I found that very few people understood my joke and it’s true I find visual stuff much funnier 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 build 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 the 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
Weakness: 8 (very prone to break down and food can taste dodgy if the calibration 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 amalgam 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.