I’m currently in the process of perfecting the first 5000 words of my novel in time for an agency’s funny-story competition, and when I’d gotten it to the best I possibly could at the moment, I went on to write more of the overall novel. That’s when I noticed something for probably the first time…

Writing comedy is HARD. Seriously hard. And comedy for children? Probably the hardest of all.

It’s not as simple as “That’s funny, I’ll put that in!” You’ve got to consider your audience, the joke’s suitably, it’s necessity to the story, it’s phrasing/delivery… There’s no point having a funny idea if you can’t get it across clearly for your readers. Especially children – adults will read a long, convoluted humourous passage, decipher the intended joke, and move on. Children will just find the book boring, and put it down. Then you, as the author, have lost.

Thankfully, as the author, you have as long as it takes to make every joke zing (unless you’re an already-published author working to a deadline, in which case I’d think it’s safe to say you’ve already proven you know how to write jokes). Your first draft can be as long and muddled as it can possibly be, because your revision process will then whittle away all that fluff and prattle time and time again, until you’re left with as close to perfect as it’s going to get. And it’s the same with writing the jokes. So what if it took you four lines to say “grandma blew-up the birthday cake”? What matters is that, by the time you’ve revised it half a dozen times or more, you’ve got something snappy, surprising, and sure to make the kids giggle.

So take it from me – just because writing gets hard from time to time doesn’t mean you’re going anything wrong. It just means you’re learning more about the writing craft itself…

Until tomorrow!

Dave

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