Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Writing comedy

I'm revisiting a book I haven't read in ages, The Fall And Rise of Reginald Perrin by David Nobbs. For those of you younger than me (which lets face it is most of the world) this book spawned a highly successful sitcom in the Seventies, starring the wonderful Leonard Rossiter as Reggie. Most people know it, if they know it at all, from that. But the book is funny too, if somewhat darker.

The roots of my interest in writing are comedy and lately I've been wondering whether I've wandered too far from there. Comedy isn't easy to write by any means, but it is very rewarding.

Anyway, I'm planning a funny book, if only for my own entertainment. And Reginald Perrin isn't a bad place to look for inspiration. David Nobbs started as a sketch writer for shows like That Was The Week That Was and The Two Ronnies. So his gift for dialogue and instant characterisation is admirable. Humour should be light and frothy - make the prose too heavy and you kill the joke.

Here is an example of his light touch:

"Have you been feeling listless and lazy?" said Doc Morrissey. "Unable to concentrate? Lost your zest for living? Lots of headaches? Falling asleep during Play For Today? Can't finish the crossword like you used to? Nasty taste in the mornings? Keep thinking about naked sportswomen?"
Reggie felt excited. These were the exact symptoms of his malaise. People said Doc Morrissey was no good, all he ever did was give you two aspirins. It wasn't true. The little man was a miracle worker.
"Yes, I have. that's exactly how I've been feeling," he said.
"It's funny. So have I. I wonder what it is," said Doc Morrissey.
He gave Reggie two aspirins.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Romcom Movie Plot

OK, here's one for you. Jennifer Aniston plays Colleen, hardworking New York literary agent working to a deadline. Christian Bale plays Roscoe, the published author seeking representation. Roscoe queries Colleen, but she ain't too impressed and knocks him back. Roscoe's a tad upset and shoots off an angry email in response.

Incensed by the man's impertinence, Colleen publishes his email on her blog. A frantic Twitter campaign ensues, Colleen elicits haikus insulting Roscoe from her many friends and followers. Word gets round the writing community and soon everyone is taking sides on which of them is worse.

But here's the happy Hollywood ending. Roscoe hears about the haikus and comes round to sort Colleen out face to face. But the building is attacked by 9\11 style terrorists and they're both trapped on the 49th floor. Everyone was killed in the explosion and the stairs are blocked by fire. If they're going to survive this, they need to work together.

So eventually they get out after much bickering during which they learn to see the other's point of view and..well, fall in love of course. By the end reel they're signing a contract, he's proposing and there's a stomach churning montage of wedding photos a la Four Weddings And A Funeral.

Title? How about "When Egos Collide"?

Too schmalzy? Maybe, but then, real life ain't Hollywood. Here's the real version for those who prefer non-fiction.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010


Bit of a mixed bag today, but after my last moany post I didn't want you to go thinking I'm stuck in the slough of despond. I have been working away and just wanted to get you up to speed on my achievements thus far.

Firstly I'm excited to discover this morning that I've been awarded a Beautiful Blogger Award (thanks Kate!). Now I'll do my best to come up with some more nominees - see below.

Second achievement today I managed to walk Theo for the first time since my little tumble last week. Yeah, I know it doesn't sound much, but it's a start.

Third achievement I'm making headway into Act 2 of my new WIP. You may remember I mentioned using a screenwriting tool called Contour in a previous post. It breaks the story down into a three act structure with a series of questions, twists and plot points. I used that to get an overall outline and now I'm trying to write the story according to that. Interesting process for me as I've always been a bit of a pantser (as in "flying by the seat of the pants") before now.

On the subject of outlines I came across a very interesting blog post yesterday which I'm passing on to you to take or leave as you wish.

Anyway, back to those nominations:

*Please ignore this if you have already received this award, which is entirely possible. (I only ever read the best blogs so someone is bound to have spotted you first!)

Edie Tor Talks Turkey - I'm only giving her this because no one else gives her anything and she'll make my life hell if I win something and she doesn't.
Disgruntled Bear
The Scribbling Seaserpent
Unexpected Tales
Col Bury's New Crime Fiction
Lexi Revellian
Sophie Playle
Wise Words
Tall Tales And Short Stories

So that's my ten! Phew, time for a lie down...

Monday, 12 April 2010

A birthday moan...

Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday to Me
Happy Birthday dear Me-e
Happy Birthday to Me!

Yes, another year older. And that's not all I have to moan about.

This year has so far been a catalogue of disasters. Last week alone my boiler broke down and I spent an evening in A&E with a sprained ankle. Just when I dare to think things can only get better something even worse happens. So to be honest I feel a bit like a bombing survivor staggering from the shelter and hoping the sniper has better targets to go after.

But today the sun is shining, I have a bottle of champers chilling in the fridge and a load of cards on the sideboard so I can't complain really. OK, so I can't get all the candles on the cake without the fire brigade turning up, but who wants to be young, anyway? Over-rated if you ask me.

Monday, 5 April 2010

Silver Anniversary

Time for reminiscence now. Tomorrow I will have been married for 25 action-packed years. I do have vivid terrified recollections of that wet blustery day in 1985 but it's hard to believe it happened to me. (That's allegedly me in the meringue costume above.)

Anyway here's to the next twenty-five!