Writing Humor:Advice from Lewis Carroll
So, I’m in the middle of sketching out my main character for the enormously satirical novel I’m going to write next month, when I realize I have no idea how to be funny. So I looked up some advice on writing satire from the pros.
Here’s what Lewis Carroll had to say:
Why dost thou call, oh wicked muse?
Why do you trumple through my brain?
Oh, how you squartle through my mind
Wherefore, you render me insane.
To pen a funny, start with John.
John is a carpenter in Leeds.
He pounds and saws and hems and haws,
And, oh how trumbulent his deeds!
And then, in wanders tiny Jane.
John loves her with a glurgling heart.
He wants her so, he daren’t let her go;
Observes her nightly, for a start.
There’s John, there’s Jane, and all is well.
You have a novel here, you see.
But all is bland and too well-planned-
And then-John plummets from a tree.
And suddenly, your well-paced tome,
Where plot would boringly expire;
Now has a trick-oh, how, and quick!
Your boilerplate is now satire!
Oh, slurby John, what have you done?
When you corrumpled from that oak?
To make it fair, I left you there.
Just when I thought you were to croak.
But, sentiments all flung aside,
Oh, snarkly reader, you enthrall.
The reason John is satire now?
The blasted oak was two feet tall.