Category > Writing craft

Rejection and why it’s good for you

By now I guess a standard joke about Fifty Shades of Grey must have emerged along the lines that none of the painful looking sexual practices shown in the film are half as painful as watching it.  Writing and submitting work is not quite the same as willingly being tied to a bedpost but in […]

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Don’t lie to yourself

Fiction, according to Stephen King*, is the truth inside the lie. Fiction – even comedy – while not factual, tells the truth about the world as the author sees it. So if you want to tell these lies well you have to be honest. Honest with your audience and honest with yourself. You have to […]

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Characters aren’t bios

There is a lot of advice about writing out here on the internet and in books and magazines, or even passed about by word of mouth on the rare occaisions writers leave the house. And some of that advice is excellent. Some is, well… One popular piece of advice is that you have to “know […]

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Establish your stakes.

Why stakes are important even if you are not Buffy the Vampire Slayer. So let’s establish the stakes up front. For the writer it couldn’t be more important. Your audience is at stake. Unless they understand why the story matter to the characters, unless they understand the stakes, they will switch off the TV or […]

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Understanding joke structure

I’ve been thinking rather hard about why some formulations of the same joke are funnier than others.  Then having worked through the steps myself I then realised, “oh yes, that’s what so and so was on about”. (For example Jimmy Carr and Lucy Greeves’ The Naked Jape, and The Serious Guide to Joke Writing by Sally […]

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Learning to write comedy – just make something.

Writing well is hard. (I’m not going to tell you how many times I’ve rewritten this simple opening paragraph.) Writing comedy well is… (actually probably no harder than for other kinds of writing, but based on how much comedy writers complain) …writing comedy well is even harder. Whatever natural talent you have the craft of writing […]

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Book Review: Comedy Rules by Jonathan Lynn

Christmas is over and the New Year has not yet begun. The chocolates have gone but there is still turkey in the fridge.  And for those of us lucky enough to have some time off, this stretch is a wonderful “no man’s time” – a chance to catch up with friends, family and all the […]

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British Comedy Guide conference read out

And we’re back. Long time no post. Normal (ie irregular) service resumed. For a couple of weeks now I’ve been planning to write up the British Comedy Guide Big Comedy Conference. First I have to say well done to Mark, Aaron and the team on making the whole thing run so smoothly. (And to Dave […]

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What not to write for Newsjack

A new series of Newsjack starts on 19 September: We’re back on @BBCRadio4Extra on the 19th September! — Newsjack (@NewsjackBBC) September 3, 2013 Which means, for anyone who wants to write for it, the first deadline is Monday 16 September at 12 noon – that’s less than a week away. Newsjack is not just a […]