Tag Archive > writing craft

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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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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How to be a better writer

I don’t claim to be a good writer, although I plan to be one day, but I’m sure I’m a better writer than I used to be. Looking back at old work is both deflating (did I really write this badly?) and uplifiting (look how far I’ve come) at the same time. So, while I’m […]

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Sketch comedy writing: Sketches need characters

So far, so obvious.  A sketch without characters would be,um, a very long  joke or a short stand up set. And even then the persona of the performer gives you at least one character to play with. So sketches need characters. So what? Well, they need funny characters. Again, obvious. We’re trying to write comedy […]

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Writing sketches: things to consider while drafting

Sorry about the lack of posting action – not been getting much sleep! Or free time not used for writing sketched. However I have been thinking hard about writing sketches and trying to make them as good as I possibly can. I always have certain ideas/ways of working that I keep in my head but […]

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Writing for Newsjack: The hunt for the killer premise

Pity the poor Newsjack sketch reader. By the end of Monday they will know every possible horse meat joke in the history of the universe. That’s not to say you shouldn’t send yours as well, but for the  sake of the poor reader do make it original. So don’t you do what I naturally do – […]

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Writing for Newsjack: The Kettle Rule

As promised, here is the first of the tips even I have managed to pick up writing for Newsjack. The Kettle Rules is nothing to do with making tea or coffee (even if that does take up half your writing time). This rule is named after the excellent James Kettle – an experienced comedy writer […]

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Andrew Ellard on naming characters

Andrew Ellard (script editor on Red Dwarf, IT Crowd, and Miranda amongst other things) has a great Storify story on naming characters. His basic point is that you should make the character name evoke (or, perhaps, completely contrast with) the character. E.g. Mr Gradgrind tells you exactly what Dicken’s character is like.  On the other […]

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The importance of the Shitty First Draft

(Please excuse the Anglo-Saxon synonym for manure used throughout. It is entirely artistically justified. Well, mostly. And it’s shorter to type.) I asked Father Christmas to bring me the boxset of The IT Crowd this year, partly so I could watch them without watching 20 emotionally needy Microsoft ads on 4OD.  (If Windows 8 was […]

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Best comedy writing tip I’ve ever got: Put the funny bit at the end

Now, I haven’t yet scaled to the thin, slippery branches at the top of the comedy writing tree – so I am willing to believe there are other principles of the comedy writing craft I have yet to discover. But of all the tricks I’ve picked up so far this is the one I use […]

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