Wednesday, March 3, 2010

What If?

Since humor is such a big seller in the children's world, it is good to learn a few techniques to help us write with more humor. I typically don't find myself a very funny person, as I can be a bit reserved in groups, unless I'm the one in charge. Like when I'm teaching a group of children. But even a group of four women at lunch, I am never the center of the conversation. One way we can tap into our humorous natures is to laugh at ourselves in our everyday lives. I love to laugh and often think of something funny after it's long gone and way too late to even bring it up. Even when bad things happen, life is a little easier to manage if we can find a way to laugh about it.

In our writing, one game that has been around forever is the What If game. Once I think of a vague book idea and a character, I love to play What If. What if the character gets caught in the rain? What if she runs into a crocodile? What if the animals in the zoo start talking to her? What if she snores during the daytime? And on and on it can go. For me personally, it's most beneficial when I have some type of end goal in mind, like an actual idea with a character and a story that needs help with the plot.

It's especially helpful and fun with a group of people playing it together, say, your own family at dinner time, for instance. I wrote a story that I think quite funny based on the effects of our dinner game one evening. Would I have been able to come up with every plot point and twist without having played the game with my family? Probably not. Even if a manuscript isn't born out of the results of a What If game, it is still beneficial to play. Especially with children. They find it wildly funny and invigorating. And I find it delightfully entertaining and refreshingly freeing. Happy What-Iffing!

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