If you've noticed my calendar of events, you'll see that I'm at the Southern California Writer's Conference in September, which is, like, a month away. I've been going to these conferences since 2006, and I've sung their praises lots of times, but this year, I'm actually teaching a workshop.
I'm so stoked!
The workshop is called, "Funny How? How am I Funny? (And How to Write it)" As you can guess, it's about writing humor. The name of the workshop came out of a website called "I Write Like". You plug in a sample of your writing and it tells you what author you write like. I submitted a paragraph from Freezer Burn and was told I write like Mark Twain. Then I submitted a paragraph from my weekly humor column and was told I write like Mario Puzo.
If you don't know, or don't want to bother with the whole click-on-his-name-thingy, Mario Puzo wrote a lot of Mafia-related books, including The Godfather. Hmm... my sense of humor is akin to The Last Don... all I could think of was Joe Pesci in Goodfellas.
"... like I amuse you? What do you mean funny, funny how? How am I funny?"
I think this is just before he shoots someone.
So the goal of my workshop is to spell out some of the pitfalls of writing humor and suggest some solutions for punching up your punchline. Ha ha - get it? I'm in the process of organizing the flow of the workshop and I think I've got the material I want to cover, but I'm wondering:
1. Should I have charts or drawings, like PowerPoint or something? I'd rather not hand out copies of things, since I do believe in Save Paper, Save the World, but I could plug in some e-charts and offer to email them to people, or even post them on my blog or website.
2. The workshop is 90 minutes long, and I'd like to engage the participants in some kind of exercise after I get finished blabbing. My thoughts are to either see if anyone is struggling with a specific piece of their humor writing and have a group session on how to fix what might be wrong, or to have everyone work individually on some of the points I'll be making, or to give them a humorous situation and have them write it up in their own style. Any preferences?
3. Here's the other thing about the workshop: It's on Sunday morning, at 9 a.m. This is after Saturday night's banquet and subsequent late-night sessions. There may be some comatose folks - should I offer coffee and donuts? I mean, there's nothing like bribing your audience, right?
Any thoughts, writers and readers?