I'm having a break. I'm writing a short. As of yet I don't know where I will attempt to place this short, but I know it is too long for one collection I'm working on and too supernatural for another. So I'm probably going to try to find a market for it outside of my current projects.
It's horror. Of course. But whilst writing it I found that I was sliding some of my own (ahem) humor, into it. I have an odd sense of humor.
I'm writing a comedy. With horror. Comedy and horror. The old horror/comedy.
I don't know how to do that. I really don't know how to do that. I can even count on the fingers of one hand the number of horror/comedy tales I've read.
Sure, I've seen horror/comedy...
... but write it?
So you know what I did? Research.
First I got this. It's a genre specific set of tips written by the writers of Zombieland, Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick. It's an interesting read, you glean good info from it, but it is aimed much more at the visual medium.
Then I ended up at WikiHow. I won't share the link with you. I got the impression that the good people there may have missed the point.
Hm. Unless I want to write a screenplay or a parody my research has come up with little worthy of note. So. Here goes. If you can't find the answer... make one up.
Filing Words tips on writing a horror comedy:
Show, don't tell
A great deal of comedy is visual. This applies just as much to writing a tale as a screenplay. You must however remember to show it. Think of it as a kill. You show the kill, right? The knife sliding in? Show the joke, the slapstick. Let the reader picture it in their minds eye.
If you're going to parody, parody. If you're not, don't.
The worst thing for me as a reader is seeing something in a book that makes me go, 'Where have I seen that before?' Sure, in parody you expect it. Try to ensure that your comedy is as new as your horror. The temptation to mimic a scene from Zombieland might be great, but unless you are parodying (don't parody a comedy) it, then don't.
Comedy works when you don't expect it. That is one of the things that makes slapstick great (that and people hurting themselves - now that's comedy!). Try not to tell jokes. There aren't any jokes in Shaun of the Dead, are there? Not straight out jokes. It's just funny to see how people react to certain situations, funnily.
Try to be broad
You're going to need to show people your work. I think someone is funny. Say, Russell Howard. Other people can't stand him. Does that make him less funny? To me, no. But if he was trying to appeal to a different audience, then he needs to appeal to that audience. The comedy has to appeal to the existing horror audience. No one will read horror, just for the comedy. And people will write a bad review if the comedy doesn't work in their horror story because yes, once the reader is invested, the story becomes theirs. Ain't no one gonna let you foo up their story with your lousy jokes.
'Til next time...