This week: Animal Characters for Comic ReliefEdited by: Lornda
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This week's Comedy Editor:
"Taking a dog named Shark to a beach is a bad idea."
"Cats have thirty-two muscles in each ear. This is to help them ignore you."
"I dream of a better tomorrow, where chickens can cross the road and not be questioned about their motives."
Writing animals as characters can be a fun way to add humor to your stories.
Thanks to GeminiGem💎 for submitting the topic for this newsletter. She filled out the "Comedy Newsletter Input" survey and wins a 'Queen of Comedy' MB!
Animals can be a creative way to provide comic relief in a story or poem. The same rule applies as with writing a human character—you have to know the characteristics well enough for the humor to shine.
To find the inspiration, one way is to think of the pets you've owned over the years. My stories with animals tend to be about cats, but recently I've also written about a pet named, Mr. Rat. Yes, he was a rat. Hey, I was seven when I came up with that original name. I'm still waiting for the inspiration to write about a Guinea Pig name Charlie, though!
Here are three areas where you can add comic relief with animals:
Humorous Main Character
If your animal is a main character, as mentioned above, make sure you know everything about its quirks, personality, and what it looks like. Notice how it was used in this scene about two cats at a bar:
. . . hey, I’m diggin’ the dancing queen over there by the DJ. Look at the way she swings her tail, and she’s so white and fluffy.”
“Out of your league, Bro.”
Bouncer licked his right paw and washed his whiskers. “I’m going over there to bust a move and buy her a drink. How do I look?”
“Other than having one ear inside out and a black mustache like Hitler, you look fab.”
He flipped his ear back and stuck his tongue out. “Well, look who’s talkin’. At least I don’t have a black mask around my head like Batman.”
In this opening scene, you get a clear picture of the main character of Bouncer and the secondary character of TomBoy. The reader now knows their personality and what they look like. Both cats described in this scene are childhood pets. Bouncer always walked around with one ear folded back, and TomBoy looked like he wore a Batman mask.
Even if the story is on the serious side, you can use the animal character to provide comic relief to ease the tension of a scene.
TomBoy broke the silence as they walked in the rain. “Hey, let’s go to the other bar we like, The Paw-er-ific. Maybe you’ll find another dancing queen there.”
Bouncer started to heave. He stopped at the side of the curb, threw up a fur ball, and it landed into a muddy puddle with a thud. “Geez. I’ve been trying to get rid of that for a week.”
You do have to choose the right moment to add the funny scene. If it's overdone, you can lose the reader. So, you wouldn't want it to go too long on the serious side but add it to relieve the tension. The addition of a secondary character is a good way to keep the story entertaining. More details and examples can be found here: "The Purr-fect Secondary Character"
The addition of dialogue is a fun way to add comic relief and move the story forward at a good pace. Even if your animal character doesn't talk, you could have the human character banter some chit-chat just by reading the animal's facial expressions or actions. If the animal is the main character, the dialogue can add laughs along the way. In this example, the lion character speaks by using jokes to answer the questions of the detective.
Joey scratched his hairy mane and yawned. “I really don’t know where he is. Am I a suspect or something?”
“We can’t find him, so yes, until we know otherwise you’re a suspect. We want to know when you last saw him.”
“Sidney is a comedian, ya know? I felt like eating him, but I’m sure he would taste real funny.”
“Listen. Get serious. This is your friend we’re talking about.”
“Hey, I ain’t lion. You do know us lions like raw meat, eh? Know why? Because we don’t know how to cook. So yeah, I could’ve eaten him.”
The use of the quick jokes adds the comic relief but also moves the story along. This is just one example, but the humor is endless because it all depends on the characteristics of your animal or pet. Each animal has it's own unique personality on how it acts, so use this to your advantage when writing the humor into the dialogue.
The bottom line when it comes to writing humor for any character, human or not, is to know the character well. If you want to write about your pet dog, observe what he does that is funny. I gravitate towards cats because I've had so many and each had their own personality that I can draw on for inspiration. Now, if I had to write about a Chinchilla—I'm sure the humor would fall flat, because I've never owned one to observe their characteristics or any funny antics. I think I'll stick to what I know and write about Charlie the Guinea Pig!
Why not try your hand at some comic relief for an animal character and enter it here:
Deadline: April 30, 2020
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Feedback from my last newsletter: "GIF-er-ific" . Thanks for the comments!
eyestar~ghosting in and out : "Brilliant and unique topic! I like your community interaction items too!"
Thanks, Mona! I had a fun time researching this one.
Waltz in the Lonesome October : "I don't care if the creator of the gif, or the creator of the Universe for that matter, pronounces it with a soft g. That is Wrong. Completely and utterly Wrong. The word "graphics" starts with a hard g sound; gif is "graphics interchange format" as you pointed out (not "giraffe-ics"), and therefore, it's hard-g-eye-eff. End of debate. I have spoken. And yes, this is the hill I will die on."
I wish you would tell us how you really feel about the pronunciation of 'gif'. I know, right? I was blown away by that fact and just threw my arms up in the air. Thanks for stopping by with the proper explanation on how to say 'gif'. I can sleep now!
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You're very welcome!
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