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” But incongruity is effective in other ways, too. And I didn't like dirty politics. A great way to summon incongruity is an exercise I call the Journalistic Association List. “Learning the art of misdirection has benefited both my novels and my stand-up comedy by giving me the ability to zap an audience with the unexpected, ” says bestselling mystery author L.

What makes Archer unique among this group is not just the fact that the books are a sustained narrative spanning three decades, but that they also made the genre relevant to a changing society.

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Instead, consider using misdirection throughout any given piece in order to keep your readers guessing.

Even if your goal isn’t laughter but simply keeping your readers engaged, you can use incongruity to keep things fresh by finding ways to combine unexpected elements.

Both Archer and Marlowe are alike in that they cast a weary eye over the corruption and greed of Southern California.

If so, you may have SWEATS: Serious Writer Experiencing Anxiety and Timidity Syndrome.

Simply write the words who, what, where, when and why across the top of a sheet of paper and separate the columns with vertical lines.

Donna Gephart, author of the Sid Fleischman Humor Award–winning middle-grade novel As If Being 67¾ Isn’t Bad Enough, My Mother Is President, notes: “I always strive for the unexpected—quirky characters, unusual settings, wild plot ideas, etc.

Fortunately, you don’t need medication to cope with your ailment—all you need is a shot of Comedy Writing 656.

) Select the most interesting associations, and consider: How can you use them to add interest to your work-in-progress?

Does it sometimes feel as if your writing is a dog chasing its tail—you circle around and around, but keep returning to the same themes, characters and ideas?

Give it purpose fill it with books, DVDs, clothes, electronics, and more.

But that doesn’t mean just throwing in a twist near the end of a story.

Fill the bottom half of the page with your answers.

And I tend to find opportunities to sneak more humor into my books through successive revisions.

The surest sign: You have on occasion referred to yourself as a “Serious Writer” without cracking a smile.

But does the thought of going down a new path cause your palms to sweat and your heart to beat like a hummingbird who’s downed a double espresso? Mind you, this is an occupational hazard: Archer admits that Everybody hates detectives and dentists. SparkNotes is brought to you by. When you click on a Sponsored Product ad, you will be taken to an Amazon detail page where you can learn more about the product and purchase it. . Then draw a horizontal line about halfway down the page. Sponsored Products are advertisements for products sold by merchants on Amazon. We hate them back. Anyway, I didn't quit, I was fired, Archer explained in The Moving Target. Sellers, a former comedy-writing student of mine. I hear voices crying in the night, and I go see what's the matter. I couldn't stand podex osculation. J. (See Page 75 for a short example of what this exercise might look like, though yours should be much longer. Where Hammett revolutionised crime writing and Chandler romanticised it, Macdonald, by his own account,. Choose your topic (the more concrete, the better—for example, “space travel”) and in the appropriate columns in the upper half of the grid, fill in all the words you naturally associate with the topic. Visit B N to buy and rent, and check out our award-winning tablets and ereaders, including and. Then ask yourself, What don’t I associate with this topic?