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Writing Humor: Creativity and the Comic Mind / Edition 1

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Providing both theory and praxis, this insightful and creative textbook explains how to write humor, comedy, satire, parody, nonsense, and both the literary and the joke monologue. Through its close analyses of short stories, sketches, essays, and scripts, it is a must-read for serious and not-so-serious writers of every genre. Guiding aspiring writers through the many techniques for creating humor, it illustrates and analyzes what works and what doesn’t, suggests ways to energize passages that fall flat, and offers insights into brainstorming, team writing, and revision.

This book includes the history and cultural background of each major genre, followed by a rich array of writing exercises. Readers will find an inventive selection of examples to learn from, including a script from M*A*S*H and pieces by such humorists as Woody Allen, Ogden Nash, and Art Buchwald—and by students as well.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814329603
  • Publisher: Wayne State University Press
  • Publication date: 4/28/2002
  • Series: Humor in Life and Letters Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 9.02 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

Mary Ann Rishel is an associate professor in the Department of Writing at Ithaca College.
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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments 17
Introduction 19
Organization and Design 20
The Sense of Humor Test 23
Ch. 1 Yes, You in the Back Row (Most Frequently Asked Questions) 25
Ch. 2 So What Exactly Is "Humor"? 32
Ch. 3 Simple Techniques for Writing Humor 43
Ch. 4 Concreteness 61
Ch. 5 Still Nobody Laughed. What Then? 70
Ch. 6 Comedy 83
Ch. 7 Slapstick 112
Ch. 8 Stuck? Writer's Block? 117
Ch. 9 Oh Lord, Oh Lord, Not Again, Not Again 123
Ch. 10 Script Writing 126
Ch. 11 Satire: Whatever It Is, I'm Against It 141
Ch. 12 Irony and Wit 159
Ch. 13 Grotesque (Black), Sick, and Absurd Humor 172
Ch. 14 Nonsense 180
Ch. 15 Light Verse 196
Ch. 16 Parody and Burlesque 201
Ch. 17 "Have You Heard the One about...?" 233
Ch. 18 So, How All You Guys Doin' Tonight? 242
Ch. 19 The Literary Monologue 253
Ch. 20 Ok, So Who Threw the Tomato? 260
Notes 283
Glossary 285
Bibliography 301
Contributors 313
Index 321
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