Victor Borge said, “Laughter is the shortest distance between two people.”
Karl Barth said, “Laughter is the closest thing to the grace of God.”
Woody Allen said, “I am thankful for laughter except when milk comes out my nose.”
This is a good example of the rule of three in comedy: setup, repetition, surprise.
I like what Bernard Malamud said in “The Writer’s Desk” by Jill Krementz.
“You write by sitting down and writing. There’s no particular time or place – you suit yourself, your nature. How one works, assuming he’s disciplined, doesn’t matter. If he or she is not disciplined, no sympathetic magic will help. The trick is to make time – not steal it—and produce the fiction. If the stories come, you get them written, you’re on the right track. Eventually everyone learns his or her own best way. The real mystery to crack is you.”
A writer can share what works for her. But like Bernard says, you have to find you own way.
Try the following:
Read constantly. At least 1000 books in your genre.
Write every day.
Remember, writing is RE-writing. Mark Twain said, “The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightening and a lightening bug.”
Take yourself seriously.
Learn to take criticism. Join a writing group.
Learn to take rejection. Don't give up.
Earn an MFA in Writing.
Or not. Teach yourself. Author Tim Wynne-Jones gives an entire writing course on his site. See links page.
Steinbeck said that writing was like sculpture (Writers digest Jan 2003). “Think of it as the craft of sculpture. You don’t take four hammer blows with a chisel and come up with a DAVID. Every day you take off a little bit more, every day you maneuver it, down to the sandpaper on the fingernails so they have a sheen on them. Writing is this everyday thing that you do for this gigantic piece of sculpture you’re looking at, and half the days you don’t even know what in the hell you’re doing. Your’e just taking off big chunks of stone that don’t belong there, but if anyone asked you to put together a composite sentence, you’d go out of your mind.
Bottom Line: BIC or Butt in Chair (no pun intended). The only way to learn to write is to write.
Below is an incomplete list, in no particular order, of authors whose work had an impact on me.
Early on: E.B. White, Dr. Seuss, Robert McCloskey, Madeline L’Engle,
Edgar Allen Poe, J.R.R. Tolkien, Carlos Castaneda, Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, Sylvia Plath
More Recently: Polly Horvath, Jeffrey Eugenides, Mark Haddon, Thornton Wilder
Richard Peck, Jack Gantos, Virginia Woolf, Annie Dillard, Annie Proulx, Emily Dickinson, M.T. Anderson, Margo Lanagan, Ursula LeGuin, Nancy Farmer, Shakespeare,