Miss Snark, unlike that other Queen, is amused

Dear Miss Snark,

I've been reading your blog for days now and find it remarkably entertaining and informative. So much so that I really shouldn't be reading it because it's been days and I've been neglective personal hygiene.

I had two questions about humor writing, and you seem to have a great sense of humor so I thought I'd ask.

1. If you looked at something funny, or something that is at least supposed to be funny, is it just important that it be funny and entertaining, or does it have to fit somewhere pretty neatly?

I ask this because a lot of agents and other writers seem to look at my stuff and say, "This is funny, but what IS it?" Meaning it's not literary funny, or science fiction funny or thriller funny, it's just meant to be funny.

2. After reading a number of the things you've written about the writing you've received, would you be willing to look at the first couple paragraphs from my book and tell me if it works? Just a hundred words or something to see.

As far as the second question, if the answer is no I understand. It's just that while I read things in your blog I'm not up yet on the various ways you get material, either by submissions at your agency or sometimes people send in things it seems, or there are contests and whatnot. Anyway, it's not a query, in any way at all, so don't think it's a query. I know not to query through email.

Fan of snark,

Miss Snark is genuinely amused.
The idea of just merrily sending questions off and thinking it's not a query cause you haven't called it a query reminds Miss Snark of a question her colleagues appear to be asking you already: "what is it".

However, merriment aside, let's see what we can offer you today at the Clue Emporium.

1. Novels that are funny can be called "novels". They can also be called comic novels but I never do because I'd rather people discover something is funny on their own.

If an agent is asking you "what is it" this is not a good sign. You need to know what it is and call it that. Or at least try. Say it with me: "my novel".

2. Yes, you can certainly send 250 words to me. It's called the Crapometer. It starts in December. You'll be pleased to know there's an entire blog devoted to it. You can find the link on the blog roll over ------> there.

Sadly, there are no refunds at the Clue Emporium, so please step right up with a crisp twenty dollar bill.


Zany Mom said...

Where do books like Dave Barry and Bill Cosby and Erma Bombeck fit in? Just Humor? Those aren't novels because they're partly based on real life experiences, partly exaggerated, and part fiction. ;)

Another clueless nitwit. Though I have a sense of humor I don't write humor.

A few humorous novels I've tried to read (from the unpublished) get old after the first few pages or chapters. Overdone.

Tattieheid said...

Thanks for this one. It's 1.15am over here and I was needing a good laugh to finish with.

michaelgav said...

Don't think this is a blog comment, cause it's not. It's just that I read the post and it made me think of a few sarcastic things to write on my own, so I clicked where I would have clicked if I really wanted to comment.

Which I don't.

Elektra said...

Zany, there is a humor section in most bookstores. But if you go to it, about 99% of the authors there had some sort of success/platform in humor before they were published.

Simon Haynes said...

My books are SF and Humour, so they're marketed as SF/Humour (wow). Whenever I utter the words 'Comic SF' people think I draw pictures, so I don't usually utter those words.

Chumplet said...

Don't some agents ask for 'quirky'? If the clueless one is really curious, perhaps he or she should check Agentquery and see what agents want to see 'quirky'.

If it's submitted to the Crapometer, many of us will tell you whether it's funny. Or quirky. Or just out there to the left of Neptune.

Dave said...

The funniest books I've read in recent years are Augustin Burroughs' Running with Scissors and Sellevision. I laughed aloud at Company by Max Barry.
One is semi-autobiographical and the other two are fiction.

Inez said...

A story of mine, that should have run with the warning: Stop! This is so depressing it will ruin your morning!
ran a few weeks ago in a big deal magazine.
My colleague read it and talked to me
about the funny ending.

And all this time I thought humor was tricky. I guess
tragedy is, too.

Rabbit said...

I know it makes me a comedy geek, but I hate that there isn't a comedy section at most bookstores. There's a humor section with joke books and stand-up comedian's stuff, and gag non-fiction, parodies and such.

Yet when I want Chris Moore or Terry Pratchett or Mark Leyner I have to go and find them in different sections. It seems to me like it should be set up like the video store where if I want comedy I go to the comedy section. It's like if The Naked Gun were a novel it would be in mystery. I guess that would put Airplane in suspense...

Of course, the real reason it bugs me is that it's tough to find new authors to read that I'll like ;)

Not Funny said...

People who think they're funny are funny.

mcewen said...

Yes, we all need good recommendations as without those links you end up having read your entire supply. Best wishes