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post #579
bio: jen

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Me Write Funny Some Day

Recently, my Aunt took me to a panel of mystery writers at the local library. My Aunt is a huge fan of mystery novels (and the Dodgers, NL Division champs, woohoo!), and even though I am not a mystery fan, it's always fun to go to writer events to see what I can steal (sorry, I meant be inspired by).

The panel had the usual assortment of writerly stereotypes. There was the wise old guy, the younger guy who wanted to be edgy (he wore black doc martens), the lady who looked like she had twelve cats, the other lady who used to be an actress (remember, we're in LA), and the stylish lady who probably had a little yappy dog.

There were more folks on the panel than in the audience. Instead of changing the seating into a more informal circle, the writers elected to stay seated behind their table with their names displayed in 26 point Helvetica in front of them.

As the writers talked about their writing style and methods of writing, I began to wonder if doing writer panels really was something to aspire to. It seemed like an awful lot of work. You have to listen, then think, then talk.

My own thinking was interrupted by the stylish lady talking.

I write funny. She declared.

That's nice. I thought and went back to day dreaming about being on a panel at Comic Con with David Tennant and John Barrowman. I wouldn't have to do a thing. I would just answer a question by saying how wonderful it was to be a panel with those guys, and all the fan girls will scream with Bacchanalian glee for several minutes.

As we were walking out after the panel, my Aunt made an observation.

She said she wrote funny, but she wasn't funny.

I explained that write funny is a Hollywoodism. It's a common way to describe writers who put words on the page in a hilarious combination. Sure, it is grammatically incorrect--a dangling modifier or something like that.

As for the issue of the funny lady's unfunniness, I thought the whole panel was a strange comedy that no one knew they were in and no one could leave. My take-away (another Hollywoodism meaning my reaction) from the panel was that the joy of reading mysteries came from trying to figure out the resolution which will come at the end of the book. That resolution is not only the solution of murder but the world of the novel.

Personally, I like mysteries without a solution or a perfect ending. Sometimes it's nice to have the adjective with no noun. Sometimes it's nice to read mysterious.

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