I’m trying to be funny. Not here, but in the WIP. As I’m writing women’s fiction and the story is issue driven, there’s a real need for a little light relief from at least one of the characters. He started out right, exactly what I wanted him to be, but somewhere along the line he has fallen into slapstick mode. The last few pages I read of him, he almost burst into ‘OOOOH Matron!’ Alas, he is now contrived and the most irritating, unfunny character I have ever had the misfortune to read. Not good. Not good at all.
Is this fixable? I hope so. Will it require a major re-write? I hope not. Am I pissed off that my funny man is now not funny? Damn right.
So, how do I fix it? Here are my initial thoughts (most of which have been brought on by sheer panic, so bear with me...)
1. Delete him. Completely. Get rid of him. Murder the little darling. He is no longer funny. He deserves a fate worse than death.
2. Finish the WIP. Insert brackets wherever he appears e.g (Make THIS funny)
3. Highlight all his dialogue in red. (VERY time consuming but possibly worth it) then leave him alone for a couple of days, watch a few episodes of ‘Friends’ and introduce a humour device eg a thieving racoon (Remember that episode? Now THAT was funny...)
4. Give him a catch phrase, something like ‘Ooh Matron’ but obviously not that. Maybe, ‘It’s good, but it’s not right...’ a la Roy Walker? No, not that. That wouldn’t be funny. In fact catch phrases are not funny.
5. Give him funny one liners. Ahh... (Light bulb moment) That’s how he started. And that’s who he is. And that was working until his one liners started to sound like something from the parts of Carry On that ended up on the cutting room floor.
See? All it took was a brain storm here on Strictly Writing. I now know how to fix un-funny man. It does require going back and reading the entire work to date to see where he lost his sense of humour. From there, I will read his dialogue aloud and decide on whether a funny one liner is appropriate, hopefully coming up with one, should it be. No problem.
Or I could just kill him off- have him come to a sticky end eaten by a thieving racoon dressed as a matron?