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Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Novel Writing As A Sport (Via The Monty Python Boys)

Writing sketch comedy is best left to those with a particular skill set, but any writer can learn from observing a scene or two. Clever dialogue, pacing, elements of surprise, and reactions are part of most sketches and those are definitely things that novel writers strive to portray (though perhaps not with the elements-of-the-ridiculous that Monty Python tends to bring to situations).

We can learn a lot from sketch comedy—or that’s what I tell myself when I skip writing to watch Saturday Night Live. The Monty Python boys have taken it to another level, by writing a sketch comedy bit about novel writing as a sport.

The links below feature a fictional play-by-play account of Thomas Hardy writing his latest novel. The crowd gasps as he dips his pen in the ink, and groans when he starts by drawing a doodle. He finally writes his first word (“The”), scratches it out and draws another doodle. Three hours later he’s written one sentence.

It’s both a hilarious and accurate (depending on the day) depiction of writing. Pretty please click on the picture to read and/or listen to a funny rendition of a writer’s experience. Click HERE for the video (which only has a background picture~no actors).


Also:

Miss Snark's Secret Agent Contest for May will include MG and YA!!! Click HERE for early info.

A note for those of you querying Sarah LaPolla of Curtis Brown, LTD (she takes adult and YA): Ditch the Prologues! Click HERE to see her post detailing why she strongly prefers not to see them in a manuscript.

26 comments:

  1. Love Monty Python!!

    No one expect the Spanish Inquisition!

    Shelley

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  2. Oh thanks for the links. I so wish my MG was ready to enter the contest on MSFV. Still revising. :( I'm off to check out that video!

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  3. I've got to get more mss ready for all these contests and agent info you keep giving us!

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  4. So that's why I like Saturday Night Live! It helps my writing :) Thanks for the Secret Agent news.

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  5. Ditch the prologues. I'm always happy to see that. I love SNL BTW:)

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  6. LOVE IT LOVE IT LOVE IT - Margo goes wild! She sees the superb elements of hyperbole at work with the ever-marvelous "combination twist" manuever. Combining two elements that aren't normally associated with each other - in fact, are absolute opposites - writing and sports - to create an entertaining twist. She sighs at the brilliance of the play and clicks replay.

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  7. I tweeted this. When oh when will you give me your tweet name?

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  8. hi miss jess! me and my brothers and my sister love SNL and we do soooo much laughing. i didnt ever think on how good those writers are that write that stuff. for sure you could learn some cool writing stuff from them. i could wish i could do some sketch stuff and get people laughing.
    ...hugs from lenny

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  9. Thanks for the contest link. I hope I can enter. Depends on if I'm working or not.

    Love Monty Python!

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  10. I first heard this on the radio a few years ago. I was driving at the time and could hardly stop laughing! Very funny!

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  11. I think what we can learn from the melding of sketch comedy, specifically Monty Python, and novels is that you get Douglas Adams. Read Don't Panic by Neil Gaiman for all the details!

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  12. ROFL that's my typical day when it comes to writing a sentence. Some days I feel like I have to shake my head to loosen the words. :D

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  13. Andrew~ Thanks for the recommendation. I'll borrow it from my friend who is a big Neil Gaiman fan--I'm sure she'll have it :)

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  14. This is such a great idea. Thanks for the links! :)

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  15. I love that I can always count on you for great links! Thanks Jess.

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  16. I should watch more sketch comedy, take some tips form the masters. Because, I have a sneaking suspicion that i'm less funny than I think I am... :) Thanks for the head's up on Miss Snark's!!

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  17. Hilarious clip! That's one of the things I like about blogging--all the links to things I wouldn't otherwise know about. Thanks for the laugh of the day, Jess!

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  18. That was funny. Made my day. Thanks for the heads up on prologues too!
    Edge of Your Seat Romance

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  19. Great agent news. You are always so informative! Who doesn't love Monty Python. Brilliant!

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  20. Hehe, that kind of writing block is what I have when writing essays. Not so much fiction ;)

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  21. I'm a HUGE Python fan. You are so right about each sketch being its own mini 3 act structure.

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  22. Monty Python is the BEST! LOVE LOVE LOVE it, and I'd totally forgotten about that skit. Thank you. And the frosting were the tips you threw in at the end.

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  23. Hey Jess, you won my secret blog giveaway prize... the trait of one eye bigger than the other for your villain. Congratulations.

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  24. Ohhhhh Monty Python!!! Who doesn't like them? ^_^
    Thanks for the tips toward the end. I'm sure I can find great use for them.

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