Official Author Site


Writing Humor

Once you've read my article on Writing Humor, here is your guide to further reading.

Douglas Adams, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, et al.
Study this one for style.

Adams went to college with the guys from Monty Python, and you can see a similar blend of sophistication and silliness in his writing. Plus there's more cool stuff per page than any other book I've ever read.

Piers Anthony, A Spell for Chameleon.
Study this one for wordplay.

Anthony creates an entire world (the land of Xanth and its magical inhabitants) out of a seemingly endless series of bad puns.

Robert Asprin, Another Fine Myth, et al.
Study this one for its brilliantly funny characters and situations.
Dave Barry, Dave Barry's Only Travel Guide You'll Ever Need, et al.
Study this one as an example of non-fiction at its funniest!
William Goldman, The Princess Bride: S. Morgenstern's Classic Tale of True Love and High Adventure
Study this one as an example of comedy in the adventure and romance genres.

The book is as good as the movie–no, wait, better than the movie. The book doesn't have that lame framing story with Peter Falk and the kid from E.T.

Terry Pratchett, The Color of Magic, et al.
Study this one for amazing examples of social satire.

Pratchett's Discworld series rips on everything from the tourism industry to Hollywood to the Postal Service.

Ellen Raskin, The Westing Game.
Study this one as an example of comedy in the mystery genre.

Just because you're writing a mystery doesn't mean it can't be funny, and just because you're writing a humor book doesn't mean it can't have unexpected plot twists.

Lessons from Paula

Once you've read my article on Paula Danziger, here is my guide to further reading.

The Amber Brown Books
Including Amber Brown is Not a Crayon. Paula based Amber loosely on her own neice.

The lesson here is that you can get a lot of story ideas from your own real life experiences.

The Young Amber Brown Books
Including What a Trip, Amber Brown and other early readers. Paula never thought of her books as a series or as sequels. To her they were "sequelizers." And the A is for Amber books were prequelizers to her original set of Amber Brown sequelizers.

The lesson here is that everything can be made fresh and new when you mine the "untold early adventures" of your established characters.

The Matthew Martin Books
Including Make Like a Tree and Leave. Most of Paula's books were about girls and primarily for girls. The Matthew Martin books were about a boy and primarily for boys.

The lesson here is that sometimes a writer can stretch to find whole new audiences.

The Marcy Lewis Books
Including Paula's first book, and probably her most famous, The Cat Ate My Gymsuit. I once had a conversation with Paula about whether she should update the book to remove the 1970s anachronisms and bring the book into the 21st Century. Paula never said whether she thought this was a good idea or not, and in the end she never did.

There is no lesson here, just something to ponder.

This Place Has No Atmosphere
Paula's only work of science fiction! Paula asked for my opinion when I read it and I said that It was pretty good for a space opera. Paula was unfamiliar with the term "space opera" even though she'd written and published one!

The lesson here is not to get hung up on names and categories for things and just write!

United Tates of America
Paula was incredibly enthusiastic about this book because she could combine her writing with her own artwork in the form of scrapbooking pages purportedly done by the main character, Sarah Kate "Skate" Tate. The book's format was innovative, although Paula said it was difficult to get copyright permissions for every stamp and sticker she used on the pages. She had at least two "sequelizers" in mind, as Skate and her family travelled the country, including one book that would have taken place in Texas.

The lesson here is not to limit your imagination to mere words–go multi-media!

Promoting with Class

Once you've read my article on the Class of 2k7, be sure to read the debut books of the Class of 2k7!

Spring Semester 2007

  • Ruth McNally Barshaw – Ellie McDoodle: Have Pen, Will Travel (Bloomsbury)
  • Kelly Bingham – Shark Girl (Candlewick)
  • Julie Bowe – My Last Best Friend (Harcourt)
  • Laura Bowers – Beauty Shop for Rent (Harcourt)
  • Paula Chase – So Not The Drama (Dafina/Kensington)
  • Cassandra Clare – City of Bones (McElderry Books)
  • Rosemary Clement-Moore – Prom Dates From Hell (Delacorte)
  • Karen Day – Tall Tales (Wendy Lamb Books)
  • Aimee Ferris – Girl Overboard (Penguin)
  • Paula Jolin – In the Name of God (Roaring Brook)
  • Carrie Jones – Tips on Having a Gay (ex) Boyfriend (Flux/Llewellyn)
  • Rose Kent – Kimchi and Calamari (HarperCollins)
  • Constance Leeds – The Silver Cup (Viking)
  • Elizabeth Scott – Bloom (Simon Pulse)
  • Joni Sensel – Reality Leak (Henry Holt)
  • C.G. Watson – Quad (Razorbill)
  • Sara Zarr – Story of a Girl (Little Brown)

Summer Session 2007

  • Sarah Beth Durst – Into The Wild (Razorbill)
  • Ann Dee Ellis – This Is What I Did (Little Brown)
  • Jeannine Garsee – Before After and Somebody In Between (Bloomsbury)
  • Judy Gregerson – Bad Girls Club (Blooming Tree Press)
  • Stephanie Hale – Revenge of the Homecoming Queen (Berkley Jam)
  • S.A. Harazin – Blood Brothers (Delacorte)
  • Thatcher Heldring – Toby Wheeler: Eighth Grade Benchwarmer (Delacorte)
  • Marlane Kennedy – Me and the Pumpkin Queen (Greenwillow)
  • Melissa Marr – Wicked Lovely (HarperCollins)
  • G. Neri – Yummy: the Last Days of a Southside Shorty (Lee and Low)
  • Rebecca Stead – First Light (Wendy Lamb Books)

Fall Semester 2007

  • Sarah Aronson – Head Case (Roaring Brook)
  • Jay Asher – Thirteen Reasons Why (Razorbill)
  • A.C.E. Bauer – No Castles Here (Random House)
  • Autumn Cornwell – Carpe Diem (Feiwel)
  • Greg R. Fishbone – The Penguins of Doom (Blooming Tree Press)
  • Sundee T. Frazier – Brendan Buckley’s Universe & Everything In It (Delacorte)
  • Jo Knowles – Lessons from a Dead Girl (Candlewick)
  • Eric Luper – Big Slick (Farrar Straus & Giroux)
  • Suzanne Selfors – To Catch a Mermaid (Little Brown)
  • Heather Tomlinson – The Swan Maiden (Henry Holt)
  • Tiffany Trent – In the Serpent’s Coils (Mirrorstone)

Writing Resources

February 2018
« May    

Follow me on Twitter