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How to write fiction | Inspired comedy

Manor hospital

Comedy fiction is the most popular, we all like to laugh but it’s also the hardest to write. I was writing guest blogs in 2010 and had an appointment at the hospital. The evening before, I had watched the film, ‘The Island’ on TV. The film is about a community that has a lottery to win a trip to an island. In reality, their community is in a futuristic building in the desert and the island doesn’t exist. Two members of the community escape through the ventilation system and go on to find out the truth. They are actually clones, being kept so their organs can be harvested. When they win the lottery, they leave to have their organs harvested, not some paradise island. I went to the new futuristic hospital the  day after watching that film; this was inspiration!

I wasn’t too well that day and didn’t want to get caught in traffic and so I went through the back streets to the hospital and parked in my usual place. I thought it was strange that there were so many free places. Outpatients had moved to the new building (in the picture) and I was directed to a door at the back.

I walked down the long corridor of the new futuristic building and was reminded of the film from the evening before. As I came to the end of the corridor there was an overwhelming smell of coffee. That will be my clone in the ventilation system trying to escape from the basement, I thought. I had invented my clone and so I could now write the clone stories.

You see, when I was in hospital in 2003 they decided to clone me and so there are effectively two of me now. There is a clone that lives in the basement of the hospital, who they call Michael after me. Michael spends his days being experimented on and being taken for a shower several times a day, by young hot nurses. He doesn’t mind the experiments, 30 feet of plastic tubing shoved up an orifice is nothing; he’s used to it. He often lies in bed all day with some weird medication dripping into his veins. The cloning experiment didn’t go quite according to plan. Like Dolly the sheep, Michael ages at twice the normal rate. He looks like a sixteen year old, even though he’s only eight. The fact that he’s going through puberty at eight years old is causing problems for the nurses, especially in the shower.

Michael now knows about me and the outside world; although he is institutionalised and won’t leave the hospital. He has discovered the small supermarket in the new hospital and even understands the ATM in the foyer. He thinks it’s just free money though and keeps asking for some so he can buy chocolates and soft drinks to share with the student nurses. He doesn’t have a bad life, I wish I had hot nurses giving me a shower every night and tucking me up in bed…

Comedy doesn’t have to be a laugh a minute, just start with a laugh and then keep it mildly funny. The main thing is to let your imagination run riot and go off into the realms of the ridiculous… It helps to use bad grammar and puns too!

One morning I shot an elephant in my pyjamas. How he got into my pyjamas I’ll never know.

Groucho Marx

That is a Paraprosdokian (try saying that when you’re sober) it has a double meaning and a surprise ending and so it’s funny. It’s also clever, like a conjurers trick.

I may be drunk, Miss, but in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.

Winston Churchill

Funny quotes are collectors’ items and they are sometimes thought up in an instant and sometimes people lie awake trying to think of something funny. The really amusing stuff can come out of tragedy and hospital stories are often hilarious. We tend to laugh when we are embarrassed. The guy who was having a bowel examination using an endoscope came out with some funny quotes during the procedure like, “Have you found Amelia Earhart, yet?” 

Connecting two events can be funny. The two famous mysteries in the UK were the disappearance of Lord Lucan and in a quite separate incident, the race horse Shergar went missing.  If someone’s wallet goes missing or a similar event, some wag is likely to say something like, “We have as much chance of finding that, as finding Lord Lucan riding Shergar…”

Weird facts can be funny. For example anything to do with death can be unlucky; especially on a pirate ship. A priest wearing black is very unlucky, even flowers are unlucky on a pirate ship; fortunately naked women on a ship are lucky! I’ve always found that a naked woman carrying a case of beer is extremely lucky…

I hope this is given you an insight into how difficult writing comedy is but once you start with a funny story, then the rest tends to flow. You do need to be inspired to start the story and in a good mood to continue with it.

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