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Beware of writing humor! There be Dragons...


My latest story is my first attempt at writing humor, and it has been an education! :D

First, the good points: It has almost 3,000 downloads at this time, and more votes than my other two stories combined. That's a record for me.

Second: Those votes are all over the place. ones through tens with no score left untouched! Multiple one-bombs. :^P

I'm not sure what to take away from the scoring spread, especially the multiple one-bombs. Perhaps some readers missed the obvious (to me) clues about the wife and were offended by the punch line. Perhaps, as someone mentioned, those votes came from offended Pagans. LOL!

Writing humor is definitely a dangerous road to travel! (I like it!) :D


Your comment about offending pagans intrigued me and I decided to take a read. It's not clear if the wife is intended to be presented as pagan, or say a Nathaniel Hawthorne-esque satanic witch. (The eyes turning red is not really a detail I'd expect describing a neo-pagan; to me she comes across somewhat more demonic from the Christian mythos than pagan).
However, I didn't find anything I think a lot of pagans would trigger on. That said, the pagan community is very diverse and prone to politics.
For me, the story fell entirely flat. I am missing some critical allusion and the punch line made no sense at all.
O, I think I finally get it. If my guess is right, six monkeys made the allusion so improbable that I didn't consider that meaning. I would have been much more likely to get it with one or two primates.

Replies:   Wheezer


See what I mean - there be dragons...

Most readers picked up the (not so subtle) hints scattered through the tale that the wife is a witch, or at least, maybe, a Wiccan. There's even one hint that the husband is not, or used to not be human. As the tale progresses, it becomes more obvious that she is not just a woman with an odd religion. The six flying monkeys was a reference to the Wizard of Oz. The number six was random, but ya can't start an army of flying monkeys with just one monkey! :D

Replies:   Slutsinger


Ah, yeah, I totally didn't get it at all. My reading was that they had kids and the husband was uncomfortable being responsible for children, but as I said, six babies seems a lot for a human. (I know it is possible given the right drugs.)
I certainly have had allusions fly past readers. And then there are the readers who Twain would shoot--the moral finders, theme discoverors and the like!

Crumbly Writer

Often, with humor, there's humor that works, and those that don't. As a long history of comics demonstrate, you can be as offensive as you want if the material is truly funny and the audience in included in the joke (i.e. they 'get' it). But then there's the joke where the audience is the target, and they feel they're being picked on for not being in the 'in-crowd'.

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