Mechanics of Comedic Prose
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September 23rd, 2011 (5:35 AM).
Join Date: Dec 2010
I just realized I said "in general" twice in the sentence about Dave and spelled "some" as "come." Don't post on forty hours awake to three of sleep, kids.
Blundering into the topic from nowhere in particular, I just have one thing to say, and it's that humour in prose often relies on subverting expectations of how a phrase will end ("the Vogon ships hung in the air in much the same way that bricks don't", H2G2) which is the written equivalent of a punch-line, and, rather than tedious description of an unusual subject of focus, highlight one striking resultant feature and let your imagination do the rest (almost every single line in the Discworld series ever spoken about the River Ankh).
This is a reasonably good point to bring up. It's often poorly-executed, though, I guess because it's so easy and exploitable, and thus really easy to force. A good example of poor execution is the early mass of Discworld, again. In fact, the first four or five books are a great display of what NOT to do with humourous prose. They contain pretty much every faux pas, forced joke and poor structure you can imagine. They get pretty good after that, though.
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