Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Crime And Comedy

I've been thinking about this for a couple of weeks now. Ever since I got an email from a lady that takes her art seriously.

Can I really joke about crime?

I wonder if I'm being true to my characters if I do. They've taken on a shape of their own, a life beyond the page and the words I have laid before them. They have feelings, desires, and reasons for both. When they commit a crime, there is a dark force inside them, driving them to an extreme version of themselves, a version capable of murder.

How did they end up there? Did they think about who they were becoming along the way, did they question themselves as they walked along the road to damnation?

Would they be pissed off if I made a joke at their expense, just to get a laugh out of my readers?

My life has been unblemished by such dire circumstances. I've been in a protective bubble for most of my upbringing. It wasn't until I moved out on my own that I went out to see what those mean streets are for myself. And I certainly didn't get involved in anything approaching violent crime. But the more research I do, the worse I feel about writing crime comedy. I feel like I'm taking advantage of a situation for my own personal gain.

There is another side to all of this. There's the Mel Brooks version of comedy.

If I cut my finger, that's a tragedy, but if someone else falls into an open manhole and dies, that's comedy.

Comedy brings happiness to people's lives and laughter is scientifically proven to be good for your health. If I meditate on that, I can do something good for other people. Maybe make them feel a bit better about themselves and their life. Maybe even stop them from committing a crime.

So I'm back at the start now. Didn't take long. I don't think I've been particularly rigorous about my exploration of the question, but I do have an answer.

Yes. I can do whatever the hell I please. Hopefully no one will beat me up for it.


A Girl Running said...

Comedy and humour make the world a better place and it's up to you what you choose to joke about, personally I think your writing is sometimes strange and that just adds to the enjoyment.

Its your talent and your art and if other people have a problem with it or take life too seriously then the problem is theirs alone.....your answer is brilliant...do what makes you happy and up the old wazzooo too anyone who begs to differ.


M said...

I think the questioning is a good thing. As much as you write for yourself and to express yourself and your characters the way you want, you also want to write a commercially and / or literary successful book. One that will make squillions of dollars. Or change the world for the better. (I am sure I have used wrong words in here but it is late - and I am tired LOL)

But I think your answer is still the right one. Write whatever the heck you love because that is what will make your book great. That is what makes your book great.

I am loving the responses to emails and questions you are getting. Makes for very good reading :D