Jon-Law's Workshop: Humerus Isn'

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Jon-Law's Workshop: Humerus Isn't A Bone. (Get it? Bone?)

This workshop is now CLOSED. Jon-Law is reading the entries, and will get back to us with comments on the 4th of May.

Meanwhile, get your own critiquing skills out, and help your workshop mates. :)

All entries are at the end of this journal.

April 20, 2008

Jon-Law is a deviantART lit community legend, if I say so myself. You won't find much in his gallery, but one read of Looking Down On Me is proof enough of his talent. He's also one of the best critics here and just a great guy. I'm going to shut up now (he's probably laughing at me now) and let you have a look at his free-for-all workshop challenge.


I've known a lot of writers in my time. Although they vary wildly from one to the next, they've all got one thing in common: they're funny. I can't pass a single conversation with a writer friend without at least one good laugh. An afternoon in the company of a few writers is an invitation to spit a drink through my nose. I think we've all been on those team tangents that leave us weeping and clutching our stomachs. Writers are funny alright, but writing isn't always funny.

Is it because in conversation our senses of humour interact, whereas in reading we're only acted upon? Is it because a joke between friends is alive and malleable, whereas a joke in a book is eternally fixed? That's certainly why reading isn't always funny.

But in writing, giving humour effect is like giving any other element effect. It's work. You have to slave at it like everything else, sitting alone in your underwear eating a raw hotdog and singing anime music into it like it’s a microphone.

The Bad News
:pointr: Every joke is by default a “you had to be there” joke, and if you can’t put your readers there, they won’t get it.
:pointr: If your writing is even halfway decent your readers will share your characters’ joy and pain, but no way no how will they all share your sense of humour. (If you’re lucky, famously funny, or Douglas Adams, readers will seek you out because they share your sense of humour.)
:pointr: Words in print are fixed.

The Good News
:pointr: Words can be tried and tested to the Nth degree before they’re fixed. Comedians hone their material on the road, you get to hone yours on friends and faithful critics.
:pointr: Revision might kill the spontaneity for you, but think of written humour like a Rube Goldberg machine. If it’s put together well enough it’ll look plenty spontaneous. If there’s even one piece out of place, all the spontaneity in the world won’t save it.
:pointr: Humour knows no bounds.

And because it’s so open, this’ll be a fairly open workshop. If you’ve got a funny story and just want a critique, bring it. That poem about the cat who shits on the table and frames the baby? Bring it, we’ll squeeze it for all the whimsy it’s got. If you just want a second opinion on some witty back-and-forth dialogue, bring it. If you’ve got an epic drama that needs a well placed comedic twist to keep your readers from slitting their wrists, bring it. Hell, if you’ve got something like Python’s funniest joke in the world and want to make it less funny / lethal, bring it. I am your servant.

Which brings us to me: since I don’t have a gallery per se, and since I don’t do much to meet anyone, old or new, it’s only fair I throw down some credentials. First on the list: I love laughing. I love humour. I appreciate and can review every style or sense of humour. Highbrow, lowbrow, slapstick, dry, morbid, surreal, I love it all. (I’d list influences by name, but it’s just easier to say “everyone except Jerry Lewis.”) I don’t consider myself “the funny guy” of any group—in fact, if dA were Lord of the Flies, I’d probably be Simon. Or the rock Piggy split over. Nevertheless, if we’ve met even once I’ve probably made you laugh. Not convinced? Ask around. Or suck a lemon.

Note me a single entry however and whenever these W’s Workshop babes tell you. Barring a natural disaster or entry by clones, I’ll read and respond to them all.

How to Submit

After submitting your entry as a deviation or scrap, send us a note with a link to your poem. Include the subject line "FUNNY BONES"  in your note. The deadline is midnight April 30, 2008. All times are set for GMT. Jon-Law will respond to the entries on May 4, 2008.

A note from Writers-Workshop: Please make sure you send only one entry this time, or it will be very hard for Jon-Law to critique them. Also, as he mentions in his writeup, you can send in previously written work, but pick something that you really need help with. And yes, you can send in either prose or poetry. That's it. This should be a fun workshop. Cheers and make us laugh, all right? :)

:postit: On Accepting Critique

:bulletblue: Always thank the critic. This gratitude must be as sincere as possible, even if you did not like the critique given, because the critic has taken time to offer his/her opinion of the piece.
:bulletblue: If you do not like the critique, it is not necessary to mention so. Simply thank the critic and move on. You can always ignore their suggestions, while not making a scene of it.
:bulletblue: If you are unsure of what the critique means, feel free to ask the critic what s/he meant. Building rapport with your critic is one of the best ways to survive in a workshop and to learn. If you want examples, ask. Similarly, if you like the suggestions given, mention it. Critic's have feelings too. :)
:bulletblue: In the unlikely case that a critic offers rude/sexist/racist/etc comments, feel free to contact Writers-Workshop in a note and we will try to help you. A decision regarding the rudeness of the critique will be taken, and if we're not sure ourselves, we will consult with one of the GDs or anyone else high up on deviantART.

:+fav: our news article


May 1, 2008

Entries (in alphabetical order of deviant's username)


Gourmet Novel Recipe by BeccaJS
The Dish and the Spoon by Gibah
In Sanity pt. 1 by Mizusaka
The Magnificent Madame Mim by sammehsweet
The Pocket Monkey by TagViiloru


Life: a limerick by Amy--Louise
A Kitten's Tale by Deltabeta
Concerto Starnuto by batousaijin
Bathroom by daowns
Thoughts by GaioumonBatou
Number 2s taste best by inspiredimperfection
Charge of the Orc Brigade by wyldhoney
War Memories by Yuskity

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fense's avatar
Agh! I missed it! -sigh- I've been busy...