The funny thing is … Writing comedy – Patricia Caliskan

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By Patricia Caliskan

I wouldn’t have dared tell myself I was going to write Comedy, until I wrote it. Working on my first novel, as I became more comfortable in the story-telling, humour became an inherent part of the mix. Initially, I didn’t think about trying to make readers smile. I saw it as a way to make my job more enjoyable. And at that point, technically, I didn’t actually have any readers, so I could be as silly as I liked, without worrying about if it was only me who found the funny-bits, funny.♥

There’s a lot of discussion about ‘Finding your Voice’ as a writer. I only fully realized what that meant, when I became more light-hearted. That’s my voice. My take on the world. For the first time, I acknowledged how I always try to look at life with a sense of amusement, as much as I possibly can.

Humour has been my fall-back mechanism throughout my life. A funny line turns a moment into a great memory. When things aren’t going well, humour provides perspective to make situations livable, ambitions achievable, and doubt, merely fleeting. That giddy-stuff can be pretty potent stuff.

From a very young age, I was lucky enough to be surrounded by highly opinionated, determined, women. I found these women far more interesting than other children. I enjoyed listening to their conversations, and realized, their friendships were based on vulnerability and trust.

Once silent rules had been exchanged, confidence earned, friends provided each other with detailed narratives of their lives. Opinions flew back-and-forth. Voices were raised, or suddenly lowered, to indicate secret drama. Jokes, some revealing a deeper, inside knowledge, traded with relish. I was fascinated, and even more so, when I realized these conversations were private, not usually shared with the men-folk, or innocent bystanders.

There was always a lot of humour in my family. I didn’t realize, growing up, not every household communicated by incident and anecdote. Life was viewed through a slightly satirical lens, and sometimes it was used to soften the blow, or cushion the fall.

Spending a lot of time with my characters, sharing humour became part of getting to know them, along with a sense of confiding in the reader. We all become friends. While there are darker issues in my books, some characters have a slightly irreverent take on their lives, others are completely unaware of their comedic traits.

By the time I was working on my new novel, hearing how people laughed, cared, and forgot themselves while reading Awful by Comparison, gave me far more confidence in typing up a more mischievous serving with Girlfriend, Interrupted.

Putting a smile on somebody’s face is one of the most gorgeous experiences. Making someone smile is almost selfish, in the good-feeling it generates. I want my books to be places can readers escape to, knowing they’re going to be thoroughly entertained, and always made to feel welcome.

Patricia Caliskan first saw her name misspelt in print aged 17, interviewing illegible musicians and hungover actors for an Arts and Entertainment magazine. After graduating from the University of Liverpool, Patricia joined Trinity Mirror Newsgroup, spending 10 years acting as editor across a portfolio of magazine titles. Her debut novel, Awful by Comparison, was published by Endeavour Press in August 2016. Her second novel, Girlfriend, Interrupted, is out now, published by Sapere Books.

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