Was I ready to die or die laughing?

Why do I write thrillers instead of comedy? It’s easier to kill people off than make them laugh.

Write what you know, they said.

I stare at a blank screen.

I don’t know much.

Write what you think you know, they said.

I think I don’t know a lot.

Write what your heart wants to write.

That’s what the Muse said.

But then, he’d say anything for a fresh cup of coffee in the morning while the day was too dark to make any more sense than he did.

“What do you mean?” I asked.

It was a legitimate question.

“Your computer screen’s blank,” he said.

I nodded.

“Your mind’s blank.”

I shrugged.

“You’re working with a blank sheet of paper.”

No argument there.

“You don’t have a plot.”

He was right.

“You don’t have any characters.”

Still right.

“Nobody’s in trouble,” he said.

“Nobody’s died.”

“Nobody’s in love,” he said.

“That’s why nobody’s in trouble,” I said.

He grinned.

“So dig down deep,” the Muse told me.

I did.

“That’s not deep enough,” he said.

I dug a little deeper.

“What story does your heart want to tell?”

“I’ve written thrillers,” I said.

He waited.

“I’ve left bodies scattered from New Mexico to Germany with stopovers in Austria and Poland,” I said.

I’d shot a few

I’d buried a few.

I’d left some lying where they fell.

“I don’t want to write a thriller this time,” I said.

“Tired of the dying?”

“Tired of the unknown.”

“So what does you heart want to do?”

I stared out the window.

I thought it over.

Splinters of daylight fell through the trees.

I looked for the sun.

It had not cracked the sky yet.

“My heart wants to make people laugh for a change,” I said.

His smile faded.

“Can you do it?” the Muse asked.

“I’d like to try.”

“You know the problem you face.”

“What’s that?”

“It’s easier to kill people off than make them laugh.”

I leaned back and closed my eyes.

It was so much clearer now.

My mind was made off.

I would try to write a comedy.

But if nobody laughed by the third chapter, I’d start burying my characters.

They say a lot of comedians go out and die on stage.

I’ve seen them.

I’ve heard them.

I’ve cringed at their jokes.

As a comedian, I might die, too,

But I’ll take a lot of characters with me when I go.

So I gave it my best shot.

I set up the scene.

I had the joke in my head.

I threw out the punch line.

One character was ready to laugh.

The other pulled the trigger.

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  • Scott Bury

    So true. I tried a romantic comedy once. No one bought it.
    But stories about war, death, murder, mayhem – wow. People love that.

    • Caleb Pirtle

      Scott: I try to have at least one sidekick who makes a few wisecracks, but I don’t know if anybody laughs. If I tried to write a rainbow, it would turn dark.

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