lowbrow humor

How to Write Successful Dialogue

@albino-troll-ninja asked:

Got any feedback/advice/links for someone who wants to make lengthy, relatively action-less dialogues between characters more than just “‘Loren ipsum,’ he said.” “'Ipsum lorem’, she replied.” for forty paragraphs?

No problem!  I love dialogue, so I’m happy to be of assistance in this department.  

Here are my personal rules of thumb:

1.  Allow the dialogue to show the character’s personality.

If you really think about your conversations, it can be telling exactly how much of someone’s personality can shine through when they speak.  

Allow your character’s persona, values, and disposition to spill over when they speak, and it will make for a significantly more interesting read for you and your reader. 

For example:  let’s take a look at a mundane exchange, and see how it can be spruced up by injecting it with a good dose of personality.

Exhibit A)

“How was your day, by the way?”  asked Oscar, pouring himself a drink.

“Not too bad,” replied Byron.  “Cloudy, but warm.  Not too many people.”

“That’s nice.”   

Exhibit B) 

“How was your day, by the way?” asked Oscar, pouring himself a drink. 

“Ugh.  Not too bad,” groaned Byron, draping himself on the couch.  “Warm, but dreary.  Gray clouds as far as the eye could see.  Not anyone worth mentioning out this time of year.”  A pause.  “Well, except me, of course.”

“Hmmph,” said Oscar, glancing over his shoulder.  “If it were me, I wouldn’t want it any other way.”

Isn’t that better?  Already, the audience will feel as though they’ve gotten to know these characters. 

This works for longer dialogue, too:  allow the character’s personal beliefs, life philosophy, and generally disposition to dictate how they talk, and your readers will thank you.

Of course, this example is also good for giving the reader a general sense of what the characters’ relationship is like.  Which brings me to my next point:

2.  Allow the dialogue to show the character’s relationship. 

Everyone is a slightly different person depending on who they’re around.  Dynamic is an important thing to master, and when you nail it between two characters, sparks can fly.

Work out which character assumes more of the Straight Man role, and which is quicker to go for lowbrow humor.  Think of who’s the more analytical of the two and who’s the more impulse driven.  Who would be the “bad cop” if the situation called for it.  

Then, allow for this to show in your dialogue, and it will immediately become infinitely more entertaining.

Example:  

“Alright,” said Fogg, examining the map before him.  “Thus far, we’ve worked out how we’re going to get in through the ventilation system, and meet up in the office above the volt.  Then, we’re cleared to start drilling.”

Passepartout grinned.  “That’s what she said.” 

“Oh, for the love of God – REALLY, Jean.  Really!?  We are PLANNING a goddamn bank robbery!”

Some more questions about dynamic to ask yourself before writing dialogue: 

  • Who is more likely to talk and who is more likely to listen? 
  • Who would talk with their mouth full of food and who would politely wait to swallow?
  • Is their relationship fraternal/sororal?  If so, who would be the “little sibling?”
  • Is one of them a bit of a mother/father figure to the other? 
  • Who more frequently gets irritated with who?
  • Who has the more understated sense of humor?  Who’s a bit more juvenile?
  • Who’s better educated?  Does it show when they speak?
  • Who’s a bit more pretentious/full of themselves?
  • Who interrupts more?
  • Who swears more?

This can also be a valuable tool to cluing your reader in on who the characters are as people: 

3.  Think about what this dialogue can tell the reader.

It’s better to fill the reader in more gradually than to waist your valuable first chapter on needless exposition, and dialogue is a great way to do it.  

Think about what your characters are saying, and think about ways in which you can “sneak in” details about their past, their families, and where they came from into the discussion.  

For example, you could say:

Tuckerfield was a happy-go-lucky Southern guy with domineering parents,

and bore everyone to death.  

Or you could have him say: 

“Sheesh.  All this sneakin’ around in the woods late at night reminds me of being back in Kansas.  Good times, man, good times.”  There was a pause, before he added,  “‘Course, it wasn’t nearly so fun when I came home late for curfew and had to sleep on the front step, but y’know.  Life happens.”

Isn’t that much better than the omnipresent monotone?

Dialogue is also a great way to fill in potential plot holes early on, by having your characters talk them out and explain them. 

Moreover, dialogue can also be used to foreshadow, offer relevant hints about the climax, or provide information necessary for the resolution.  

So use it wisely!  

4.  Sprinkle in mini-actions throughout. 

Even in actionless dialogue, no one actually does nothing.  In my case, for example, I stim a lot.  I play with my hair.  I play with eating utensils.  It’s probably very annoying for those around me, but you get the point.

Less fidget-y folks might not do this as much, but they rarely sit totally still during conversations, either.  So occasionally add in these mini-actions, and it will make your characters feel a bit less like disembodied voices or floating heads.

For instance:  

Jo leaned back in her chair rolling her stiff neck from sitting still for so long.  “…So the way I see it,” she continued.  “Even if Pheris Beuller’s Day Off didn’t take place in Cameron’s imagination, Pheris was clearly a sociopath whose behavior shouldn’t be glamorized.”

“Ha.  As if.”  Avery paused to sip her root beer.  “Pheris,” she began, raising an index finger.  “Was clearly emblematic of counterculturist movements such as the Beat Generation, and his disregard for the capitalistic dogmas imposed upon younger generations is something to be admired.” 

“For Christ’s sake, will you two lighten up?”  scoffed Leo, counting out bills for the pizza.  “We were talking about which movie we wanted to watch tonight.  Jesus.”

5.  Remember how people actually speak.

In real life conversations, people don’t speak in paragraphs.  Alright, some people might, and this can actually be interesting as the personality aspect of a certain type of character.  

But generally speaking, people don’t speak in paragraphs, or as though they’re writing thought-out prose or letters.

In real conversations, people stutter.  They laugh at their own jokes, repeat words or phrases, and lose their train of thought.

Naturally, you don’t have to illustrate in your writing exactly how chaotic and mundane human speech can be, as writing would be pretty boring in general if it was strictly limited to miming reality.  But it’s good to keep in mind that your characters are talking, not writing in purple prose.

Exhibit A: 

“When I was a young boy, my mother and I had a most tumultuous relationship,” said Marcus.  “She saw me as a hallmark of her past failures, and took every opportunity to remind me as such.”     

Exhibit B:

“My mom, when I was kid, we had what you’d call a sort of tumultuous relationship,” said Marcus.  “Nothing I ever did was right for her.  She, uh – I think she saw me as sort of a hallmark of her past failures.  Took every opportunity to remind me of that.”    

Which of these is more organic, more easy to visualize, and more telling of character?  Unless the point of this dialogue is to illustrate that Marcus is a gentleman crook of some kind with pristine speaking mannerisms, I’m going to say the latter. 


Best of luck, I hope this helps, and happy writing!  <3

Day 26

My goal for this summer job was to go to work, do my job, get paid. No mingling, no hanging around, no extra bullshit. I wasn’t here to make friends. I knew I would be gone in three months, headed back to college. So why bother?

As a result, I think I had a reputation for being a little anti-social. Not in the sense that I was a raging jackass to anyone who so much as dared to glance my way, but in the sense that I never initiated any conversations unless strictly necessary. I was still polite to everyone I spoke to, but I think they could tell that I wasn’t interested in anything they had to say. So they mostly steered clear of me. Which was just fine, as far as I was concerned. 

Unfortunately, this rubbed Manager Andrew the wrong way. You see, Andrew, the manager of my managers, is the sort of irritating person who sees a shy or introverted individual and feels it is his duty to pester them until they “come out of their shell.” As seen through Andrew Vision™, reluctance to join a conversation is actually a byproduct of sincere social anxiety, not genuine disinterest. I wouldn’t fault him for trying the first one or two times, since this is a problem that I know many individuals experience when meeting new people. However, to Andrew’s immense discredit, he kept on trying to lure me into inane conversations in spite of just how apathetic I was toward him. And he didn’t know when to quit. 
Let me give you an example:

Andrew: Hey S! S! S! Pay attention to me S!
Me: Is something wrong Andrew?
Andrew: Want to hear a joke?
Me: *genuinely busy ringing up people* Can it wait a bit? There’s a lot happening right now.
Andrew: WHAT KIND OF ROOM HAS NO WALLS??
Me: Please sto–
Andrew: A MUSHROOM!!!
Me: *stone-faced silence*
Andrew: WHY AREN’T YOU LAUGHING. 

In my experience, other coworkers subjected to this kind of shitty lowbrow humor would just cringe and give him courtesy-laughs, so he had come to the conclusion that he was actually hilarious. Despite having to suffer through his terrible jokes and his constant pestering, there was one upside: because Andrew existed, I was able to meet the only person I liked in the entire store, Scott. 

Scott was 46 years old and almost legally blind due to head trauma received in a serious car accident a few years before. He was paunchy and balding and, if asked about his interests, would extoll the virtues of Dimebag Darrell and Nascar. His voice was loud and his laugh even louder, so it was always notably absent whenever Andrew told one of his shitty jokes. Best of all, most wonderful of all, Scott was always 50000% done with everyone’s bullshit, especially when it came from customers. If soccer moms ever got in his face (usually for “offenses” like entering the wrong code into the register because of his vision impairment), threatening to call corporate and get him fired, he’d just fix them with a disconcerting, sightly off-kilter stare, and say, “Go right ahead. Have me fired. Take away my job. It can join my vision and all the other things I’ve lost.”
You’d better believe it made them backpedal every time. 

Scott was a boiling cauldron of rage just constantly waiting to overflow, and goddamn if I didn’t love him for it. Unlike the teenage cashiers closer to my age, he didn’t buy into the whole “happy corporate family” bullshit that the store tried so hard to sell. We naturally became bitching buddies despite our massive age difference. He seemed legitimately sad to hear I had to go at the end of my seasonal employment. Any time I pass through the neighborhood where this store is located, I think about him.

I hope he’s doing well. 

Tips for new Homestucks

Okay since Homestuck is having a resurgence due to Hiveswap coming out anyone new to the fandom should understand some aspects. Nothing major, just something so you all don’t repeat the same mistakes as the fandom did when it was in its prime.

  1. Seal your makeup with cosplay. I know this seems like common sense but speaking as someone who has been decked out in all gray. Seal. Your. Makeup. If you don’t have sealer, baby powder works just as well.
  2. Making horns for the trolls? Model Magic air dry clay is your best bet for smaller horns (so for the main trolls sans Tavros). I wouldn’t go into too much detail on how to make them but there are tutorials out there for the best results.
  3. I know you’re excited and interested in Homestuck but don’t go trying to force people to read it, that’s one of the major reasons the fandom was looked at with poor taste in the past. Because it has a massive following and almost that entire following tried to get people into it.
  4. I know it’s gotten better since I was a kid but IF YOU ARE UNDERAGE DO NOT ROLEPLAY SMUT. DO NOT POST NSFW PICTURES OF YOURSELF IN COSPLAY. I JOINED THE HOMESTUCK FANDOM WHEN I WAS 15. I SAW FRIENDS LIVES GET RUINED. DO NOT POKE THAT BEAR.
  5. On the opposite side. The main characters are 13-16 so if you write smut fanfics or do smut roleplays or draw nsfw fanart. Make sure you write a disclaimer that these versions of the characters are of age. This is a series that involves countless timelines. It’s not that hard, and don’t just write the disclaimer and have them OBVIOUSLY still be kids. It’s not right.
  6. The story is long and tedious yes but it is worth it. There are so many gems that can easily be glossed over. So don’t just skip to Act 5 for the trolls ya know?
  7. Don’t be ashamed for enjoying what you enjoy. I know that Homestuck has become “cringe culture” but fuck that. Cringe culture is for the birds. You enjoy it? Embrace it.
  8. Don’t make bucket jokes, like, I get it. I was new to the fandom once too but bucket jokes are just really lowbrow humor in the middle of some great humor to be had.
  9. People are going to ship what they are going to ship. Don’t get into full on shipping wars over it. In its prime Homestuck had ships for literally every possible combination of character. It’s not worth the time, effort or anger to argue over them.
  10. Headcanons are headcanons and there are a lot to be had. The series is great but because it’s so massive there are some things that can be lost. Don’t blast someone’s headcanon.
Captain Underpants is worth more than its nostalgia factor.

Captain Underpants Spoiler Free Review

Captain Underpants: The Epic First Movie is genuinely funny by being lowbrow and crass, and with its childhood naivety is charming and heartwarming. It does its source material justice without necessitating any prior knowledge or experience of it.

Truth be told, there isn’t very much substance to it, but considering it is about two school children and their imaginary brief-clad super hero come to life, there’s very low expectations to begin with. Due to that what substance there is, is surprisingly and welcomingly deep; like a good puddle you can actually splash in.

This movie is about the human condition and it is about how we connect to each other. It’s about how we treat each other, how we choose to treat each other, and how we even treat ourselves; the overbearing fun killing Principal Krupp serves as a foil to the stalwart George Beard and Harold Hutchins; Professor Poopypants’ and Melvin Sneedly’s inability to make wholesome connections to other people due to their mistreatment by other people. There are lessons to be learned here, but are more or less glossed over which is rather unfortunate. The central focus is moreso on George and Harold’s relationship and the naivety of their everlasting yet fragile friendship.

The animation is top notch with several surprises of mixed media, homages to the source material, and off-key musical numbers make for a delightful viewing experience. One or two (clean) adult jokes add in some poignant and cynical humor that hit just a little too close to home to allow for some decent balance and contrast in the film; not everything can be lowbrow potty humor, but 99% of it can be.

Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie is worth the watch. 4/5 stars.

Haul Away Bro

[AO3]

Fluffstravaganza commission for @garrulousgibberish! Their prompt was “sea shanties”

Thanks to @thesnadger for providing most of Stan’s jokes :) 


“Well,” said Stan. “That didn’t work.”

Beside him, Ford groaned and rolled over onto his back.

“Brilliant observation, Stanley,” he grumbled. “Truly enlightening.”

Stan shrugged. “Nah, if it was enlightening we’d be able to see better.”

He couldn’t see his brother’s expression in the dark, but the tenor of the groaning beside him changed.

“Besides, you’re the one who’s always going on about the importance of negative results.”

“Ah, yes,” said Ford. “Scientific query: Can we get out of this hole? Preliminary results: No. I’m sure all the big journals are just dying to read the abstract.”

“Oh, I don’t know,” said Stan, grinning preemptively. “A research paper about holes sounds pretty … deep to me!”

Keep reading

sealcontent  asked:

just want you to know that i was in a perfectly normal mood and then that No Mercy Run sans painting of yours came up on my dash and i was like, pretty much instantly in tears over it. what a beautiful and well done and heart-wrenching piece of art. thanks for creating it <3

Thank you so much for your kind comment! ;_; It’s been so fun to see everyone’s reactions to that one.

Don’t worry Sans is fine. Just being dramatic.

The Blacklist: #16 - Giorgio Halston.

Giorgio Halston. Five-foot ten inches tall. One hundred sixty pounds of tan, muscular man meat. A real looker as Human men go, to boot. Even the guy’s voice sounds like sex on a stick. At twenty-six, he’s pretty much the second best view on the docks.

Not the hardest worker, but with an ass like that, I doubt he’s ever had to be. He smiles at the right men, and they take him right under their wings. Smiles at the right women, and they fatten him up on home made cooking. Dollars to donuts, they doesn’t even have to buy his own clothes. He’s got plenty of ‘volunteers’ who want to play dress up - and down - with him all night long. 

Some people just have all of the right moves to go with their advantages, and this guy’s no slacker. High emotional intelligence mixed with tastefully lowbrow humor. Whatever he wants sort of just falls into his lap, tied up with a neat little bow.

I kind of liked the guy - from range - while I was undercover on the docks. Never a bad word about anyone. Knows how to play the game. Hears things, never says a word. Does what he’s told, never asks any questions. Which is why I recognized the imprint of the bands on his right wrist embedded in Kon’s throat. Kon was too strong for a guy Halston’s size to pin on his own though. Which is why the list is as long as it is. Doesn’t matter. You were there. You helped kill my husband. You’re on the menu, kid

After work, he hits the boxing gym. Gotta stay pretty for the viewers. After he finishes his Shadowboxing session, he heads toward the showers. I chat him up just out of sight, and offer tall dark and breathless a quick drink of water from the waterskin in my hand. He doesn’t recognize me. Why would he? I’m just another hot Kal’Dorei chick with a bouncy disposition, long black hair and too much make up on to accommodate Human sensibilities. To him, I’m just another generous-spirited Mark.

He takes the sip, musses my hair and purrs in my ear; mistaking the shiver of revulsion his touch conjures for something else. He laughs on his way into the shower and I slip out the back as easily as I slipped in. The only witness to that particular performance won’t be able to point any fingers.

The drug in the bottle is a slow acting spider venom. He spends ten minutes in the shower, then hops next door to the spicy Pandaren noodle shop around the corner; just like he always does to celebrate the weekend. By the time the venom begins to burn in his throat, he’s eating a kicked up pho that masks the source. He just assumes it’s good food. The sweating and the goose bumps… that’s just because the soup is so spicy. He blows right through dinner without giving the symptoms a second thought. In the end, that’s what get’s him killed. An anti-venom would have made a big difference during that first half hour or so.

The second stage, he’s not really sure what to make of. He’s starting to feel a bit nauseous. Some slowly but steadily worsening cramps. Even the disorientation is mild enough that he just pays his check and opts to head home. 

Whatever plans he’s got are getting cancelled as Mister Wonderful over here decides to call it an early night. Tucks himself into bed and tries to get comfortable. 

Keep reading

My favorite thing right now is the people who haven’t seen sausage party who are complaining about it being well reviewed. 

Listen: Humor does not exist to fit into your notions of what is good or bad or okay and not okay. Humor is meant to push boundaries and to be out there. It doesn’t hit for some people and that’s okay. But what’s not okay is to tell others what is and is not funny. 

Also, you hear the words “uses racial stereotypes” and you think it’s just base level racist jokes and it’s really not. If you watch it you’ll see it’s actually pretty smart. We, for years have put racial stereotypes into branding of food. From Cigar Store Indians to the Frito Bandito… Of course if you made your food come to life it would be those stereotypes. But it’s not wasted. They make jokes where the Native American whiskey is talking about how he had a majestic aisle until “a bunch of goddamn fucking crackers” came and pushed him out. The bagel and the lavash (a kosher and halal food from the same aisle) are used to do a lot of Israel-Palestine jokes and commentary that’s actually well done.

It’s like the best parts of the best years of South Park, stupid lowbrow humor to balance out actual real satire. Plus the religious satire in the movie that is central to the whole plot is very well done.