Whether you are writing a novel, memoir, short fiction, satire, or a dating profile, humor is always welcome—except when it comes to condolence and rejection letters (and even then...). This user-friendly workshop is dedicated to serious fun and is designed for writers who aim to entertain and inspire laughter with whatever they are working on. The class is open to anyone with creativity and wit. (And journalists are welcome, too.) Class members are encouraged to present a minimum of two separate humorous pieces or book excerpts. We'll read each other's work and analyze what works and what doesn't—according to our own perfectly calibrated laugh-o-meters, of course—and we'll discuss strategies and devices—plot, character, and language—to amp things up. We'll also discuss humor writing. humor writers—Miguel Cervantes and Mark Twain, P.G. Wodehouse and Barbara Pym, A.A. Milne and Dave Barry, Tina Fey and David Sedaris, as well as many others. Additionally, we'll examine current issues facing humor writers, including the challenges of writing for laughs in the ages of "wokeness" and Trump. But mostly, this class will teach you how to seize the day and seize the discipline required to write, share, hone, repeat—until funny.
*no class October 8th
- Two workshopped humor pieces
- Two one-on-one meetings with the instructor
- An increased awareness of the types of humor writing that exist
- A clearer sense of the fiction and non-fiction humor writing market
- A sense of where your work might fit into that market
Week 1: Introductions - Goals, Tastes, Styles. Strategies for Self and Peer Editing
Week 2: Exploring Forms & Taking Chances. Readings
Week 3: The First Line, The Last Line, The Stuff in the Middle. Readings
Week 3: Short & Sweet (Is brevity the soul of wit? Discuss). Readings
Week 5: Sustaining power in long-form. Readings,
Week 6: Submitting Your Work, Readings, Review
Seth Kaufman's most recent book, Metaphysical Graffiti: Rock's Most Mind-Bending Questions, published by O/R Books, blends personal essays, pop culture critiques, satirical fiction and something called "Godot, The Musical" into a love song to music. He is the author of two novels, The King of Pain ("One of 2012's most enjoyable novels"- NY Times) and Nuns with Guns (“A smart, witty and engrossing satire!"-Zoe Heller). His humor pieces have appeared in the New Yorker.com and BN Review. He is also the co-author of a major sports memoir that he can't mention yet but just did.
"As generous as he is funny, Seth always took the time to explain why he was making the edits he did. He taught me a lot about writing."
"Seth Kaufman was the best editor I have ever had. He was great at helping me shape pieces and pushed me to write more clearly to get my point across."
“A smart, witty and engrossing satire! Kaufman is a wonderfully sharp-eyed observer of modern American lunacies."
“METAPHYSICAL GRAFFITI will make you think twice (and laugh thrice).”
"[THE KING OF PAIN is] one of 2012's most enjoyable novels."