Welcome to the blog of author Tricia Goyer!

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Writing Humorous Creative Nonfiction...

for Focus on Your Child Parenting Publications

This has great info! Be sure to follow the link at the bottom to read the rest!

I am an editor, and there’s nothing funny about it, especially when I’m tasked to purchase humor articles. Finding light-hearted narratives is difficult.

If I’m told to acquire a humor article for each issue, I stress. When I’m asked to find four humor articles in a month, I panic. Add the fact that manuscripts also have to be based on the actions of children and include a parenting tip . . . and walking on the moon by Friday sounds like an easier feat.

Some comedic authors understand how to use the element of surprise. Others can embellish their stories or exaggerate the situation. Still others allow their audience to laugh at the narrator’s mistakes. What few understand is how to combine humor and an underlying theme.
The humorous, parenting articles that I purchase must be focused on an individual child, have entertainment value and include a parenting tip. The humor is derived from the situation. Therefore, I have dubbed this format a Situational Humor Article with Parenting Insights, SHAPI for short.

1. Find a humorous situation
A SHAPI starts with a humorous situation that includes a parenting moment. The audience receives a peek into another person’s family and reads about something that is unique but familiar. It must be true and can be written in first or third person, depending on whether it’s about your life or someone else’s (if about someone else’s, you will need to provide documented proof that you have permission to write about their life experience).

Let’s take a look at an example. In the Aug./Sept. 2007 issue of Teen Phases (for parents of 13- to 18-year-olds), Letitia Suk found an interesting situation. In her and her husband’s effort to promote family dating, she prepared a large dinner and invited her daughter’s friend to eat with the family. When he didn’t show up, they ate dinner without him. As soon as the dishes were put away, the phone rang—he overslept . . . can he still come over? The daughter begged her family to let him—and eat dinner again. To help her, they did. They re-set the table, put out the leftover food and sat down to another meal.

The humor is situational, and the article is believable. Parents laugh not only at what happened in this family but also at themselves—the times they have done similar things for their teens.


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