Nancy's Books

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Keep Them Laughing, part II/Calls for Submissions

1. Situations can be funny. Absurd plots such as building a spaceship in the backyard and flying off to defend the territory can be hilarious to an eight-year-old. Grandpa removing his false teeth or losing his hairpiece is funny to a four-year-old. The word “underwear” cracks up a group of kindergarteners. So does “snot.” Keep the audience in mind with the humor. What’s funny to one age group is totally lost on another.

2. Characters performing in unexpected ways bring out the humor, such as a dog that talks or a clumsy cat. Kids love quirky characters. Injecting the unfamiliar into a familiar situation can be funny: a buffalo going to dinner or a an elephant who takes a bath in a tub.

3. Use exaggeration.

4. Don’t try to make every sentence funny. Surprise the reader with a touches of humor scattered throughout the story. The humor should serve to carry the plot forward and not be an isolated gag stuck onto a story.

5. Set up the humorous episode by leaving the humor as the last line or at the end of the sentence for a more powerful punch. In picture books, keep the surprise with the turn of the page. The reader is guessing what might happen. If you surprise the reader, you just might get a laugh.

Call for Submissions for Student Writers:

Giggle Poetry Accepts original poetry from childrenDetails at

Call for Submissions for Adult Writers:
The American South is a haunted place – full of ghost stories, native legends, persistent devils & angels, souls sold at the crossroads, and moon-eyed maidens living in the Okefenokee. The South’s best writers – Faulkner, O’Connor, McCullers – all keep this sense of the otherworldly in their fiction. In this spirit, Q & W Publishers is looking for submissions for an anthology of short fiction and non-fiction that explores the fantastic, eerie, and bizarre side of the American South.” Pays: $50/accepted piece, plus one copy of the anthology.
Deadline: March 1.
Details at

Check out more contests on my blog:

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