Written words and songs on stage and humor.

 I attended Jennifer Carson’s book signing last fall. Huge event. Crowds. Cookies. And on the table where Jennifer signed the book were three little vials. I’m sure one of them said, love potion. More on that later.

On Thursday, I had the unique and great pleasure of watching her story on stage. At our local theater. It was packed out. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the book:

Jennifer spent a lot of time over the winter writing the script. I know. Pretty incredible. The playhouse hired a professional puppeteer and a song writer from NY. So cool. I have to say. I loved it!

But I want to focus on the part of the story that had the kids laughing the most. As many of us try to inject humor into our writing in hopes that kids will laugh (without bribing them).

Part way through the story, the squire, Mortimer, on his quest to find a wonder, stops at the cottage of a rather muddled wizard. Here’s what made the kids laugh:

Puns. When the wizard misheard Mortimer’s words and Mortimer grew frustrated.

Unexpected surprise and role reversal. The wizard demanded Mortimer’s help before answering his question. So Mortimer held up the frog prince, the wizard poured a potion over the frog, and . . . the frog prince fell in love with Mortimer. So funny. The kids and adults were laughing. They just weren’t expecting it.

Hyperbole and extending a funny situation. The play carried this aspect one step farther and had the frog prince dance with Mortimer and the wizard too.

It was fun for me to watch Jennifer signing and selling books afterward. 

Can you envision your story on stage or as a movie? Could you imagine trying to write the movie script! What book would you love to see as a movie?

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12 Responses to Written words and songs on stage and humor.

  1. kris August 6, 2010 at 12:03 pm #

    Having been there with Laura I’d wholeheartedly agree! It was amazing to see Jen’s story in full, life size, song and dance–and I was proud to be there as one of her critique partners.

    I can only imagine what it’s like to see your characters take shape in front of you.

    Cheers to Jen!

  2. Andrea Vlahakis August 6, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I don’t know about movies, but Laura if you go over to my blog I’ve got an award for you! 🙂

  3. Karen Strong August 6, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

    That sounded like a lot of fun! Wow, I think it would be cool to work on a script adaption of your book. You would have to look at it from a totally different angle. Seems like it would be challenging and fun at the same time.

    As for books I would love to see as a movie, I have always thought THE PENDERWICKS by Jeanne Birdsall would make a great classic movie. I would go see it.

  4. patti August 6, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Yes, but mainly because of the setting and the drawing from real-life characters.

    I LOVE the reasoning behind the success of Jennifer’s work.

    Thanks for “thinking it out” for us!!!


    • Laura August 6, 2010 at 1:58 pm #

      Kris – It was great fun to hang out with you and Ansha too!

      Andrea – Thanks for the award!

      Karen – I wonder if looking at it from a script pov would make my writing better? More visual?

      Patti – Great setting seem key to making a great movie!

  5. Stina Lindenblatt August 6, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    When I write, I visualize my book like a movie, but that doesn’t mean I expect it to ever be one. I doubt I could write a movie script.

    Sounds like an amazing play. 😀

  6. Erin MacPherson August 6, 2010 at 3:29 pm #

    Hi Laura- I can’t imagine my book as a movie cause it’s non-fiction, but there are SO many novels that would make FABULOUS scripts. My problem is that movies never quite do my favorite stories justice. I love a good novel and I hate it when it’s ruined on screen.

  7. Susan Kaye Quinn August 6, 2010 at 3:32 pm #

    I love this post! I’m considering venture into “humor territory” for my next MG book and it intimidates me! I think humor is so much more difficult than drama. Thanks for the great post!

  8. Shelley Moore Thomas August 6, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    I actually get kids from my school to put on a show of one of my books every year. (It is always hard to tell who is having the most fun…them or me!)


    • Laura August 6, 2010 at 4:11 pm #

      Stina – I think it’s a good practice to visualize your scenes unfolding.

      Erin – I agree. Some of my favorite books made horrible movies. I haven’t seen Percy Jackson yet, but I hear it’s not too good.

      Susan – Humor does seem to be more difficult to get right. Good luck with that!

      Shelley – I bet Good Night, Good Knight would make a great classroom play for first graders. You should write it and have it on your website. The kids must love acting those stories out!

  9. Laura Marcella August 6, 2010 at 5:26 pm #

    That sounds so fun! I love the humor in middle-grade books! Humor is hard to get right because it’s so subjective. But I’ve heard from humor writers their best and funniest jokes come when they’re not trying so hard. Kids especially know when you’re trying too hard.

  10. Karen Lange August 7, 2010 at 3:07 am #

    That’s a great thing to consider! My book as a movie…Okay so I have to write the book first. But I like the idea. 🙂

    I’d love to see The Blue Castle by L.M. Montgomery as a movie.
    Have a happy weekend,

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