The first day at WOTS has gone well. I got to see Ray Rhamey again briefly in the halls as he was going in to start his Flash Editing seminar. My thanks again to him for helping me out on a sticky portion of the story I recently sold. I had just come out of a humor writing presentation put on by Bill Stainton. He's actually quite the local celebrity; he was a writer and performer for a Seattle TV comedy show back in the 80's and 90's called 'Almost Live!' Personally he was hilarious but his presentation pointed out that humor writing is pretty much like other kinds of writing in that it all centers around conflict. In writing fiction, humor begins with 'what goes wrong' and takes off from there. Another thing he brought to our attention is that a comedic piece of writing (and for that matter, most sketch comedy) has something at the very end called a callback. It is a line that brings up the funniest part of the piece and uses it again to tie things up nice and neatly. All in all, a good hour and fifteen minutes.
The last class of the day was on Theme. Eric Penz gave a good presentation where he asked the question 'why write' and listed the answers; they all pointed to a need to say something important. That something is your theme. If you didn't have something to say you'd pick some easier hobby. As Jim Macdonald has often said, keep theme simple. This was the theme of the presentation as well.
After that it was home for cheeseburgers and kids who should have done more to pick up the downstairs room. Tomorrow: Day Two.