Reflection: Silly and Serious Stories

A silly story or a serious story?  Both have their charms – I’ve tried writing both of them.  Back in 2003, I was mostly interested in sillier, more humorous stories based on more outlandish ideas, but these days, I prefer writing much more serious stories.

I wrote Wiz like an old-time sitcom, and Valleyville was just plain silly, period.   I also started Swogprille around that time, and some of the earlier stories were a lot sillier than the later ones.  And these eventually led me to more recent projects, like the later years of Swogprille, and Call of the Guardians, along with The Cromm Conspiracy and Evaira, all of which are a lot more serious (learn more about all these projects on my projects page).

Back then, I think a part of me liked how in a sillier story, anything was possible.  You could really run free, make things happen that could never happen in real life, invent outlandish situations, and even write entirely for the purpose of humor.  Even some continuity issues might be dismissed due to the story’s sillier nature.  I guess I just liked being outlandish.

I generally don’t share my sillier works these days, though I have been planning to redo Valleyville, tone it down a bit, and share it somehow.

The older stories I posted, like The Radio (read it here), were originally a bit more silly, and I toned them down a bit before posting them.  Silliness was also been part of the reason I rewrote The Sapphire into The Sapphire Skull (read it here).  Plus, I revised a lot of the earlier Swogprille stories to make them more serious like the later ones.

But as time went on, I started to prefer more serious stories.  I never really knew why.  Maybe my writing just matured as I did, or maybe it was getting too difficult to keep the silly story humorous throughout – writing for laughs is hard, especially in a text-only medium.  Maybe it had something to do with the influence of the great question I previously blogged about…though I believe the question can apply to sillier stories just as much as it can apply to serious ones.

Even a sillier story has its share of seriousness.  A silly story can create some humor by making a situation that’s a ridiculously exaggerated version of a real world scenario, or make laughs by poking fun at something.  The entire genre of parody is often quite silly, but can have a serious message.  Additionally, it can’t be too silly, or it gets just plain weird or childish.  I know I had to tone down Valleyville many times.

And of course, a serious story can have its share of humor, or comic relief.  Even Shakespeare used some comic relief in his tragedies.  It helps to ease the tension, and I’ve always used plenty of it in Swogprille and COTG.  Even Evaira has its light-hearted moments, and I even added a bit to The Cromm Conspiracy, which is otherwise my darkest and most serious work.

It generally doesn’t show up much in my short stories, but you should be able to find some elements of comic relief here and there.

So, in general, I used to write sillier stories, and now I write more serious ones, but I guess many authors have tried their hands at multiple different genres.  Anyway, I do still enjoy both kinds of stories (who doesn’t love a good laugh at some ridiculously outlandish situation), but I haven’t written a truly silly story in a long time.  Well, I feel like I’m tripping on my words figuring out what more to say for now, so White Rakogis, signing off.

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