How to Design a Killer Comedy or Tragedy

Updated: May 9

In my previous blog, I talked about the importance of pacing in writing. Today, I will share some Aitsuji tips and tricks to building a killer comedy or tragedy in your stories. Are you ready for some weird suggestions?

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#1: Plot it Out


"But Aitsuji senpai... I'm a pantser! I don't plot anything I write!"


If I hear this protest coming from you, I'm going to slap you. There are limitations to what pantsers can do. If you want to create a fucking effective scene, you need to learn how to juggle between letting the kite string loose and pulling it back. You don't need to become a plotter. Instead, you can try leaning towards a plantser.


When I say plot, I don't mean from the beginning to the ending. In fact, I don't like detail planning myself. Too much of it could kill the characters. Too little of it wouldn't create the magical scene you dream of. A healthy balance with strategic key points to guide you will go a long way.

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#2: Decide the Characters


The first thing you need to plan should be the characters involved in the scene. Think of it as shooting a video. Which actor is going to be coming into the scene first? What would their entrance look or sound like? What's the setting of emotion and the ambience like?


As the writer, you are in charge of knowing your characters best. How they react to every scenario should be at the back of your hand already. If you don't know this yet, make a character profile. If you don't know how to, I suggest you check this blog.


You can only start to design the scene and stage if you know how to direct your actors.


#3: Design the POV


POV stands for Point of View for the ignorant people who were too lazy to Google. The POV of your writing in a scene like this should be suitable for the reaction you want to get from your reader. If someone is going to die, it makes little sense to choose the dying person's point of view to narrate the whole scene.


If you are writing it from a 3rd person's view, think carefully about who the camera should be zooming in on each scene. If you are writing it from a 1st person's view, be careful of what the character narrating should and shouldn't know.


Switching POV could occur if you are writing in mixed POVs but keep in mind to make it easy for your readers to follow. Be very clear on who is leading in each scene.


#4: Provide Details and Thinking Space


The next step is to outline the timeline for your scene. Here are some questions to ask.


1. When do you want to give each piece of information that would lead up to the punchline or big bang at the finale?

2. Who should be narrating it?

3. How do you want to deliver that information to your reader?


Don't forget to pepper your scene with plenty of details. Stop glazing across those details because what we see, hear, smell and touch could provide our readers with a more vivid image to immerse themselves in. The use of these details will give your reader time to settle into the flow of your story.


Note: Do not write fillers. Over describing useless information that doesn't give merit to a scene is as bad as under describing. I will be covering how not to write fillers in another blog.


Give your readers thinking space. When there is an overload of information, it is normal to slow down to take in all these details. What we, as writers, want to achieve here is to give our readers a huge buffet of information that they can enjoy while preparing for the next stage. Talking about the art of distraction...

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#5: Distract Your Readers


This is mandatory. DO NOT BARGAIN WITH ME! The art of distraction is a must in the finest of skills like magic, dating and possibly cheating for a test. Just think about it. Without distraction, the magician cannot perform his trick. Without distraction, your date might find out you're a horrible potato and not a glamourous Instagram babe. Without distraction, your teacher would have seen you copying the answer for question four from the back of your eraser.


Distraction is an art used most effectively by the humblest of writers who want to headfuck their readers with a success rate of 100%.


Distraction doesn't have to be difficult. It comes hand in hand with the art of foreshadowing. As you drop breadcrumbs of information for your readers to follow with the distraction of a detail buffet, offer the readers some 'insights' that might happen following the natural flow of your scene. This can be considered a successful distraction but remember to keep some cards close to you because you don't want to give away the final shot before the huge finale.


#6: Hit Them When They Least Expect


After fulfilling the first five steps of planning above, it is time to deliver the final blow. It doesn't have to be lengthy, it doesn't have to be flashy. You just need to give it to your readers hard and fast like a surprise right hook in the face after doing a strip dance.


I promise that you'll have the tears or laughter that you desire from your readers.


Conclusion...


Although not every scene follows this flow of events, the most successful emotional scenes are written based on true stories. Life is the best teacher we can have. We don't often see things coming because we are not omniscient. It's the same for stories when writing, don't write from the omniscient view of an author, but rather, through the eyes of a reader.


That is how you can design a killer comedy or tragedy in your story. It works for anything, really.

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