Local Children's Book Author, Greg R. Fishbone, says...

Archive for the ‘Humor’ Category

Local Author Inks Multiple-Book Deal

In Galaxy Games, Humor on September 11, 2010 at 5:26 am

“I’m here with local author Greg R. Fishbone who is finally able to reveal the details of his exciting new book project. Tell us, Greg,  how many books did you sell and who is your new publisher?”

“Three books and Tu Books.”

“So that makes a total of five books? Very impressive.”

“No, only three books.”

“Three? But wait. What about the other two books?”

“There are only three books.”

“Okay, then I must have misheard. Let’s try this again. What’s the name of your publisher and how many of your books will they be publishing?

“Tu Books and three books.”

“Two books and three books?”

“Yes, Tu Books and three books.”

“So you’re saying two books plus three books somehow doesn’t equal five books?”

“No, still only three books.”

“We’re not getting anywhere talking about your three books, and you still haven’t told me the name of your publisher.”

“Tu Books.”

“Okay, sorry. We’re not getting anywhere talking about your two books–“

“I have three books.”

“Nnnngh! Let’s forget about the three books or five books or whatever for now. What’s the name of your publisher?”

“Tu Books.”

“Now it’s two books again? Ten seconds ago you said you sold three books!”

“I did. I sold three books to Tu Books. Tu is an Ainu word meaning ‘many.'”

“A you-knew word?”

“An Ainu word.”

“An I-knew word?”

“Yes, an Ainu word.”

“So what is the word you think I knew?”

“The word is Tu, and Tu means many.”

“Two books isn’t very many.”

“I know, that’s why I sold three books.”

“That does it. This interview is over! I quit!”

“Wait! You never even asked me the name of the player on third base!”

Book #1 of the Galaxy Games trilogy by Greg R. Fishbone is scheduled for a Fall 2011 release from the Tu Books imprint of Lee & Low Books. Tu Books focuses on multicultural science fiction and fantasy books for young readers.


I May Be a Humorist

In Galaxy Games, Humor, Penguins of Doom on June 17, 2010 at 12:08 am

It may be a case of being too close to the source material, but I haven’t been thinking of Galaxy Games as a humor book. It’s been primarily science fiction and sports with lots of funny bits thrown in. I also didn’t think of Penguins of Doom as a humor book, but as a contemporary fantasy with humorous events told in a humorous voice. If it’s not acknowledged as a humor book, I told myself, I get to be funny only when I want rather than having an obligation to toss out punchlines on a regular basis.

Now, however, may be the time for me to reassess my writing in general as well as in the specific case, to take hold of the virtual podium, and to proclaim: “I’m Greg R. Fishbone and I write funny books for kids. And teens. And penguins.”

Feedback from my editor at Publisher-I’m-Still-Not-Daring-To-Name-In-Public: “Some members of the acquisitions committee didn’t get the book because they only read the first three chapters, which weren’t punchy, hooky, or funny enough.” Except she probably didn’t use the words “punchy” or “hooky” because that’s just me cribbing from my notes of our conversation. Now that I’ve had a week to think about it, I’m sure the committee was right on and I’m the one who didn’t get the book–because the middle and end parts are pretty damn funny if I do say so myself. Hence a violation of the Promise Principle of novel writing:

The Promise Principle:

The first chapter of a book (along with the title and jacket copy) should set up a reasonable expectation of style, genre, character, and plot. The rest of the book must fulfill the promises made, or otherwise leave the reader feeling satisfied rather than cheated.

If you fail to do this, the best you can hope for in reader reaction is the Positive Bait and Switch.

The Positive Bait and Switch:

“That wasn’t at all the book I thought it was going to be, but I liked it anyway.”

But just as often you’ll get a Bait and Switch Off.

The Bait and Switch Off:

“Someone told me the book would be funny, but I stopped reading after three chapters of not laughing.”

A humor book has to front-load some of the humor, which is difficult because the nature of humor is to require a setup and punchline, or better yet, multiple punchlines. Since I wasn’t thinking of Galaxy Games (still in search of a title, by the way) as a humor book, I was spending three or four chapters on mostly setup before dropping several loads of punchlines.

The challenge with a humor book is providing punchlines at the beginning that require little or no explicit setup and yet blend seamlessly into the funny stuff that happens later on. If I can do this successfully, the book will head back to the committee and there will be thunder. Ka-pow!