Thursday, May 03, 2007

Mission: Laughter

Today, I'm proud to host prolific author Dotti Enderle as she continues with her whirlwind blog book tour. Dotti is an author who enjoys a good laugh herself and enjoys sharing laughter with readers...

So, Dotti, I know, brave and eclectic talent that you are, you have even tried your hand at stand-up comedy. Do you employ humor you think is acceptable for adults that you wouldn’t put in your children’s books?

Absolutely! My stand-up is definitely written for adults. I originally created a Myspace page for my comedy, friending other comics and stand-up fans. I didn’t worry too much about censoring anything there. But then the literary world caught on to what musicians and comedians already knew, and I was soon being friended by other authors, librarians, and young readers. I had to revamp the page and edit the humor in my blog. I thought of building a new page just for my stand-up, but I’ve found that my comedy takes away from my writing and book promotion, so I’m not really doing enough of it these days to warrant another Myspace page. I’m more focused on children’s writing again, though I still write jokes and routines all the time.

Did you learn anything from your stand-up experience that you were able to apply to your writing?

Writing stand-up is a great lesson in editing. A joke is premise and punch. It has to be short and concise, and every word has to count. And with stand-up it’s all about details. It’s not enough to make fun of your cousin, you have to give her a ridiculous name like Arthoola. Don’t say, “the guy with the tattoo.” Say, “the guy with the tattoo of an orangutan on a pogo stick.” Strong verbs and hard consonants are important. I highly recommend studying stand-up to strengthen your writing–particularly if you already write humor.

Do you apply different skills to the different genres in which you write?

Excluding my educator books, my genres tend to be either paranormal or humor. I like to laugh and be scared (occasionally at the same time). When I was a teen I read every magazine and book I could find on the occult. And while I don’t believe in any of it, a lot of that early knowledge turned out to be useful in some of my novels. As for the humor, I inherited that from my father. My picture books could all be a tribute to him.

Have there ever been surprises for you when you saw the illustrators’ sketches of your stories?

Oh yes. Near the beginning of Granny Gert and the Bunion Brothers, I wrote that they were chased out of Amarillo. In my mind I saw a mob running them off. The illustrator, Joe Kulka, cleverly drew them being chased away by a small vicious dog. And then with Grandpa for Sale, well–I never dreamed that the illustrator, Kyle Gentry, could do so much, particularly the wonderful combination of color and black and white. It’s one of the most unique picture books I’ve ever seen, and so naturally I’m thrilled that it’s mine.

Since you’ve done both, would you rather write series or stand-alone titles? Could you share the pros & cons of each?

It’s hard to say since they’re so different. The pros of writing a series is how well you get to know the characters, and the challenges of putting them in new conflicts. The con is striving not to burn out. I limited myself to only writing two chapters a week of my Fortune Tellers Club series for that reason. The good thing about stand-alone titles is the fun of creating a character, conflict, and resolution within one single book cover, and the feeling of pride from crafting all that emotion in a limited amount of words.

Well thanks, Dotti! It's been great having you here. You can follow Dotti on her tour by clicking on the links below...

Karen Lee
Elizabeth O. Dulemba
Ruth McNally Barshaw
Kim Norman
Barbara Johansen Newman
Joe Kulka

No comments: