Thursday, September 22, 2011

MGOC Contributor: Elaine Ervin

Elaine Ervin

EXCERPT from "A Serious Look at the Funny Bone" by Elaine Ervin in Many Genres, One Craft: Lessons in Writing Popular Fiction

Steve Martin once said that "The day you start analyzing humor is the day you cease to be funny." You could say, then, that I sat down to write this with a healthy dose of trepidation. I've been fortunate enough to see multiple romantic comedy manuscripts published, so the last thing I want to do is cease to be funny, even for a few moments.

I do, however, firmly believe that certain elements of humor can be analyzed and taught, and I will show you what I mean via the conventions of contemporary women's fiction.

One word of caution, though. Once you've made it your mission to discover the "science" behind humor, to pull back the curtain on the mysterious wizard at the controls, well, the magic component of comedy disappears. It becomes work. This is at the heart of Steve Martin's observation.


After growing up in the middle Tennessee countryside, Elaine Ervin obtained a B.A. at the University of Tennessee, then, in 1998, headed to Southern California to teach and watch Dodger and Raider games.

Shortly after the new Millennium, Cupid lured her to Central Pennsylvania and in 2006, completed her M.A. in Writing at Seton Hill University where she fine-tuned her writing with a focus on women’s fiction and romantic comedy.

Currently, she writes as both Alayne Adams and Jacki King, and writing credits include: In Perfect Harmony and The Not So Simple Life (w/a Alayne Adams) and the anthology Jacki's Jewels (w/a Jacki King). She still lives in Pennsylvania, writes full-time, teaches at the college/university level, and still watches Dodger and Raider games. Learn more at and

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