Fresh FIction Box Not To Miss

Diane Dean-Epps | What If?

May 5, 2008
“My newest book, KILL-TV, is one of my “what if,” stream-of-consciousness moments parlayed into a plot. As a mere lass in my twenties I spent several years working in the radio and television industry where lessons abounded daily, minute-by-minute deadlines were de rigueur, and my video-to-script writing cost me all use and feeling in my verbs.

Back in the day,” when I discovered the magic wrought by shoulder pads and their seemingly mysterious ability to make my waist appear smaller than it actually was, I came up with another mysterious point to ponder: What if I wrote a comical and suspenseful story that was based upon a combination of irritating characters I’d worked with in broadcasting and, lest there be any residual hostility on my part necessitating expensive counseling, I just plain killed ‘em off?” You know…cheap therapy. This began my year-long journey into the development of my most ambitious novel to date, KILL-TV, just by virtue of continuity, scene changes, and plotting gyrations.

While some kind folks, to whom I am not related, have commented that I am mildly amusing, humor does tend to always find its way into anything I write. Having said that, maintaining a humorous tone, snappy dialogue, and a fast pace can be a daunting task, but it lent itself well to the setting of the broadcast journalism world, a world that looks pretty danged different from the inside out. I’m often asked why I left the “glamorous” world of broadcasting for my full-time gig as a teacher of Generation Y-ME?! to which I reply cleverly, “Because.” Truth be told, as I neared thirty, I was subjected to the tandem aural experience of hearing my biological and sociological clocks ticking; I wanted to contribute to society and use what little experience I had gained to serve people other than myself. Go figure how that kind of thinking can be achieved and channeled through a girl who refused to shop anywhere, but at a store rhyming with, “Lacy’s,” until she was…well…thirty.

It may be said that humor is in the mind of the humorist – okay, you got me – I said it and I’m not so sure it makes sense, but just keep in mind, this is my wrap-up and I’m trying to sound all smart, profound, and what-not. With a book that is touted as “humorous,” the trickiest part is creating a connection with the reader by accessing the commonality of the absurd and the things that make us all laugh. Being funny is extremely subjective and when I’m fortunate enough to be in front of someone, whether I’m doing stand-up, or just performing one of my “bits” gratis, I at least have the dual advantages of vocal and facial inflection. Writing does not offer this and no amount of exclamation points, italicized words, or clever dialogue can make someone laugh if the tone hasn’t been set first.

In writing, one way I establish tone is to rely upon situations that have happened, but then exaggerate the heck out of them. This is how I created the scene between Leslie and the recently deceased, Lincoln, where she gets her cute little knit top stuck on his tie clasp. As she attempts to set herself free by rocking back and forth in his lap, she creates the illusion that she is in an unseemly coupling with the boss, and this is in full view of anyone walking by in the outer hallway area, which is just on the other side of the control room glass partition. Combining the horror that a character would feel over discovering her dead boss with a slapstick type of physical interaction that is misinterpreted by a key character is no mean feat, but I hope I’ve succeeded. It is my fervent hope, desire, and wish that I have created a tale in KILL-TV that amuses the masses who will graciously welcome these characters into their lives, even briefly, and perhaps beyond if the alliterative protagonist, Leslie Lloyd, agrees to a future foray into my next book.

Diane Dean-Epps

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