I’ve had my leg in two different canoes for a while now. Writing comedy for the stage and screen – mostly in sketch form – and attempting to write a novel that I’d been working on for years: Duckett & Dyer: Dicks For Hire. As anyone who writes sketch comedy will tell you, you need to get out jokes early, quickly and time them for the greatest impact. For the first few drafts of Duckett & Dyer, this philosophy influenced my thinking to a great extent. It’s a funny novel (depending on your taste), so the jokes came hard, they came quick and they came fast, with little regard to anything else except for a tight, if sometimes twisty, plot.
These early drafts sucked. They sucked out of control.
It was early days, so I still had a lot to learn. A long way down the river, if you want to go back to that canoeing metaphor. And although it took me 4 years to see Duckett & Dyer to completion, it was absolutely worth the time spent. During those years of redrafts, I found that the book lacked a certain earnestness. The sketch comedy-style jokes were all well and good since they infused the book with personality, but, unlike the characters or caricatures of sketch comedy, the characters in my novel – the titular Michael Duckett and Stephanie Dyer – were not meant to feel as disposable.
Over time, as I endured the brutal process of aging, I found that the experiences of me and my friends around my age were a wellspring of context that I had neglected to even consider for my novel about two best buds going on crazy adventures. Although my friends and I had been close for years, as we barreled headfirst toward the wrong side of 30, I started to learn more about them. Things I’d never thought about asking them, which helped me realize that there’s a lot of things we keep hidden from people we’re close to – for one reason or another – and simply being there and hanging out sometimes just isn’t enough. We need to take real time to understand one another, because often times we may just be scratching the surface of a much bigger iceberg. (I guess we’re canoeing in Iceland, now)
Transferring that elder-millennial life lesson – that teachable moment of understanding – into Duckett & Dyer really transformed the characters from two-dimensional joke vehicles into a real, living, breathing relationship. Unlike me, Michael Duckett learns this lesson of true platonic empathy a tad bit too late (spoiler alert), but, in the end, he is better for it.
…and then I kept layering in the dumb jokes, because – like Michael and Stephanie – the earnestness and wackiness are the perfect things to play off each other. But, in this case, I couldn’t keep one separate from the other.
Two canoes aren’t going to get you anywhere. But tie them together to make a raft, then you’re onto something.
Aw, crap. I forgot the oars in my metaphor.
I’m gonna need to workshop that one. Let me get back to you.
No real online excerpt, but you can look within the book on Amazon!
I only really use twitter, so you can tweet me @GaneshNair or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
About the Author
G.M. Nair is a crazy man who should never be taken seriously.
Possessing both a Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree in Aerospace Engineering has enabled him to masquerade as an intelligent, functioning member of society. If he approaches you to talk about cosmology or the state of the American Space program, try to appear as large as possible and make loud screeching sounds until he flees.
Mr. Nair writes and draws as a hobby and as an attempt to pay off the legal settlements he has incurred for beating up small children as “payback”. In a statement released by his lawyer, Mr. Nair asserts that “they know what they did.”
He is part of the New York City-based Sketch Group PEP and can be seen writing and acting on their monthly sketch show “Clip Show”. He has also written for the History Channel’s Join Or Die with Craig Ferguson.
Mr. Nair currently resides in a state of ignorant bliss.