In addition to publishing short form humor, Bill Rodgers writes action-filled thrillers with an element of mystery. His initial foray into crime fiction, Killer Set: Drop the Mic, a Bullet Book, debuted in Fall 2019. Bill has written for Jay Leno for over twenty years, and his material has been used in Jay’s monologues and comedy routines around the world. Bill’s writing has taken many other forms, including sitcom scripts, stage plays, and action-comedy screenplays.
CRIME FICTION AND COMEDY
by Bill Rodgers
Writing comedy and writing crime fiction share a
number of common elements, though they may be used in different ways. Two
interesting elements are voice and the release of tension.
When writing jokes for Jay Leno, I write in Jay’s voice.
I write the way Jay talks - the way he delivers. I write on topics Jay likes to
use in his act. I use the same attitude Jay exudes while performing.
Recently, I co-authored my first crime fiction book with
Manning Wolfe. Killer Set: Drop
the Mic, is the story of a road comic, Beau Maxwell, who travels the
country performing his standup comedy. While in Boston, he’s accused of
murdering the comedy club owner where he is headlining. Although the main
character is a comedian, he has to navigate through serious and sometimes
dangerous circumstances. It was a challenge to develop a voice for Beau that
allowed him to be both funny and fearful when in danger.
In crime fiction, the story carries the reader along as
conflict and tension build. This tension can be released in a number of ways.
There could be a fight, either verbal or physical. Or murder, which then leads
to more conflict.
There could be an escape, or a surprise revelation.
Sometimes, conflict in crime fiction can be released with humor. Turns out,
Beau is a bit of a smartass, which allowed us to use humor to release conflict
before starting to re-build it – akin to riding a roller coaster – up and down.
I hope you find time to read Killer Set: Drop the Mic soon, and that you
enjoy the ride!