Comedy Remains Elusive

This sort of makes me laugh now, but, back when I was thinking about a cover for Crazy of Natural Causes, I scattered some of its characters across this sketch. (Monte Dutton sketch)
This sort of makes me laugh now, but, back when I was thinking about a cover for Crazy of Natural Causes, I scattered some of its characters across this sketch. (Monte Dutton sketch)

Clinton, South Carolina, Thursday, January 5, 2017, 9:32 a.m.

Try as I might, I don’t seem to be able to write a comedy.

Oh, a couple of years ago, I took a stab at it. My third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, was funny at times. It was a fable of life’s absurdity, but I got carried away and started taking the story semi-seriously and then seriously outright.

By Monte Dutton
By Monte Dutton

It was published by Kindle Publishing in 2015 and came alive in December, mostly because Amazon offered it in Kindle form for 99 cents. The idea – I believe, because Amazon acts in mysterious ways – is to boost its circulation, get a buzz going again, and boost regular sales eventually. The fireworks hadn’t stopped going off when Crazy’s sales retreated to more modest levels.

Now, however, the fourth novel, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, which has sold well since its spring 2016 release, is on 99 cents sale this month. Predictably, it’s jumping right now.

I succeeded in trying something new with the fifth novel, Cowboys Come Home, which has been out a few months. It was self-published, which means (a.) it’s unlikely to be going on 99 cents sale, and (b.) there is no advance to pay back. It’s a modern western – though one of the positive reviews wrote that it isn’t a western at all, owing to its “plum meanness” [sic] – about a couple World War II veterans returning to Texas.

The sixth novel, Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, became my second failed try at comedy. It’s irreverent, outrageous, far-fetched … but not, as a whole, funny. Readers will start taking it seriously in no small part because I did.

It’s a ways from publication. I’m on the 36th chapter of the first draft, of which there will likely be one more to rearrange and another to tie it all together.

Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell started out as the tale of a hapless sportswriter cast aside in the slow, painful death march of newspapers. How did I ever get that idea?

Then it went off every which way.

It’s got a character locked by bribery into a life of gentle crime. It’s got a budding writer working her way through college by selling weed. It’s got an ex-football star now teaching English at a private school. It’s got a golfer and a caddy, neither of whom do much golfing or caddying. It’s got a quartet of mischievous private-school kids. They all get drawn into a national conspiracy in which the good guys are getting rid of the bad guys by being worse.

Funny, huh?


If you’d like me to mail you a signed copy of Cowboys Come Home, or any of my other novels, you can find my address and instructions at (

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

I’ve written five novels and a collection of short stories. I’ve also written a number of books about sports, mostly about NASCAR. You can find most of them here.

Forgive Us Our Trespasses is on sale all January as a Kindle download at

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)
(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

The Kindle versions of my books, where available, can be found above. Links below are to print editions.

My new novel is a western, Cowboys Come Home. Two World War II heroes come home from the Pacific to Texas.

I’ve written a crime novel about the corrosive effects of patronage and the rise and fall of a powerful politician and his dysfunctional family, Forgive Us Our Trespasses.

I’ve written about what happens to a football coach when he loses everything, Crazy of Natural Causes. It’s a fable of life’s absurdity.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)
(Melanie Ryon cover design)

I’ve written a tale of the Sixties in the South, centered on school integration and a high school football team, The Intangibles.

(Joe Font cover design)
(Joe Font cover design)

I’ve written a rollicking yarn about the feds trying to track down and manipulate a national hero who just happens to be a pot-smoking songwriter, The Audacity of Dope.

I’ve written a collection of 11 short stories, all derived from songs I wrote, Longer Songs.


(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)
(Cover photo by Crystal Lynn)

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing), and/or @wastedpilgrim (more opinionated and irreverent). I’m on Facebook (Monte.Dutton), Instagram (TUG50), and Google-Plus (MonteDuttonWriter).




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