Posted in Film, Writing

How to Write Humorous Stories that Resonate


Watching Like a Writer is a movie review series that looks at films from the perspective of a fiction writer, complete with one writing takeaway, and an exercise that will help better your fiction!

Since debuting in Mean Girls in 2004, Amanda Seyfried has made more than twenty films, as well as appeared in one of HBO’s best shows, Big Love. Let’s take a look back at her five best films…

5. Jennifer’s Body (2009)

This one was a big flop, to be sure, but it’s definitely a guilty pleasure for those who wanted to see what the writer of Juno would do with the horror genre. Megan Fox is forgettable, but Seyfried, who really carries this film more than Fox, gives one of her best performances and is the foremost reason to check this underrated movie out on DVD.

4. Mamma Mia (2008)

Meryl Streep has conquered almost every genre movies have to offer, and in 2008 she conquered the musical, giving an emotional performance that also allowed her to sing a whole lot. Seyfried holds her own as both an actor and a singer in this frothy but fun romp.

3. Nine Lives (2005)

Seyfried took a supporting role in the great director Rodrigo Garcia’s Nine Lives, which is composed of nine real-time shots that each tell its own fascinating mini-story. The most memorable scene involves Robin Wright’s emotionally devastating run-in with an old flame at a supermarket, but Seyfried’s is a winner, too.

2. Chloe (2009)

Seyfried’s most impressive performance to date is in the adulterous thriller Chloe, in which a paranoid middle-aged woman played by Julianne Moore believes her longtime husband (Liam Neeson) to be cheating on her. She hires a young sexpot (Seyfried) to seduce her husband and see what he does. This is definitely Seyfried’s most sexual role, but she also shows a lot of power toward the end when she starts manipulating both of the main characters to benefit her own needs.

1. Mean Girls (2004)

Was there any doubt? No matter how many more times Lindsay Lohan visits courthouses rather than movie sets, she’ll always have Mean Girls. It was the right film at the right time, with Lohan at her funniest, Tina Fey as both a writer and actress before breaking out of Saturday Night Live, and Seyfried in a spectacularly dimwitted role. It’s a teen flick that is already considered a classic akin to movies like The Breakfast Club and Clueless.

Watching Like a Writer

Mean Girls is such a great movie to watch for aspiring comedy writers. It creates believable characters that are then thrown into outrageous situations and also never forgets to tell a great story. This movie makes me want to try my hand at a novel about a large ensemble of women that doesn’t talk down to any readers or the audience but instead takes its time to create three-dimensional characters with flash and flaws and personality. Maybe some humor, too!


Write a humorous piece of fiction about an ensemble of women. What’s the logline of the story? What’s the conflict?

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