I'm writing a short story where a mysterious rich man has just died and his friends are gathering to find out his will. The dead man was quite eccentric and wanted to send them all on a wild goose chase regarding his inheritance/or perhaps lack of, going as far perhaps as hiring people to cause even more confusion and so on.

I was wondering how you write scenes that quickly become more and more farcical, i.e. more and more people from the local town become involved, the characters become increasingly excited/frustrated, etc. Are there any good stories with a similar theme or that evoke similar emotions?

And how many different characters should I be considering having?

  • Are you interested in examples of something children-friendly like "Alice's Adventures in Wonderland" by Lewis Carroll, or darker Absurdist fiction?
    – Alexander
    Aug 27, 2021 at 0:04
  • I wouldn't say it has to be children-friendly, but at the same time, I don't want to write something too philosophical if that makes sense. I intend for it to be something light-hearted and exploring how swept up people can become in rumours, fame, and in attention-seeking, as well as the collective craziness that happens in large groups. Events that take place will still have logical meaning.
    – abrac
    Aug 27, 2021 at 8:24

2 Answers 2


This is hard to do well, but when done well can be very funny indeed. I snuggest the works of Donald Westlake, particularly Dancing Aztecs, Bank Shot, A Spy in the Ointment, Plunder Squad, Easy Money, The Road to Ruin, Thieves Dozen,and Good Behavior. I suggest the works of Joe Gores, particularly 32 Cadillacs and Dead Skip. I suggest Mairelon the Magician by Patricia Wrede, there is a wonderful scene about 2/3rs of the way through the book where close to a dozen characters come together all looking for the same object and most misunderstanding its value. I suggest the Jeeves stories of P.G. Wodehouse, particularly Right Ho, Jeeves I suggest the "cursed dinner party scene" in A Civil Campaign by Lois M. Bujold, and the same author's Captain Vorpatril's Alliance_

There are many more out there but those should give enough examples of how this can be done well.

  • Amazing, and thank you so much!
    – abrac
    Aug 30, 2021 at 11:21
  • @abrac Please upvote any answer you find helpful by clicking the up arrow next to the answer. If one answer seems to be clearly THE answer to your issue, please accept it by clicking the checkmark symbol next to the answer. You can only accept one answer, but you can upvote as many as you choose. Upvoting and accepting are the best way to say thanks. Aug 30, 2021 at 14:50

You should watch the movie “It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World”. It has a similar plot and unfolds in an equally zany way.

  • Ok, thank you for that! Will watch
    – abrac
    Aug 28, 2021 at 16:28

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