Life is funny. It’s even ridiculous from time to time, and I take particular joy in placing such moments in my fiction. From Megan waking up to an unknown cat nestled against her, to Trenna obstinately reassuring her daughter that domesticity was never her strong suit, to my newest WIP where a stubborn dog gets bested by a squirrel, these little moments lighten the greater work for me.
And, I imagine, in real life it is the small, funny moments that make the greater journey something to smile at. As a reader, I appreciate when an author manages to let their fiction reflect these small, funny moments. I will put a book down if there’s no emotional release from grief or horror or even adventure. I simply cannot handle being in a little ball of angst for too long.
Because I know that I’ll set down a book if I haven’t been given a moment to breathe and laugh, then I find it doubly important to make certain I create those moments in my own work. I’ve never found it particularly difficult, people are inherently funny.
Most of them anyway.
Their quips and knee-jerk reactions can at the very least bring a smile, and it should be no different for the characters on the page.
Have I ever taken from real life and placed funny moments on the page?
Oh, yes. Absolutely.
Like when my 5-year-old managed to cut his finger and swooned at the sight of his own blood, exclaiming; “I’m dying!” Wasn’t funny to him at the time and he hates hearing me repeat it, but he legitimately swooned and I realized in that moment that he would never be a doctor.
Or when someone I know very well sat in pee (in white pants, no less) on an airplane and was too grossed out and humiliated to tell the stewardess? She tied her sweater around her waist and ran gagging off the plane.
I have a billion little stories stored on 3×5 cards everywhere so I can remember them for later. The ones that fit whichever story I’m on, generally get fit in there. It does have to be seamless, and the funny moment is often expanded because the character on the page would react differently to what they’re seeing, but it goes in.
I suppose that’s fair warning to the people who meet me. If you do something funny, I’m likely to use it.
POST SCRIPT – I do apologize to my fellow Round Robin authors. I seem to have scheduled this post for the wrong week. For those of you just joining me, please take a look at what my fellow authors have to say about writing humor in their books.
Skye Taylor http://www.skye-writer.com/blogging_by_the_sea
Diane Bator http://dbator.blogspot.ca/
Beverley Bateman http://beverleybateman.blogspot.ca/
Dr. Bob Rich https://wp.me/p3Xihq-1Tb
Connie Vines http://mizging.blogspot.com/
Anne Stenhouse http://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
A.J. Maguire https://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright http://www.rhobincourtright.com/
4 thoughts on “Humor”
We seem to be on the same page that humor is not only a part of human life, but a necessity in our fiction. And for the same reasons – we need levity to lighten the load and make our characters real. I have two shirts that warn people I’m an author and anything they say or do may be used in a novel…
If it weren’t for humour, where would we all be? I cannot envision a place without laughter. What a good idea to record life’s lighter moments on 3×5 cards. When I first moved to Calgary I rode public transport all over the place just to get the feel of the city. One day I stayed on the train because two people beside me were having such an interesting conversation. I never heard the end of it because they got off at the last but one stop. I don’t remember now what the conversation was about, only that it fascinated me. A 3×5 card would have come in very handy then! Hm. What if…….
A funny and insightful look at humor, A.J.
I love your child thinking he was dying, due to seeing blood! Kids are just naturally funny–they don’t have the filters we adopt to protect ourselves, as we get older. People used to tell me I should become a doctor because my hand-writing is so God-awful, even I can’t read it sometimes. So I wouldn’t need any help in learning how to make my signature un-copyable, for prescriptions.