This month’s topic comes from regular contributor, Skye Taylor.
How easy or difficult do you find including
humour in your writing and/or have you ever incorporated a true life
humorous event in your own life or the life of someone you know in a
book you were writing?
Well, not difficult at all. In fact my tagline is ‘dialogue rich Scottish Regency with a touch of humour’.
I love the touch of the ridiculous real life often throws at us and it isn’t hard to take a normal action and with a tiny twist turn it into something richer and funnier. In Mariah’s Marriage when Tobias needs to make an apology to Mariah, he sends her flowers. He sends her so many flowers that the house runs out of vases and everyone’s senses are overcome by the powerful scent. Why?
He does need to make an apology. A bunch of flowers is what anyone might do. Several bunches of flowers support his sincerity, his wealth and his acknowledgement that Mariah is different from the other women who may have been in his life. He is nonetheless nervous that Mariah may turn down his proposal. She has reason because he has been manipulative.
Because a work makes people laugh it doesn’t mean the work or the story are trite, light or sentimental. Making people laugh can be as thought provoking as any number of long paragraphs with long words and sinister underpinning.
On the other hand where a story has necessitated a big emotional scene, juxtaposing it with something humorous relieves that tension and lets the reader breathe. It’s partly about pacing. Keeping the reader at knife-edge all the way through can be exhausting for them.
I do often include an older character with different world views to the central protagonists. This allows for a clash of sensibilities which, if handled well, allows the reader to laugh with the characters and not at the characters.
I can’t think of a humorous event in my own life or anyone else’s that I’ve included in my writing. Isolated conversations and the occasional good phrase or two, yes. Whole incidents, no.
If this subject tickles your funny-bone you may wish to read about how my fellow robins handle it. Links are below.
There will be two instalments of the Lockdown Diary tomorrow.
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 https://annestenhousenovelist.wordpress.com/
Margaret Fieland http://margaretfieland.wordpress.com
A.J. Maguire http://ajmaguire.wordpress.com/
Victoria Chatham http://www.victoriachatham.com
Judith Copek http://lynx-sis.blogspot.com/
Rhobin L Courtright https://www.rhobincourtright.com/
Dozens and dozens of flowers does have its amusing side in spite of your hero’s earnestness. Humor not only lightens the mood but can totally derail it. And it’s always welcome.
Hi Skye, Thanks for dropping by. I’m still chuckling over your neighbour hiding eggs in the shrubbery. Can’t seem to comment on the others this month, but I was there. Anne
Anne, I can’t think of any funny incidents that have made it into my fiction either, but I did make use of a couple of my father’s army stories. I write sci fi, but they translated easily from the second world war to the future.
Hi Margaret, Yes, I have used actual stories, too, Margaret. My 150th anniversary serila for hte People’s Friend was based on a story my granny told me, but it wasn’t at all funny.Anne
Enjoyed learning how you use humor, and I agree using a bit of humor to distract reader from bad situations is often a good idea.
I don’t think as authors, we use whole people or incidents we’ve experienced. I think of it like a blender–throw what we’ve seen/done/experienced into it, hit “puree” and pour it out. That’s how our stories are written. Great post.
Hi Fiona, thanks for dropping by. I’m having a problem commenting this month, but am reading other posts. i agree we don’t use whole people but enrich live material. there’s plenty araound even in lockdown. anne
Interesting post. I enjoyed how you use humor and how you put a twist on something to make it richer and funnier. And using humor in dark moments can lighten a bad situation for a reader.
Hi Beverley, I’m having a problem commenting on other posts. Thank you for dropping in here. I once heard a talk by a well known Scottish humourist and her mantra was ‘Just lie’. It works well for fiction. Anne
When I was in Toastmasters, one young woman told the story of how she married Andrew. He lined her up for a breakfast date. He picked her up at 7 am as arranged, then drove to the lookout on top of the tallest nearby mountain. The lookout was absolutely full of flowers.
“How could I not marry him?” she said in her speech. “Besides, he is a good cook.”
Hi Bob, The where and the when of engagements does seem to be incredibly important to the young. It’s also the case that a lot of young men can and do cook in domestic circs these days. My father did as he spent a couple of years living alone after his sister died and before he married. My father-in-law didn’t. Lots of humour in kitchens, I think. anne
I loved Mariah’s Marriage but had forgotten about the flowers. I’ll have to read it again. I liked that mantra ‘Just lie’!
Hi Victoria, thanks for dropping in and your kind words about Mariah’s Marriage. I was over at yours, but blogger won’t let me comment! I do agree that humour is subjective. anne