Thoughts on humor in writing.

Writing humor into a manuscript is an art. I continually read humorous pieces with an eye to “how I can transmit the concept into my own writing style.”

One thing I’ve come to terms with is, some people have a knack and others really have to work at it. Second, slapstick comes across too contrived for me to enjoy, unless the whole piece is comical on a Three Stooges level. Case in point: Janet Evanovich.

I know she has a great following and comes highly recommended by many of my friends. I do a testing process. When my family travels across the country (when I have a captive audience that can’t escape), I read to the masses. Then I ask questions about what they liked or didn’t.

Considering my husband is older than me, and I have children (male and female) of different ages, all with different reading tastes, I think we are a good cross-section to poll.

While Janet’s Stephanie Plum character was fun to read, we voted the plotting unbelievable hands down. A girl, now bounty hunter, who actually gets all her info from a real man bounty hunter and a detective, goes in and breaks the law by breaking and entering, etc. That annoyed me as a woman, even though I liked the character’s personality.

I know this is arrogant to walk through a national best seller and state that I see holes in plausibility. Fiction IS fiction and anything a writer wants to do can be done. Right?

Stephanie’s grandmother is a comic relief character. In one book, she leans over a corpse on display at a neighborhood funeral home, and breaks a finger off. Supposed to be funny that she continually does stuff like this. First, ya can’t just break a finger off a dead body that easy. Second, that is offensive to me that she’s done that to someone’s loved one. Sorry, I can’t suspend my disbelief enough. If that’s national best selling material, I may never get to that list.

On the other hand, I love Erma Bombeck’s writings. They are based on normal life, and twisting truths to a wry perspective. Put that in your story any day and I’ll read everything you put on paper.

I am open to conversation on this subject. Tell me what you love about humor in writing, especially if you’re an Evanovich fan. Explain to me the appeal you find in her stories. And, understand, I’m not saying we didn’t enjoy her tales. We simply picked them apart afterward. In retrospection, they didn’t work for us.

What works for you?


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: