Saturday, March 29, 2014

Sunday Musings: March 30 2014

Hi, MIU Editor Christine Speakman (MuseChrisChat) here again presenting our Muse Family’s Sunday’s Musings.

So what's this week's musings?  Hmmm, let's see we're just before April 1st...April Fool's Day...a pranking day.

How about humour?

We know emotion in our stories is vital. We know we all love to laugh and that a perfectly pinpointed humour break can amp the emotion in a scare scene, a tension-packed scene, even a love scene.

Do you agree? Disagree?

How do we use humour in our stories? Where do we find humour works best with our characters?

Let the Musings begin

My writing is infused with humor for a very unique reason. You see, my brother David Fraser is my co-author, and we try to crack each other up as much as possible while passing our manuscripts back and forth! It's a great feeling when I sit at my laptop, laughing right out loud at something he wrote. We enjoy sharing our light-hearted moments with our readers.

I believe in infusing humour into a story as well. The Natasha Saga is a deep drama, with a theme that I'm passionate about. That said, it has some humour in it. Readers won't laugh out loud, but people have told me they smile or chuckle. I'm thrilled to know that. My hero Stewart is witty. It lightens the mood.

My father could tell the most absurd stories with an absolutely straight face so that we'd all be convinced for a moment or two that he was telling the truth. Too bad I can't recall any of more absurd stories now.

I'm very fond of puns but have not inserted any that I can recall into my novels. I do have a couple of shorter pieces that do, including one story about some insectoid aliens intent on making whiskey and another about a group of guys naming streets. The latter was inspired by some of the truly off-the-wall street names near our place on Cape Cod. One of the roads is named Rascally Rabbit Road, and my youngest son and I always wondered how it got its name.

Pauline (P.M.) Griffin author of THE STAR COMMANDOS series

There is definitely humor in my books, not slapstick or jokes but rather the normal interaction of four highly intelligent human beings (plus one gurry) who like and love one another.  It always reflects the individual personalities.  Sometimes, it rises during normal daily activities.  Sometimes, it is purposely used to help ease tension.

Humor is important.  It is part of "real" life, part of family life and part of interactions between friends.  If it is not present in our books, the characters won't strike the reader as real, no matter how many quirks they exhibit or how capable and/or heroic they may be.  The reader won't be as drawn to them.  This can hurt a single book and definitely will hurt a series, which requires a solid fan base.

I use dry, subtle humor in my mystery novels. My humor works best involving my character's quirks. And because of their actions, often taking them to the extremes, they  get into certain situations with humorous results. This humor engages the reader, connects them with the characters, and maintains their attention throughout the mystery.

Chris Mannino author of the soon to be released SCHOOL OF DEATHS

I think humor is a great way to diffuse tension, but also to help a reader feel a bit more at ease.  Near the beginning of my novel School of Deaths, the main character's discovered that she's the only female in a world of men, she has to become a Grim Reaper, and she's trapped in a truly depressing situation.  She'll possibly never see her family or anyone she knows again- so time for some humor.  I added a couple wisecracks that the boys around her make about "oh being a Death, it's just a living" - little obvious puns like that help the reader and the character smile a bit.  I think every author should try at least a little humor.

Jami Gray author of the soon to be released HUNTED BY THE PAST

Humor-the great tension breaker-I love it when one of my characters zings an unexpected winner. When a scene is on the edge of breaking your heart or reducing your fingers down to bloody stumps, sometimes it's that unexpected, highly inappropriate flash of nonsense or sarcastic observation that brings it all home, and makes the voice written in front of you all too real.

Mary-Jean Harris author of the upcoming AIZAI THE FORGOTTEN

I'm not particularly deft at writing humourously, so I try to make the characters do all the work. They tell me the joke, instead of me putting it in their mouth. I usually use humour in the form of how the character observes a situation, some bizarre, unique way of seeing things. I find humour brings the characters to life more, though it has to be natural to the situation that the characters are in. You can't just have a character look up into the clouds and say something witty and completely unrelated to what is happening to them (well, I suppose you could, if that fits with their character). When dealing with emotions and humour, it needs to be unique to the character above all else.

Some subjects just naturally gain a smile or a laugh. From little boys giggling in the classroom to old people laughing about it, passing gas is always funny. I added a pig and a kangaroo to Coda to Murder to lighten up this story of mystery and murder. Come on, a pig and a kangaroo always generate a smile. I agree a laugh breaks up the tension and gives the reader a break from the serious, stress inducing scenes.

Dawn Knox author of the upcoming: DAFFODIL AND THE THIN PLACE

Humour is particularly important in children's literature, where characters and situations are often larger than life. However, I think it's less important in adult stories and generally needs to be sophisticated and subtle. When writing, I don't have a hard and fast rule about humour - some characters and situations lend themselves to it and others don't. One of my favourite authors is Terry Pratchett, whose humorous books are so witty, I've been known to laugh out loud when reading them!

Dear reader, thank you again for joining us and we’d love to hear from you. Keep smiling and have a fun week. See you next Sunday…nothing better than being cozy in bed with some Musings.

If you have a question or comment you’d like us to muse upon, do not hesitate to contact me Christine Steeves-Speakman at

1 comment:

J.Q. Rose said...

Chris, Humor is the perfect topic for before April 1, Aprl Fool's Day. So interesting to get the author's take on their style of humor. I think we all agree it's a good way to break the tension.