On Sunday, we took a peek at using the emotions evoked through dramatic license. But, there is an emotion that stays with us often far longer than the dramatic ones. That’s humor.
While having and revealing a sense of humor is a powerful characteristic for a character, a writer who has mastered the art of writing humor, has my deepest appreciation and gratitude. I don’t have that gift.
Now don’t get me wrong – I love my mysteries and suspense novels that require I pay attention, find the clues and solve the puzzle, or have me running for cover. But when I REALLY want to get away, I reach for the over-the-top, silly, exaggerated funny writers. Janet Evanovich comes to mind – I don’t read Stephanie Plum for any other reason, but that I know I will laugh out loud for long periods of time, more than once in a while when I read those books. The humor covers the gamut from barely-disguised sarcastic wit to full-on frontal hilarity.
I’m envious of the writer who can write humor well. I have a good sense of humor, or so I’m told. I can make people laugh – in person. I love to laugh. I love to hear others laugh – it makes my heart smile. But although humor is part of my character’s way of handling stress and such, my writing just isn’t really funny. I’ve tried my hand at it. Evanovich has nothing to worry about from me. (Okay, that’s true on several fronts, but we aren’t going there.)
We’ve got a local columnist, Brian Thompson, who writes a weekly column that I make sure I don’t miss. He employs one of my favorite humor devices: exaggeration. And he does such a good job of it that some weeks I am in tears from laughing my way through his column.
WHY does humor make writing so memorable? I suspect that it’s because we all need to laugh far more than we do. It reduces blood pressure, helps with headaches and physical recovery. It helps to eliminate depression and self-condemnation. To summarize, because it makes us feel better. And let’s face it – we’re living in times that don’t leave us much to laugh about most days.
So, if your gift is to write with great humor, embrace that muse and do it! Please. I beg you! And if writing humor isn’t your thing, please remember to give at least one of your characters a great sense of humor that will make us chuckle once in a while! You can make that character, and that book, a very memorable read. And memorable reads see really good sales.
Keep reading and writing! Nancy Q.