Tag Archives: Janet Evanovich

Laughter: The Third Greatest Gift

Happy Friday everyone! Casey here.

Humor, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Some of us enjoy our humor dry and witty. While others prefer slapstick, raunchy or down-right rude. Or maybe your mood dictates what you think is funny.

I think part of the reason I fell in love with urban fantasy is the genre embraces snark in a serious way. While some level of “funny” isn’t required in the books I enjoy, I always love it when an author gets me.

You know, that moment, when the laugh comes out of the blue. I don’t how other authors do it, but when I’m writing, humor sneaks up on me and comes from the characters (not me!!). And often times, I don’t realize I’ve written something “funny” until someone else points it out to me.

And what you find funny, someone else may not. Like wine, there are different vintages of funny. Personally, I fall into the witty, sarcastic camp. The snarkier the better. I enjoy authors like Bill Bryson (Tales of the Thunderbolt Kid: one boy, one sleeping uncle, a magnifying glass and mysterious burn spots). The book is a non-fiction memoir of his childhood and it’s hilarious.

My favorite urban fantasy authors are: Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden, Simon Green (Eddie Drood or Nightside books) and you can never go wrong with Christopher Moore (A Dirty Job - love those sewer harpies!), Terry Pratchett (The Hogfather- the wackiest Christmas story ever) or A Lee Martinez (Gil’s All Fright Diner - who doesn’t love a roadside diner that’s constantly attacked by the undead?).

If UF isn’t your thing, check out Kristan Higgins (the shovel scene in Too Good To Be True still gives me the giggles), Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum Books or our soon to be published Scribe – Jamie Pope (aka Sugar Jamison).

How do these writers do it? Well, I can’t tell you how to be funny and I don’t know the magical spring where their talent comes from, but I can suggest some logical places to sprinkle humor into a story.

Narration -this kind of humor is often found in first person books, think Bridget Jones’ Diary or see the aforementioned urban fantasy authors or Ms. Kristan Higgins! Just having a window into the character’s thoughts can be funny. What they think about other characters – the annoying neighbor, the crazy aunt with lipstick on her teeth or how the character views herself –  are all areas to slip in the funny.

Situational – humor can be injected by using the circumstances in which characters find themselves. Think Stephanie Plum and all her captures gone wrong. Another popular choice is The Date From Hell, The Family Event from Hell (wedding, funeral, graduation) or the plan that goes horribly awry.

Banter – This is my personal favorite. Here, the heroine/hero engage in witty exhanges with other characters.I jones on characters verbally sparring in humorous ways. For example – The Princess Bride by William Goldman or A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore.

Note: these can be mixed and matched as needed.

One thing to keep in mind – forced humor is not funny. Readers can smell phony attempts from a mile it away. Don’t be lame! And, remember, the normal rules of storytelling apply – don’t add humor for the sake of it. If it doesn’t advance the plot or grow your character – axe it!

In case you’re wondering about the title of this blog post – check out The Muppets (2011 version) and enlightenment will find you!

What kind of humor do you enjoy? Favorite funny writer? Have a technique or advice to share?

Brushes With Greatness

Hello, my loves. Suze here. Welcome!

This weekend my extended writing posse, Connecticut Romance Writers of America (click here for more information!), is having a very special guest visit our monthly meeting: Historical Romance Goddess Julia Quinn! Woohoo! (If you live within driving distance of southern Connecticut, there’s still time to get a ticket)

The fan girl in me is salivating at this opportunity to meet JQ. And it got me thinking about other brushes with greatness I’ve had. Here’s my list:

1.  Janet Evanovich and her daughter Alex.  Sister Scribe J Monkeys and I drove out toward Beantown, had a long boozy lunch, then went to Janet’s book signing for Wicked Appetite. We visited with Alex while we waited in line for our turn to meet Janet. Awesome!  Still hoping we absorbed some of that magic …

2.  Doug Henning. The youngsters among us may not recognize the name, but back in the day he was quite a famous illusionist.  I was waiting to go up into the CN Tower in Toronto, and Doug and his very Bohemian girlfriend/wife — she actually wore a beret and a peasant skirt — were

Wish upon that star, baby!
in front of me.  I recall he had a HUGE head of long, black, curly hair, and kind of a bunny-like smile. He was extremely thin, and very short. I’m only five-three, and he was shorter than I if you subtracted the high eighties hair. Did not get free tickets to his show. Crap.

3.  Unknown 1950s/60s comic. Mr. Suze and I got married at a resort hotel in New York State. There was a gentleman getting some quietly special treatment when we went to breakfast the next morning. He looked familiar, and we knew he had to be some comedian from the Red Skelton era, but we never did figure out who he was. This is one of those things that will likely bug me forever!

4.  Richard Chamberlain. I went to NYC with my bestie from back home to see The Sound of Music. We were in a very small theater, and we had really great seats, right up front. Now, raise your hands. Who was in love with Father Ralph in The Thorn Birds? Every one of you, right? Well …. hang onto those memories because he didn’t look so great a few years ago as Captain Von Trapp. I mean, I know the man was getting up there in years, but he was wearing an inordinate amount of makeup that did NOT help the situation. Also guyliner.  Let’s just go back and think about Father Ralph again, shall we?

5. Katherine Hepburn. Mr. Suze and I used to keep a boat down at the shore, until I “made” him sell it (still a sore subject in our house). While we were out on Long Island Sound once, we were traveling behind a yacht. Up on the top deck sat an elderly woman, bundled up against the wind, all alone save for her captain at the helm. There was no mistaking her. She looked happy. She didn’t invite us back to her place for tea. Sigh.

So spill! What celebrities have you seen up close? Was the experience monumental? Or was it monumentally disappointing?