The following scene is taken from Carole's book, Bat Crazy.
I headed toward the man sitting behind the counter of the junk store. His fingers rested on a new looking laptop. His gaze rested on me. Almost . . . glaring.
Wow. What had I done to get his unreasonable ire up? “How’s business?”
His gaze circled the room, pausing only on my wife for a heartbeat. “Booming.”
Sarcastic too. He really was a charmer.
“We’re stuck in town till the mechanic can get our RV repaired.”
“Thinking we’ll need a motel for a few days. Know of any close by?”
I really did wish he’d quit talking so much so I could get a word in now and then.
“Nice business you have here. You have a lot of tourists stop by?” I just loved punishment. Talking with this sealed-lip human was worse than getting away from a gossip.
“Yeah. Too many interruptions,” he glared at me again. “This, and being mayor keeps me hopping.”
No wonder the town was going to pot with a welcoming committee like him. --Excerpt from Bat Crazy by Carole Brown
This passage shows us a bit of Denton Davies’ dry humor in the Denton and Alex Davies Mysteries. Is it easy and how does one create humor in a book?
You don’t. Either your character has it or he doesn’t.
Let me give you a list of Denton’s personality traits and likes:
Set in his ways (stubborn)
Has a tendency to “run over” others
Loves fishing and reading mystery books with Alex
Loves their pet dog, a Jack Russell: Taffy
Adores his wife, Alexandria, BUT is over protective
Has a keen mind coupled with the ability to put minor clues into perspective to help him figure out their current mystery
Has a kind heart
In their first adventure, Book 1: Hog Insane, Denton, in trying to protect Alex from potential danger, follows her and a new friend to a lingerie shop. Of course, he’s embarrassed and uncomfortable when he views the skimpy articles of clothing because that’s the way he is--all the while trying to avoid being spotted by his wife. When approached by a overly friendly sales lady, he automatically views her as a “shark” ready to take advantage of him and his money.
The passage I shared at the beginning of this post shows some of Denton’s sarcasm. Placed in the right situation, reading his over-the-top thoughts about the unfriendly shop owner, it makes for a quick chuckle.
So what kinds of humor are there?
I’ll mention three:
The dry, sarcastic type that doesn’t provide belly laughs, but gives the reader a sense of who the character is while also providing a lighter moment in their reading enjoyment.
ŸThe bumbling character who constantly makes mistakes. He’s clumsy, and bent toward accidents. This character is promoted as an exceedingly awkward person who never ceases to provide amusement for others. It’s not the character’s intention to do this, but no matter how careful he is, he cannot complete a task, event or statement without creating a hysterically funny situation. He can also continue to be embarrassed by his clumsiness or eventually adapt and/or accept his perpetual state as normal, or inescapable, for himself.
ŸThe last one is the opposite of the previous one: the character who purposely creates situations or statements that do provide laughs. It comes natural to them. Their minds are sharp and creative. They can take a normal situation and make others laugh with a twist of words or actions. They thrive on getting laughs from others that give them satisfaction of a job well done, or providing the sense of fulfillment/completeness that make their day.
Do all my characters provide humor?
No, not in the sense of continual laughter. But even in my protagonists who are more serious, I find myself allowing them to show us a bit of humor in a scene. An expression, a comment, or and action can offer relief and relaxation and fun to readers. It also gives them a glimpse of another side of the character.
It’s one of the most fun things to do in writing a novel, and I’m always looking for that perfect moment to insert it.
Tell me, do you enjoy humor in a book?
Available: The Redemption of Caralynne Hayman
Available: With Music in Their Hearts WWII Spy Trilogy, Book 1
Available: The Denton and Alex Davies Mysteries, Bks 1 & 2
Available: The Adventures of Chipper: Books 1-8Coming soon: The Appleton, West Virginia Romantic Mysteries