Humor in Books

Anne here, apologetically running in late. Sorry, I forgot what date it was. Today I'm pulling a question from the list of reader questions we've received over the years. And while I'm talking about that, I'll remind you all — if you submit a question for the wenches and one of us chooses it as a blog topic a blog, that person will win a book.

Today's topic is from Constance, who said… "It would also be very interesting to know how important humor is to each of you when creating characters. I’ve always found heroes with a self-deprecating sense of humor almost irresistible, and heroines who can match them in witty retort make it even better. But it can’t be easy to create that — or is it for the extremely talented writers you all are?"

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Constance, I also love a hero who can make me laugh. But writing humor is never easy, especially if I set out trying to be funny. Forced humor can be horribly un-funny and usually gets deleted. Even when I think the story I'm writing is going to be a funny one, it doesn't always happen. 

People have very different senses of humor, so what is funny to one person completely passes another. I remember so often when I was a kid, my brother and I would be cracking up laughing at some TV show, and one of my older sisters would say crossly, "I don't know why you're laughing. That isn't funny at all." Which made my brother and me laugh even harder. And of course, if you have to explain why something is funny, it immediately kills the humor stone dead.

So all I can go on is what's funny to me. My funniest scenes usually come spontaneously in the writing. I'm 'in the zone' busily writing, a character says something unexpected and another one responds, and then . . . we're off. And when it happens, it's a joy. 

Most of my books have some funny moments, but some books are funnier than others. It's something to do with character chemistry. Some character combinations bring out humor better than others — a light-hearted, flippant hero and an earnest worrier of a heroine, for instance, sparked some funny scenes in my book, The Perfect Rake.

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