Friday, May 15, 2020

Finding Our Funny Bone by JoAnn Durgin

Meme with Proverbs 15:15

Finding Our Funny Bone

I’ve often heard that humor is one of the most difficult types of writing to conquer, but that hasn’t stopped me—and it shouldn’t stop you (if you’re so inclined)! My philosophy is that we need humor in our lives. Life is tough enough. Whether it’s subtle (eliciting a smile or a low chuckle) or overt (prompting robust laughter), even the slightest touch of humor can be cathartic for both the author and the reader. Sure, we need pathos and drama in our writing to create conflict and reflect real life, but humor can likewise reach hearts and impact lives—yes, for Christ! I’m convinced our Lord has a wonderful sense of humor.

The funny bits I insert into my fiction tend to be more of the “everyday” variety, derived from situations familiar to everyone. Remember the TV sitcom, Seinfeld? The show became wildly popular and won multiple awards for being “a show about nothing.” Every episode focused on the humor to be found in the daily lives of the characters. In the process, the show created a sense of fellowship, happiness, and well-being.

If you’ve never attempted to write humor, where do you begin? Well, let’s start with the basics.

What is humor? By definition, humor is “that quality which appeals to a sense of the ludicrous or absurdly incongruous” or “a funny or amusing quality.”

What is the value of humor in our writing? Any genre can benefit from humor. Adding humor to your work can stretch you as an author in the following ways:

*Forces you to step outside your comfort zone.
*Helps to avoid monotony in your writing.
*Helps you to develop pacing, word choice, characters.
*Ramps up the tension in the novel or provides needed relief.
*Lightens/balances the mood when underlying themes are serious.
*Transforms the way a reader views your novel.

How can humor be incorporated into your manuscript? Humorous dialogue, funny plot lines, literary devices, wordplay, and silly scenarios can all add creativity and interest. These can all be accomplished through the use of:

Satire: The purposeful use of mockery that exposes individuals or society to their foolishness, corruption, or inappropriate behavior. This is often done in a lighthearted manner so as not to offend readers. Satire can magnify or distort behavior so that it seems outlandish.

Irony: The use of words to express the opposite of their literal meaning (can be associated with both tragedy and humor).

Similes/Metaphors: Crazy/absurd comparisons that support important messages and themes. You can parallel two objects, ideas, or characters in unusual and amusing ways that appeal to the reader’s emotions.

Unexpected Twists: Humorous/ridiculous and unexpected plot twists provide mystery and suspense while retaining an overall lighthearted tone/mood. They give readers an opportunity to laugh at circumstances and situations that might otherwise seem sad or overwhelming.


Here are some nuggets of wisdom for writing humor I’ve picked up along my writing journey:

Know your genre. Study the conventions, clich├ęs, and tropes. Then turn at least one of them on its head in a humorous way. But it still has to feel real. Think through the details of the world you’ve created and how your characters relate to each other. That’s where you’ll find the humor.

Surprise your readers. Throw in something completely unexpected—it can be an action, a sentence, a scene/chapter ending, or even a single word or phrase.

Make your humor meaningful. Suggest a deeper meaning to make your work entertaining but also relevant and valuable.

Write to make yourself laugh. Comedy is subjective. There’s no formula or surefire way to predict what readers will find funny. Hint: if you write something and laugh every time you read it, then readers probably will, too. But you still might want to test it out on a few beta readers!

If you don’t normally inject humor into your writing, why not give it a try? You might discover a hidden talent!

Until His Nets Are Full,
JoAnn


Adding humor to your work can stretch you as an author. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @Gr8tReads
Author JoAnn Durgin shares tips on how to incorporate humor into your manuscript. #seriouslywrite #tipsforwriters via @Gr8tReads


Only a Heartbeat Away
Only a Heartbeat Away


Before the release of Georgia Adler’s debut novel, a top literary critic reviews it as a “contemporary masterpiece of epic proportions.” When her agent sends out a press kit, magazine editors and talk show promoters across the country clamor for her attention. Why did things have to get so complicated?

Grayson Chambers walks into a tempest when he visits his friend Nick in Manhattan. He’d only planned on lunch, but a new female novelist who’s taking the literary world by storm is being interviewed, and Nick’s in desperate need of an immediate replacement for the ailing male model. Swallowing his misgivings, he agrees to work with a demanding, beautiful diva for a few hours since it’ll give him the opportunity to publicize his foundation.

After Georgia meets Grayson, she begins to question the very crux of her novel, and Grayson wonders if the basis for his foundation is misguided. Is this a “chance” meeting between them or a way for God to reveal His plans for their lives?


JoAnn Durgin (Julianna Desmond)
Only A Heartbeat Away was the first release from author Julianna Desmond, the pen name for USA Today Bestselling Author JoAnn Durgin. Since then, other releases have included Only A Breath Away and Only A Whisper Away. Stay tuned for more! Each standalone story features a heroine with an unusual or interesting occupation and a faithful hero who can’t help falling in love with her. Overflowing with faith, humor, hope, and romance, these novels are a lively escape for those seeking an uplifting and lively read!

JoAnn Durgin is the author of more than thirty novels, including the Lewis Legacy Series, Prelude, the Starlight Christmas Series, Catching Serenity, Hearts Design, Gentle Like the Rain, Whisper to My Heart, the Serendipity Christmas Series, the Treasured Vow Series, the Wondrous Love Series, If You Believe, Echoes of Edinburgh, Portrait, and The Valentine Verse. Her most recent release is Love on Assignment in Millcreek, Book 1 of The Millcreek Christmas Series.

A former estate administration paralegal, JoAnn writes contemporary Christian romance full-time and lives with her family in her native southern Indiana.

Feel free to connect with her at https://www.facebook.com/authorjoanndurgin or via her website at https://joanndurgin.com.




9 comments:

  1. JoAnn (or should I call you Julianna?), You stole my thunder, but obviously, the topic of humor must be something God wants to get across this week! Good thoughts! You did do a different take, so that's even better!

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    1. Yes, JoAnn and Kevin! You two are on the same wave length this month. Kevin brings up humor next week, but you two wrote from different angles.

      I think we're all in need of humor right now - so bring it on!

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    2. Kevin, the more posts about humor, the better! I'll look forward to reading your take on it. Thanks for the comment. And yes, Dawn, we NEED to laugh--especially right now! :)

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  2. I love adding a bit of humor to my blog posts. The humor usually comes from real life adventures of our family. :-)

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    1. Humor is one of God's gifts, isn't it? Laughter fills our soul and lightens our spirit. And it's so true that some of the funniest writing comes straight from the everyday "stuff" of life. Thanks for the comment, Melissa!

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  3. I'm a big fan of hilarity in writing - and in life. To laugh is "healthy", physically and emotionally, as your opening scripture attests. And no better time than now for us to find good reasons to laugh! Great article, JoAnn! Seriously. :)

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    1. LOL, Mary, and thanks! You're so correct that laughter is healthy for us, body and soul. Thanks so much for the comment and keep smiling (and laughing)! :)

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  4. Loved this post, JoAnn! And amen to needing more humor--actually, the entire world could use some laughter right now.
    As a reader, I always enjoy a story with bits of humor sprinkled in. As a writer, I enjoy adding some humor (even subtle humor) in my stories.
    I agree with you that our Lord has a sense of humor! And I think He is pleased when His children enjoy laughter. :)
    I didn't realize you write under a pen name---it's a lovely name! And the book you shared sounds fascinating.
    Blessings on your writing, Patti Jo

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    1. Thanks so much, Patti Jo! I started a series of "Only A ________ Away" books, and they're all stand-alone books. There are so many possibilities. I was always a little envious of the girls in long, pretty dresses that historical authors could use for their covers (I write contemporary romance). I found a few photos that seemed to "tell a story" and decided (just for fun, really) to write these books (and ONLY these books) under a pen name. That's really the only reason, but they're my same sense of humor, writing style, and Christian romance about heroines with unusual or intriguing professions and the men who fall in love with them. I don't think all my readers have found them, either, even though I have these books listed on my author page and freely admit it's me! Sorry to go on, but thanks for the comment! :)

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