Friday, May 22, 2020

Humor in the Midst of Intensity by C. Kevin Thompson

C. Kevin Thompson
During this “pandemic” we call the COVID-19 Coronavirus, there have been some funny things that have come across my social media feeds. Some of the ones that made me laugh out loud were:

Three hours into homeschooling: One is suspended for skipping, and the other one has already been expelled.

Day 4 of Homeschooling: All my students passed for the year today.

(Picture of a mother holding a cloth in front of her son’s face): Day 7 of Homeschool Biology: Testing to see if Chloroform has a smell.

(Picture of a man’s belt draped over a doorknob): Just hired an assistant principal for our homeschool.

(Three weeks into the stay-at-home order): Is it okay to shower now, or do I just keep washing my hands?

Our homeschool has raised the bar for our “school”! Now, only the adults can reach it.

(Teacher speaking): I’m so tempted to text my students while they are in class with their parents.

Okay, teachers…well played. We will give you respect and raises now. Just give us the antidote so we can send our kids back to school!

I tried donating blood today…NEVER AGAIN!!! Too many stupid questions. “Whose blood is it?” Where did you get it from?” “Why is it in a bucket?”

(Sign outside a bookstore): Post-Apocalyptic Fiction has now been moved to the Current Affairs section.

If you want to save money at Christmas, now’s the perfect time to tell the kids that Santa didn’t make it through the pandemic.

Saw a picture of the “Corona Lisa” (Mona Lisa) with long hair that has gone gray down the part.

(Caption underneath a photo of a picturesque mountain scene with scrolling words fading into the heavens): Due to less air pollution, we can now see the Star Wars intro again in the night sky.

I’m giving up drinking for a month.
Sorry. Bad punctuation.
I’m giving up. Drinking for a month.

Saw a picture of a woman all dressed up, standing near a beach. Her hands are over her mouth in utter surprise. A man is kneeling before her, in the obvious marriage proposal position. His hands are lifted up, holding a roll of toilet paper. “OMG!” the woman said. “He went to Charmin!”

To protect myself from these new Murderous Hornets, how much toilet paper do I need to buy?

We laugh at these memes because in some capacity, there is a truth in there somewhere. Of course, that’s what makes humor funny. That’s how comedians make a living.

We, as authors, should remember not to abandon a chance to toss some humor in our WIPs when it is a natural and needed place to do so. Even if you write mysteries or thrillers, action-adventure, or dark fantasy, humor is a natural part of life. It comes in many forms. It doesn’t have to occur in dialogue alone. It can be physical comedy. It can be satirical. It can be at another character’s expense. It can be a play on words. It can be an off-the-cuff, comedic response to a serious inquiry. It can even be a specific glance or look. No matter how you insert it into the story, it just needs to be natural and authentic, not forced, like some sign in front of your reader, flashing the words, “Laugh Now!” If you have to tell them to laugh, they won’t like it.

Natural and authentic humor is the kind of humor that gets the most laughs in real life. The same is true for fiction. I bet that if you start thinking about the books and/or movies you like the most, it is the comical moments that left their mark on you. For me, it’s the movie Jaws where Chief Brody sees the shark for the first time and says to Captain Quint in a somewhat PTSD state…

You know the line, don’t you? You just said it, didn’t you?

“You’re gonna need a bigger boat.”

Why? Because the humor, embedded with this intense moment of realizing they are going to die, was authentic, not contrived.

Or take this six-minute clip from the movie Star Trek: The Search for Spock. Humor sandwiches this scene with little bits sprinkled in the middle. What makes it work, though, is the comradery amongst the characters. Their friendship and idiosyncrasies make it a fun section in an otherwise suspenseful scene.1

Or take this clip from a comedy show that is dealing with a serious issue of interracial relationships, trying to fit in, and being something you’re not, and using a play on words in a hysterical fashion: Everybody Loves Raymond – Robert Trying to be Black.

Humor at the right moment can be such a great linchpin. It ties the reader into your story, sometimes in no better way. It makes for memorable moments and memorable characters. Ones that resonate with readers, possibly, for the rest of their lives.


1I have to admit, I’ve used Scotty’s line about stopping up the drain multiple times in real life. Comes in really handy as an educator. We’ve been overhauling the plumbing of public education for decades now.

Humor at the right moment can be such a great linchpin. It ties the reader into your story, sometimes in no better way. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson
We, as authors, should remember not to abandon a chance to toss some humor in our WIPs when it is a natural and needed place to do so. #seriouslywrite #encouragementforwriters via @CKevinThompson

The Letters
The Letters


Rachel Hamar—a Manhattan bank teller—lives nothing close to a Manhattan lifestyle. Residing in Washington Heights, NY, the only thing keeping her in The Big Apple is her mother—a long-time patient in a local psychiatric hospital. It’s December 2014, and the twentieth anniversary of her high school sweetheart’s tragic death. She’s not sure how much more heartache she can endure, especially after being told earlier in the day she no longer has a job at the bank. A casualty of downsizing.

In the midst of spiraling depression, Rachel receives a mysterious letter in the mail. When she opens it, she becomes cautious and skeptical of its contents and discards it as a mistake, concluding it’s simply addressed incorrectly or a postal worker’s faux pas in the midst of a busy Christmas season. But another letter arrives the next day. And another the day after that. Before long, she is in possession of several letters. Each one more puzzling than the last.

Thinking that someone may be playing a cruel game, she contacts the police, and this propels Rachel and the two detectives into one of the most bizarre cases they’ve ever encountered. Is it a friend’s cruel joke? Is it some stalker’s perverse idea of manipulation? Or is it something more?

C. KEVIN THOMPSON is a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a kid at heart. Often referred to as “crazy” by his grandchildren, it’s only because he is. He’s a writer. Need he say more?

The second edition of his award-winning debut novel, The Serpent’s Grasp, is now available! The first four books of his Blake Meyer Thriller series are now available: Book 1, 30 Days Hath Revenge, Book 2, Triple Time, Book 3, The Tide of Times, and Book 4, When the Clock Strikes Fourteen! Book 5, A Pulse of Time, is coming Summer 2020! And, his newest standalone novel, The Letters, is now available in both e-book and paperback!

Kevin is a huge fan of the TV series 24, The Blacklist, Blue Bloods, NCIS, Criminal Minds, BBC shows Broadchurch, Shetland, Hinterland, and Wallander, loves anything to do with Star Trek, and is a Sherlock Holmes fanatic too. But you will never catch him wearing a deerstalker. Ever.

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