Incorporating Humor into your Writing

couch-puns

At the James River Writers Conference, I sat in on a panel about infusing humor into your writing.

Though there’s no magic spell for doing so, I was able to gather a few tips:

  • humor comes from places that are inappropriate and unexpected
  • using humor effectively can allow you to lead the reader down a darker, more profound path
    • it can disarm readers, so you can level an unexpected blow
  • no character is flat, however, if you have an overly serious or angry character, having said character smile–or laugh–just once, can impact how they’re viewed by adding unexpected depth
  • humor is personality driven
    • characters can bond over similar senses of humor
    • awkwardness is hilarious
    • some people are just funny, some people just have funny moments (my favorite takeaway from the panel)

So, do you add humor in your own writing? Do you shy away from it? I’d love to add more haha-moments to my own stories. My leading influence in this endeavor is author, Gail Carriger. Her stories are so balanced between humor, action, and love.

Do you have a favorite humor-wielding author? Please share in the comments below! We’re all in this writing thing together!

 

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Fark Fiction Anthology Release

Hey guys! I’m so excited to announce the release of Fark Fiction’s 2018 anthology: Everybody Panic! My short story Pastries in Space is included!!

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You can find the ebook and paperback on Amazon.

My story revolves around fiesty Southerner, Elise Lavender, and two alien ambassadors, Rai-Brune and An-Tyn. Elise is a courtroom artist brought in to document the conference where Rai-Brune and An-Tyn are present. She puts herself–and a full tray of properly frosted pasteries–square between the two ambassadors and their opposing positions on diplomacy.

Will her sweet Southern charm and warm pastry dough be enough to curb the waring inclinations of the ambassadors? You’ll have to read to find out! Mwa-ha-ha!

Okay, I’ve had my fun. Happy Thursday night, ya’ll!

 

What Would You Ask?

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What would you ask? Butternut wants to know.

This week, I received word that I secured a one-on-one meeting with a literary agent at the forthcoming James River Writers Conference in October.

This won’t be my first time meeting with an agent, but I hope this opportunity will be better spent. Last time, I didn’t have much focus or confidence. I had a completed novel–a real train wreck, if I look back on it–and I had brought my query letter with me. Instead of letting the agent read it, I just talked about my novel in a very scattered way. The agent said I could submit, but I never even received a form rejection.

That was three years ago. I’m wiser, now. I want things to go differently.

But this time, I don’t have a completed novel. My initial desire was to have an agent read over my first page and tell me yay or nay in terms of overall quality. But, now I’m wondering if that’s a best use of time (8 brief minutes). I also have several questions I wouldn’t mind asking said agent:

  • What’s the best book you’ve read this year?
  • What’s the rising trend in Speculative Fiction?
  • What do you think about novellas?

I’d still like to get an agent’s eye on my first page. I feel like her initial reaction could be very beneficial. Will she groan because my mc is a werewolf? Or will she say, “Seems interesting, I’d keep reading.” Even though I know she’s just one person, getting agent feedback face-to-face is such a rare opportunity, I feel I’d be silly to pass it by without at least spending two minutes on my first page.
So, what would you ask if it was you and you did not have a completed novel to pitch? And how have your experiences gone when engaging an agent at one of these confereneces? Do you find breaking the alotted time into blocks helps cover all your areas of interest? Please leave a comment or word of advice! We’re all in this writing thing together!

The Gift of Identity

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This year, I learned to give my characters unique identities. I used to be afraid of offending–or putting off–readers. So my characters where broad. They liked things in an overall sense, but not specifically. They weren’t religious. Their hobbies were generic.

But readers aren’t that way, so I’m not sure why I thought my characters would be more appealing that way. This year I’ve really delved into making my characters more like real people. They have ticks and quirks. Some have religious beliefs.

And while I want everyone to like my darling characters because they’re truely wonderful to me, I understand my molds won’t fit everyone. I’m hoping the contrast of characters and all their lovely faults will hit more readers in the heart, while there may be times a target is missed–that’s better than missing the population as a whole.

So, for fun, I’m going to break down a few of my MCs fun characteristics:

  • Elise Lavender: from Pastries in Space (due for inclusion in the upcoming Fark Fiction anthology)
    • Courtroom Artist
    • Loves hot soda
    • Country sass coupled with the sometimes duplicit nature of Southern manners
    • Can bake
  • Sylver Wulf: from Refining Sylver (novel in progress)
    • Werewolf
    • Photographer
    • Loves antiques
    • Catholic
    • Into social media
  • A-5-3: from An Anchor in Time (short story in progress)
    • Alien
    • Born follower–apathetic
    • Sardonic
    • Uncanny charm that cultivates friendships everywhere he goes
    • Prefers hot whiskey (meme below pretty much describes him)
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Cocktails Bar and Grille

So tell me how you decide what charms to give your characters? I would love for someone to break down one of their characters like I did above.

Do you pull characteristics from people you know? Books you read? Pure invention? Tell me your thoughts in the comments!

Share Your Thoughts

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What are you writing? Have you met your writing goals this year? Butternut wants to know!

Please take a moment to brag/share/vent your writing endeavors from this year. Let’s celebrate the successes–no matter how small–and come together where support is needed.

Happy Friday, ya’ll!

 

Mid-year Update: Writing, Reading, and Stuff

I can’t believe we’re at the end of July! I see so many signs for Christmas in July that it’s got me in the holiday spirit already. Don’t worry, I’ll just cope by purchasing a few Christmas presents early and stowing them away for later.

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So, the updates!

2018 has been good to me in terms of my writing and reading. I’ve finally reached that point where my kids are no longer babies–ages 5.5 and 3–and can not only entertain themselves for brief periods of time, but do it somewhat cheerfully and quietly. That gives this mama quick snippets of personal time every week–usually.

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I’ve read a lot of good books this year!

  • The Parasol Protectorate series by Gail Carriger (5 books filled with humor, werewolves, vamps, action, and romance.) Loved this series!!
  • A Time to Dance by Padma Venkatraman (beautiful book written in verse about a young dancer who looses her leg and fights to regain her mobility.)
  • Charm by Sarah Pinborough (“A Wicked Cinderella tale.” I took that sentence from the cover because there’s really no better write up for this one. Still wrapping my mind around the new take on Cinderella herself, but I thoroughly enjoyed some of the twists to the traditional storyline.)

There are another one or two books that didn’t make the cut. I think it amounts to about 10 books for the year, which may not be much for some, but for me it’s a lot. As a stay-at-home-mom, it’s been difficult over the past few years to carve out personal time, but like I said, 2018 has been pretty good to me.

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The writing:

  • Earlier this year I finished the 1st draft of my fantasy novel Refining Sylver. My plan is to start the editing process in the Fall once my daughter is in Kindergarten and my son starts PreK.
    • I have been reworking the first few pages for review at a conference later this year.
  • I completed 2 short stories, both falling in the 8,000 word zone.
    • 1 was submitted for an anthology back in May–haven’t heard back yet.
    • 1 will be submitted for another anthology, but I haven’t finished editing yet. I’m hoping to submit this one by the end of summer.
  • I started a new short story–a fairy tale based princess one–but it’s hardly off the ground. If it turns out well, I’ll submit it for publication later in the year.
  • I’ve had 3 microfiction stories accepted at 101 Words–the last one to be published mid-August.
  • I’ve had 2 microfiction rejections. Every rejection hurts, but at least with microfiction it’s not much time lost and the pain is fleeting.

Rejection Meme

All-in-all, that’s pretty good for me. It’s amazing what I can accomplish with a little alone time. In the hopes of bettering my craft, I’ve signed up for 3 master classes in October:

  • Stealing from the Other Camp (plotting vs pantsing and what they can learn from one another)
  • Writing Short Stories
  • Science Fiction and Fantasy

At the October James River Writers Conference, I’ll be attending the Sunday portion of the event. I plan on submitting pages to their 1st Pages Critique session–hopefully I’ll get picked! I’ve submitted twice in the past, with a 50-50 success rate. Cross your fingers for me.

For the rest of the year, I’m hoping to read 2 or 3 more books and make considerable progress on my novel WIP–bring on the Fall! All you parents know what I’m talking about.

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So, how’s your year been? Any successes you’d like to boast? Or unforseen mountains that needed climbing? How about all you Camp Nanowrimo’ers? Please Leave a comment and let me know how you’re doing!

 

 

The Problem is Sugar

This summer my doctor advised me to change my diet. He said I needed to cut back on sugar.

This is the same doctor who put me on a diet while I was pregnant. He said I was gaining too much weight–more than what was typically necessary for pregnancy. Thanks to his burdensome advice, I stopped gaining at 30 pounds for baby #1, then only gained 20 pounds with it came to baby #2.

I have to admit, I hate when doctors tell me to change my diet, but I understand how difficult their jobs are communicating that advice–not to mention I like being healthy, in an overall sense.

So, this summer has been an experiement in finding things to eat that fill me up, but are not carbs and processed sugars. I have discovered this means more protein and veggies, less fruit, candy, and cereal.

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my homemade spaghetti sauce

At first I approached food cautiously, eyeing them for suspicious ingrediants, but now I’ve got the hang of it. I try to include a meat protein in every meal, with the addition of nuts and cheese. I still eat fruit, only less of it. I still eat candy, but very little. I won’t give up coffee without going to battle, but I did switch to an unrefined coconut flower sugar–which is way better tasting anyway.

 

And the result is…I feel a lot better. My stomach is full, so I no longer consider myself a chronic grazer. I can go several hours between meals and that feels awesome. I think I might even be slightly skinnier, although that might just be in my mind. I won’t step on the scale. I broke up with mine years ago and am not ready to renew the relastionship.

Something that has also helped with my new diet is the fact that our family garden is producing veggies like nobody’s business. It’s been a wet summer and I think we’ve pulled in almost 30 cucumbers, probably 200 tomatoes (some cherry, some sandwhich), two batches of green beans, and a bunch of banana peppers. The moral of the story is it’s a lot easier to eat veggies when you have a banquet at your disposal.

 

So, chock another win up to my brave doctor who always gives it to me straight. He does actually know what he’s talking about, dang it.

Please leave a comment or word of advice. We’re all in this life-thing together!