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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wednesday Spotlight: Jennifer Shirk

What’s so funny?

I love to read books that make me laugh out loud—or at the very least chuckle.

I've been thinking about this topic for a while and really have no clear cut path to what is funny or how to write it. I think I’m personally a comedy writer's best audience because I will most likely laugh at anything. Especially stupid stuff.

For example: You use the word "Speedo" in a sentence and I'm going to laugh. There. I told you I laugh at stupid stuff. Speedo is a word that just strikes me as funny. But I understand that the majority of people out there thinking, “Jennifer is one strange dudette”.

So what is universally funny? I don't know. But I've come up with at least two things that I always enjoy when I read humor.

1) In romance--or any genre, really--I think I appreciate witty and snappy dialogue the most. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is a master at that. (In my humble opinion) She can get her hero and heroine in a conversation that's so funny, you want to read it over and over to keep the laughter coming. Witty metaphors can probably get lumped into this category, as well. Nothing can get me to picture something funnier than a unique description to show me how funny the situation is in my mind.

2) I like embarrassing moments for a character, too. That's something I enjoy in real life as well. It's sheer hilarity. Situations where we want to crawl under a rock and die are ones we can relate to. We can picture ourselves in the moment perfectly. Nothing is as funny to me as when I see someone uncomfortable or put in an embarrassing situation. Of course, it's not funny for the person at the time who's undergoing the circumstance, but eventually they do see the humor in it. (Even if it's years later. )**cough cough**

I'm sure there's some things that I missed, but those are the things that pop into my mind when I read comedy.

When you read comedy, what strikes you as funny?


Diane Craver said...

Great post, Jennifer!

I like humorous dialogue and outrageous scenes that make me laugh. In your book, THE ROLE OF A LIFETIME, I liked the scene where Ben gets stuck in the kids' slide - that was pretty funny.

Marianne Arkins' books are amusing when she has characters attempt to get out of their comfort zones and do something they really aren't capable of doing and end up having hilarious results.

PatriciaW said...

The thoughts in characters' heads. Just the right level of snark--not too much but enough that it makes me grin. Suits my personal level of twistedness. :)

I think any writer can have comedic moments in their story. Writers mistakenly think they must be comedy writers, or they're not allowed to be funny.

Chicki Brown said...

I also love embarrassing moments for the characters, I guess because I've had so many of my own that I can relate ...

Stephanie said...

dialogue is great! Embarrassing moments, I tend to feel sorry for them, because I can relate!

Susan R. Mills said...

Embarrassing moments are the best, especially if it's something you would be mortified yourself by.

Everything of Interest to a Romance Writer said...

It's funny that I was just doing a blog post on this topic this week...I split it up into bold and subtle humor but I know I missed tons of different types of humor. Anything can become funny. One commenter mentioned sarcasm and I realize I totally forgot this. Sarcasm seems to fit when a character is frustrated with a situation. I think anything a reader can relate to is funny.

Jennifer Shirk said...

Ooh, I forgot sarcasm! That can be very funny! (especially when it's used in dialogue)

lainey bancroft said...

Snappy dialogue is the best! I also like sarcasm and embarrassing moments--as long as they aren't too painfully embarrassing, otherwise I just feel sorry for the character. Too close to home, ya think? lol

One other thing that adds chuckles for me is strange observations about everyday occurrences--just a generally 'bent' view of the world shown through a character's pov.

Dena said...

I enjoy humor in reading too Jennifer. Another Author that gets me giggling when reading her stories is Janet Chapman. I like when the characters can laugh at themselves too.

Roni Loren said...

I love humor in a book and I love writing it as well. My humor drug of choice is sarcasm. I also love great dialogue.

Walt Mussell said...

I love quick comebacks in a book from a character who's not malicious. Basically, a lovable joker.