Monday, October 10, 2011

Make 'Em Laugh

Serious emotions are easy to turn boring if they're not intense enough.  Too much tension can make a reader tired, distracted, or even irritable.  But if you combine serious emotions with a touch of humor? You'll have 'em eating out of the palm of your hand!

Examples?  Sure!  My favorite author, Jim Butcher, tosses humor into his books ALL THE TIME!  His protagonist, Harry Dresden, always throws a wise-crack into the dialogue, even when he's staring into the face of certain death.  No, scratch that, ESPECIALLY when.  Sure, there are plenty of serious emotions that enter into the Dresden Files, and they aren't always interrupted by humor.  But just when you think the tension can't grow any tighter, he tosses in a joke.  The lets out the tension a tad... just enough for it to get ratcheted even TIGHTER than before!

Next we have Gail Carriger.  Her stories are chock full of humor.  And it's very witty, too!  Her jokes aren't cheap or snarky, they're just a part of the world.  There's a level of frivolity in all but the most serious scenes in her books.  And it makes what could be very dark stories into light, almost cozy books about an odd woman and the companions she chooses to associate herself with.

Finally, let's talk George R. R. Martin.  I'm a newcomer to A Song of Ice and Fire.  In fact, I've never read any of his books.  I DID listen to the audiobook of A Game of Thrones, though.  And even that book, very heavy, deep, serious, etc. has its share of humor.  Don't believe me?  Just look at the Tyrion Lannister.  He always has a joke for the people threatening him.

So what makes you laugh?  What books can you think of that have humor in them, even though they aren't comedy or humorous books?  Do you like it or hate it?  And especially, have you read any books that take themselves too seriously?  Do they need jokes in them?


  1. I love humor mixed in, but it's not always easy to pull off.

  2. Miranda, that's so true! I imagine it takes almost as much skill as a writer to hide a poor sense of humor as it does to show a good sense of humor.

  3. Emily Hash8:05 PM

    I loved all of Jasper Fforde's books. He not only makes fun of his characters, but he also makes fun of himself, as the author, in his stories. I would definitely recommend them!

  4. I loved the Sword of Truth series by Terry Goodkind. They are a great balance between action, romance, suspense, and clever humor. Why don't more authors branch out and write for TV sitcoms? I feel like nowadays they could use the help....

  5. My favorite reads for laughs are Carl Hiaasen, not least because he's a fellow Floridian, and really knows how to skewer our locals. And I loved the humor in Game of Thrones; he's really witty.

  6. I would definitely say that Carriger is full of snark...that's one of the things I love the most about her books! Alexia is one of the better characters I've ever read because of how well Carriger combines humour (sic intentional) and snark. It's so clever...such a great character!