Don't You Hate Book Tours?

6:00 AM Elizabeth Seckman 49 Comments


“The trick to pulling a rabbit from a hat is to have the rabbit already in there.”
 – Mark Twain

I'm not here today. The A2Z has begun and I am the first poster on deck at the Really Real Housewives Click here to visit)! 

But have no fear...I left you in the very best of hands!
Welcome Roland to the blog!!!

Roland Yeomans here:



This is not an April Fool’s Day post in my “Don’t You Hate Book Tours?” Book Tour.
Yet it is.  It is about humor in your writing and in mine.

Why should we be concerned at all about humor when writing our novels?

What are the bits of dialogue you repeat to friends after seeing a movie that wowed you?  The funny parts.

They stick in the minds of your readers like cockle-burrs and become internet chatter that grows into that all-important Word of Mouth.

Humor also teaches you crucial writing lessons.

Writing humor teaches you a great deal about vital prose skills such as pacing and artful word choices that casts the mood you wish in your tale.

Even in terrible situations, people joke with one another or see something funny – be in combat or the ER for a few days and see for yourself.

A few moments of humor peppered throughout your novel can make your characters and situations seem more realistic and deepen your readers’ connections with them.
You should develop as many skills as possible because you can never be certain when you might need to switch gears in order to punch up a scene.

Comedy can disarm the reader.

This can be useful for a number of reasons.

It may leave the reader or the characters off guard and not expecting a sudden injection of tension or fear. It may allow a writer to introduce an uncomfortable subject.

Writing humor successfully relies on things like timing, vocabulary, tone and even the length of sentences. It may take more effort than any other type of writing, but it is crucial that it look effortless.


USE YOUR OWN MATERIAL:
 If you say something funny or make a laughable slip of the tongue, make a note of it, and see if you can use it in something you’re working on.

JUXTAPOSE TWO UNEXPECTED THINGS:
This can be absurd or it can simply produce a funny contrast.
For example, using an elevated tone to describe an event like a mud-wrestling contest might be funny.

USE THE RULE OF THREE:
 This is about the rhythm of our language.
The idea is to establish a pattern in the reader’s mind and then throw the pattern off. Three is used because it is the minimal number possible to establish this pattern.
“The moment was unforgettable – the loveliness of the pale redhead in front of me, the longing for me in her vampire eyes, and the diarrhea in my pants.”

DELIVERY IS EVERYTHING:
Pay attention to elements such as the setup, the word choice and the payoff.
Jokes and other humorous moments will need to be revised more than once just like any other aspect of your novel.

 Experiment with different ways of writing your humorous scene to see if things like shorter or longer sentences or changes in tone affect how it comes across.



HUMOR in THE NOT-SO-INNOCENTS ABROAD:
Having Mark Twain in my Steampunk novel, how could I not have humor in it?
Whether he is being hung over a pit of sulfuric acid, riding to a death-trap surrounded by deadly Comanche, or trying on a pair of poisoned kid gloves to impress a beautiful vampire, Mark Twain makes you laugh despite the deadliness.

At the end of the novel, even Horace Greely gets into the act and becomes unintentionally funny during the worst train robbery in history.

 ***
AN EXAMPLE:
Sammy Clemens slapped me on the shoulder. “Captain Sam, don’t be so down.  Why in no time a’tall Georgia will be all re-people-ated.”

Eleven year old Nikola Tesla sighed, “Sir, that is repopulated.”
Sammy bristled, “Young man, who is the native born Amurican, and who is the immigrant here?”

“You are native born, sir, but it is still repopulated.”

Sammy turned to Meilori, whose memory stretched back farther than the flow of blood through Eve’s veins.  “See, Lady Meilori?  This is the gratitude of the immigrant.”

Slanted eyes, which had viewed the construction of the Sphinx, sparkled, “To me and the race I rule, you humans are all immigrants.”

Sammy snorted, “Oh, sure, turn philosopher on me.  But you will recall what happened to old So-crates.” 

(He’d turned the last syllable into the word for a wooden box.)

“Sir, his name is pronounced …” began little Nikola but Sammy covered the boy’s lips with his fingers.

Meilori’s eyebrow arched dangerously, “I prefer my hand to take my enemies’ lives and not my own.”

Sammy bent down to Nikola.  “And that, my lad, is why us single males should stay single!”

***
So will you take a chance on laughter and go to my book’s Amazon page?
Cost of the adventure of a lifetime and laughter?  Only $9.99!
More on Mark Twain:


***************

Thanks to our hosts LexaL.G, and Tonja Drecker for this weekly good things check in! 

My good thing of the week!
Today is my first column for an online magazine.
(It's a paying gig! Like Tonja Drecker- I'm earning me some ice cream.)


Check it out HERE!


49 comments:

  1. Roland really needs to take all the blog posts he's written for people recently and make a book out of them! It'd be infinitely helpful to new authors!

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    1. Thanks for thinking so, Randi. I try to make my posts helpful to more people than just me!!

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  2. What a wonderful post and such interesting reading. Thank you Roland.
    Yvonne.

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  3. A story that is all seriousness is draining on the reader.

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    1. AND a movie, too ... which is one of the chief complaints about Bats vs. Supes, right?

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  4. Great post! Humor is a big part in my writing, and I love books that make me laugh.

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    1. If a book doesn't make me laugh, I usually put it down.

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  5. All the dark and dreary can drain indeed. Rather have humor any day.

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    1. Me, too! Laughter is one thing we can generate ourselves, right?

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  6. Great post, Roland. I love adding humor to my stories, mostly through dialogue. It's fun to write!

    And congratulations on the magazine column, Elizabeth!

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    1. Thanks, Julie. I enjoy writing Mark Twain -- he makes me smile with his dialogue. And yes, congrats on the magazine column, Elizabeth!

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  7. It's absolutely true that humor in a story (particularly a tension-filled one) is super important. Wishing Roland much success.

    Yay for your new PAID online writing gig - that's so cool! Congrats! :)

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    1. Humor persuades the reader to let down his guard so that the surprise hits her harder. :-)

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  8. Humor is a difficult thing to write, especially because it has to look effortless.

    Add to that the fact that I have an odd sense of humor...

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    1. Odd humor may bring you a slew of new readers! Try it for a short story and see what happens. :-)

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  9. I always worry that the funny things I put in will just be stupid to other people. I used to take them all out. It's taken me a long time to trust myself and leave them in.

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    1. Usually your instinct will serve you true in this.

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  10. Humor can be tricky to write, but is so necessary even in the most dramatic/serious situations. Enjoyed the post!

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    1. Thanks so much. Humor is hard, but then so is writing a good novel -- we just have to go with it and try our best. :-)

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  11. My husband once heard a comedian say the key to good comedy is "random specificity." If you'll notice, some of the best of today's comedians do just that. They'll make a list of normal things and the last will be something odd, for instance...but very specific, like Greek yogurt or pickled beets.

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    1. Yes, the rule of three -- two common items followed by a very specific totally left field item can be funny indeed.

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  12. I wish I could write humor. Great post, Roland!!!

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  13. I love humorous books, too. They are incredibly difficult to write, though. Wonderful post with great tips, Roland.

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  14. Congrats Liz on the paid gig. Who doesn't love that green or in your case ice cream? Humor is good but so are dramatic and even sad moments that can stick with a reader or movie watcher.

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    1. Humor can intensify a dramatic or sad scene by preceding it. And I am so happy for Elizabeth, too!

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  15. Great post, and yes, I use humor in everything. It's the best!

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  16. I love this. Thank you for the tips, as I'd really like to bring humor in my writing. The excerpt from The Not So Innocents Abroad is great.

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    1. I'm so glad you liked my excerpt. Twain makes everything better! :-)

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  17. Of course I don't hate them, I'm in the middle of one. LOL Happy book tour, Roland!

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    1. I am afraid that our tours are wearying our friends who see us all over the place as in "Enough about me. What do you think of me?" :-)

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  18. I love it when a writer can make me laugh while reading a story. It's a real talent who can do that, Roland. And if I can laugh during a book tour, you know there's talent involved. :-)

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    1. I hope you laughed during this post. If you didn't, the ghost of Mark Twain will never let me hear the end of it! He doesn't get hysterical; he gets historical! :-)

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  19. Great post
    @CazsBooks
    http://cazgreenham.blogspot.com

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  20. Great post! I love it when books have humor. And I had to laugh about your example of the "diarrhea in my pants"—looks like you succeeded there! :)

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    1. Thanks, Kristin! Yes, if a vampire was closing in on me, my bowels would most definitely loosen!! :-)

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  21. A wonderful post full of tips and advice. Thanks Roland for sharing! Congrats on the release!

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    1. I try to help as well as hype my book. :-)

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  22. Great tips. I appreciate humor in books and incorporate it in my own writing.

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    1. It helps us lighten the mood right after or right before a scene of tension -- and it makes for great word of mouth, too! Thanks for liking my post!

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  23. Humor is so incredibly difficult. I'm ok at it, but working on getting better. :)

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    1. Yes, it is hard, but that is how we know it is essential for a good book. "Easy" paths usually go in the wrong direction, right? Ah, I just did it again, didn't I? :-)

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  24. Laughter is so good for the soul. A lovely post Elizabeth.

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  25. Congratulations to Roland. Great post with cool tips!

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  26. Good humor is challenging but so important. I always try to cushion my heavy material with playfulness and humor in a way that doesn't detract from either.
    As always, valuable advice, Roland. Thank you.

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