Slapstick and Sarcasm by Leia Shaw

I wouldn’t call myself a comedy writer, but humor plays a big role in my books. In my life, actually. As a parent of a child with special needs, I often tell people if I wasn’t able to laugh at myself, and sometimes our situation, I’d have slit my wrists a long time ago. Ha ha, just kidding. A little dark humor for ya’. But for me, laughter is that important. It’s even got a healing quality to it. Having a good laugh releases endorphins that give us a bit of a high. Like a natural upper. Many times when I’m feeling down, I’ll say to my husband, “I need a good laugh, do something funny.” To which he blankly stares. Then I roll my eyes and call my best friend.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, I think for the upcoming generation of readers, humor is essential – even if you write deep, dark, and serious material. We live in an ADD society. The audience for long, flowery narration like Jane Eyre is, for the most part, dwindling. And new readers are picky. If they hit a dull spot, they put down the book. And if they put it down, it’s very hard to get them to pick it back up. This generation moves fast and they want their books to also.

Again, where does writing humor fit into this? Well, one of the things I try to do is, when I have to inundate a reader with a long description or a backstory, I make it funny. That way it entertains the reader as well as giving necessary information without hitting a lull.

Now I’m no expert, and admittedly I didn’t do much (or any) research before writing this post, but in my mind there are several types of humor. Some you’ll be great at, some not. In my opinion, it’s better to use what you got than try to be good at everything. Maybe you already know what suits you best or what comes most naturally to you – if so, awesome and run with it. If not, I’ve listed the types (which I just made up) below along with an example of each. Take a look at what you find most funny then experiment with how to add more of it in your writing.

And I apologize that all the examples of humor are from my books. Number one, it’s my own material so I don’t have to worry about copyright infringement. And number two, I’m lazy.

Dry humor:

Marcelo knew from experience, human women did not like being ordered around by men. His queen had taught him that when she’d tried to kill him only a few months ago. And all because he’d forced her to drink blood and steal the throne from her twisted father. Women were so temperamental.

Sarcasm:

“Your ego is legendary. It’s like its own entity. No, really. We should name it.”

Dark humor:

“We’re not so different, you and I. You believe your loose morals dictate the right people to kill. I don’t.” With the knife, he cut straight through her shirt. “That’s the only difference between the hunter and the hunted.”

She rolled her eyes. “Is this how you’re going to torture me? Spewing philosophical bullshit? I prefer the knife.”

Silly humor:

“So? You made a good choice for once in your life,” James said. “Good on ya’. What do you want? A cookie?”

Maddox grunted. “She wants an apology, dumbass.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Now I want two apologies.” Folding her arms across her chest she added, “And a cookie.”

Visual humor:

When he crouched down into a fighter’s stance, he looked like a sexy tiger ready to pounce. When Sage did it, she looked like she was sitting sideways on an invisible toilet.

Banter:

“You’re a bossy little thing.”

“Me bossy? Ha! That’s funny coming from you.”

“Down here there’s a name for a creature that taunts a bigger one.”

“What’s that?”

“Dead.”

Pop Culture humor:

“Thanks for that, boy genius. Where’d you graduate from? Hogwarts School for the Mentally Unbalanced?”

Irony:

It had only been six days since she’d frozen in fear when the werewolves had attacked her and Marcelo. What a long way she’d come since then. Now…now she would have faced them with courage instead of cowering behind a man. Her head would be held high, bow in hand, strength down to her feet rooted on the ground. Yes, she was fae. She would never run and hide again.

Just then a giant snarling ball of muscle, fur, and teeth lunged at her from the trees. Oh, the irony.

Physical humor:

The next stall over is decent but cramped. It’ll have to do. I lift my dress and begin the process of liberating my curves from the torture device called Spanx. I grab the waistband and yank. And yank and yank. Down, down my body. At my hips, I reach some resistance. I wriggle them back and forth but the stall is so narrow I knock into the walls. I widen my stance, hovering above the toilet. Balancing on my too small heels proves challenging. I grunt and curse under my breath. Sweat drips down my nose. But I am going to get these damn things off if it’s the last thing I do.

Taking a more aggressive approach, I shove my hands under the waistband around my hips and pull down as hard as I can. Then I hear a loud rip and freeze. I look down. The lacy red underwear Nick got me is torn through at the side.

“Shit!” I hiss. “Shit, shit, shit.”

The sound of a throat clearing comes from the stall next to me. Double shit! Someone walked in between my grunts and thumping about? It probably sounds like I’m giving birth in here.

Witty humor:

Uhh…I don’t really specialize in this. I mainly use low brow and crass.

 

So. What’s your favorite type of humor to read and to write? Do you have examples you’d like to share? Leave a comment below and we can all laugh at you…er, with you.

About Susan Hanniford Crowley

Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, and Science Fiction Author
This entry was posted in romance and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Slapstick and Sarcasm by Leia Shaw

  1. Ann Mayburn says:

    lol- I love your examples. 😀 I’m very much dry, dark, and sarcastic humor(sounds like a wine description) while my husband is three stooges pie in the face humor. However we find common ground in the fact that I also have the sense of humor of a twelve year old boy at times so I find all types of sex jokes funny, no matter how immature. See the American Pie movies for an example. 😉

    • Leia Shaw says:

      LOL!!! American Pie is SO my husband’s type of humor. I’m like you, mainly dark and dry and sarcastic. But I LOVE slapstick. I crack up laughing when people fall down or walk into things or get hit in the nuts with baseballs. Can’t help it. It’s in my DNA. At least that’s what I tell my husband when I’m unsuccessful restraining my giggles when he steps on a shovel.

  2. I will say at the risk making some people upset here, and I’m probably the only person alive that does not love Lucy. I’m not a fan of the Stooges either. I don’t think it’s funny when someone walks into a glass door and why doesn’t Laura move the ottomon if Rob trips over it every night? To me that’s not funny (although I do like Dick VanDike). I guess I’m a fan of the dry and sarcastic type of humor.

  3. I can’t stand the stooges (I think it is a guy thing) But that said, I love humor in any story I read, whether it be a drama, mystery or romance; because no matter how serious life is, there is always something to laugh about.

  4. Mirriam Smyth says:

    LOL I love all your examples of different types of humor.

    I’m partial to dry and sarcastic humor, in real life and in what I read. As for what I write… I don’t know if I write anything humorous in my stories, lol. Sarcasm, probably, but the joke is probably lost on the reader if they don’t share my sense of humor.

    • Leia Shaw says:

      Mirriam, i often worry about my humor offending people or readers not getting it. but, it’s me. i’m not gonna apologize for being me or writing what i like. you shouldn’t either. if someone doesn’t like your humor, well, they’re probably not your audience. but trust me, there are plenty of people out there that like sarcasm. oh. maybe i should say it like this. god! *rolls eyes* NOBODY likes sarcasm.

  5. Casey Wyatt says:

    I absolutely love sarcastic, snarky humor! And thank you for all these awesome examples! You already know what kind of humor I like thanks to Lucky 7 last week! So what’s next? Crazy 8s (line 8, page 88)?

  6. Leia Shaw says:

    Oh! Crazy 8’s! Great idea! Wanna start it? Lucky 7 took off like crazy. i saw people doing on twitter days later.

    • Casey Wyatt says:

      Yes, I think you started a trend. I know my Soul Mate Sister took off with it! I’ve been very bad. I need a few days to get to page 88. This will give me incentive to stop slacking off.

  7. Leia Shaw says:

    Casey, i didn’t start lucky 7. i don’t know who did. i just tagged a few RWA people. crazy 8’s sounds good but maybe we should wait till lucky 7 wears off. or people will get overwhelmed. i’ll start it in a few weeks or so. or for you, next week so you get to page 88!

    hey, if you ever see me on facebook and you’re writing, ask if i’m up for a sprint. it’s a great way to stay accountable. you report your word count at the end of an hour and promise no distractions! it works for me anyway when i do it with other people.

  8. Katy Lee says:

    Great examples! I wish I could be funny in my writing. I second guess myself too much and end up deleting any humor, thinking the reader won’t think it’s funny.

    • Leia Shaw says:

      ah, yes, we do underestimate our readers a lot, don’t we? i do the same thing with over explaining things. i have to remember, most of the time, my readers are intelligent people. and chances are, if you write funny, they’ll laugh. you can always double check with a friend to make sure. or you can send it to me 😉 though, i find almost everything funny so maybe not. lol.

  9. Sheri Fredricks says:

    Excellent examples! Thanks for putting this all in one spot for me to see. BTW, I did Lucky 7 Meme 2 weeks ago. It was fun! I try to write with witty dialogue. I hope it’s witty at any rate.

  10. I think the trick with humor is do do it all the way through the story rather than relying on one or two jokes. That’s the shotgun principle. Blast away merrily and something will stick.
    Great post Leia, as always.
    Love the title.
    Some genius must have thought up that one 😀
    *whistling nonchalantly*

    • Leia Shaw says:

      thank you cari. you bring up a great point. repetitive (but not too repetitive) humor is a lot of fun. each of my books has a running joke through it. lots of fun to play with a theme.

      and, yes, someone did help me with that title. your whistling is not so nonchalant. in fact, i’d call it downright chalant.

      and genius is a bit of a stretch. shall we name your ego too?

  11. I luuurve dark humor!! Mwahahahahaha!

  12. My Genius is a bit of a stretch?
    I’ll just say, “Hmph!” in a condescending way
    (today is teach Leia new big words day)

    And next time you only get the tier one quality titles like,
    “Custard Pies and Rubber Chickens”

  13. Listen well young Leia.
    That was slapstick humor.
    Lesson ends
    Rubber chickens are essential for slapstick.

  14. Miss Leanore says:

    Great post a narrative on humor and sarcasm. Thought provoking!

  15. I particularly liked the witty humour example.

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