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Monday, December 26, 2011

Humor Gets a Bad Rap

 Comics “ain’t got no respect.” Neither do comedy writers. I’ve known that fact for a while. The Oscars seldom nominate a film in the comedy category. When a drama actor suddenly takes on a humorous role, people say, “who knew he could be funny,” but still disregard it. Humorous books in any genre, other than humor, don’t fare as well as those lacking the witty designation.

This is my mantra: it’s harder to write humorous material than any other kind. It’s also harder to portray a comic character than a serious one. Why? Because humor is far more subjective than drama. Opinions about what is funny are personal. To one person something may be funny and another, not so much. A writer who can write humor that is received well by a large cross-section of people is, indeed, talented. Not saying that’s me or, in the case of my co-written material, my co-writer. You be the judge—if you’ll read it.

In romance fiction that hasn’t always been true. Once upon a time not so long ago and in a land not so far away, romantic comedies were hot commodities, the “trend” of the time, somewhere after the books I co-wrote as Terry Campbell and before vampire romances. When we originally wrote those books, we didn’t sell them right away, finally selling to one of the big houses. Then, when the trend hit its peak, editors at the other houses were actually asking us why we hadn’t submitted to them. Afterwards as trends always do, they fade and go out of vogue for the next best and most enticing thing.

This whole thing about romantic comedy books probably wouldn’t bother me so much except, you see, I still write humor. Okay, so I write mysteries and fantasies and even science fiction. But all of them have humor, even the ones with deaths and gory serial killers.  If you think that it’s easy to write a book like that and have an editor buy, try it. Thankfully, I have found some who enjoy it.

A year ago I co-wrote another book, same co-writer, and sent it out for review to seven different sites. However, not one person at those sites chose to review it. Why? It’s a fantasy, light on the fantasy and long on the contemporary—living among its dark vampire, werewolf and shape shifter cousins.

It has gotten a couple of write-ups, reviewers who went on and on to mention this book is hysterical, laugh-out-loud funny and one you wouldn’t miss. Their words, not mine. BUT it gets mediocre support. 

I like to think that it’s also because humor is trending upward once again, along with historical romance. You see, my theory is that in a world wrought with worry over finance, global warming, civil unrest and natural world disasters coming with what seems to be increasing regularity, people need to laugh. By the way, if you’d like to, I can suggest a few good comedies to entertain you.

Bobbye Terry’s latest book, This Magic Moment by Daryn Cross is now exclusively available through Amazon as part of its new program. She also has two other new books out, Walk Right In, also under her Daryn Cross pen name, and Nick of Time, the sequel to Coming to Climax, written under her real name.


Angela Claire said...

I agree that humor has a place in romance novels. For myself, as a reader, I like it when a novel has it and as an author, I find I can't keep it out of my writing. It just seeps in, even when I'm trying to take myself seriously! And the biggest compliment I can get as a writer is when a reader or reviewer says they laughed out loud reading my book.

Adele Dubois said...

It's true that humor is subjective and very hard to write. If someone does it well enough to appeal to the masses, they've accomplished something truly amazing.


jean hart stewart said...

Humor is always appreciated to the ones with any discernement at all.I love a book that has it, as I know how blasted hard it is to write....Jean

Sandy said...

I love humor in the books I read.

Bobbye Terry said...

Thanks to Angela, Adele, Jean and Sandy for stopping by. I have to write humor. For me it's as necessry as breathing.
Bobbye aka Daryn

Fran Lee said...

I write erotic romance...and "accidentally" drop in stuff that cracks up readers and reviewers. Not "humor", per se, but rather thoughts and words that drag a chuckle or an outright laugh as the reader continues the book. I believe that people love to be entertained. Where some people do not perceive humor, but rather erotic titillation in the same sentence, or thought, that's fine by me, as well. I love humor in all its shapes and perceptions. :)

Janice Seagraves said...

I love humor and tend to read the writers who make me laugh.

Got dark humor? Bring it on.


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