Sunday, August 7, 2016

Sarcasm. Sprinkle that stuff everywhere.

Last year, at a writer's conference, I was invited to sit on a panel about writing humor. When I told my brother (the stand up comic) about this, he asked if that was the humorous part.
He doesn't think I'm funny.
He's a jackass.
I'm hysterical.

I never set out to write funny books. Truth is, most of my books don't sound all that funny at all when you break them down to just content. But, what I do set out to do, is be real. Write real feelings. Real experiences. And sometimes, real trauma. The reality is, a joke can be made even under the worst conditions, at the most inappropriate of times. Especially, when your main source of humor stems from deep-seeded sarcasm and morbid wit. Which, incidentally, most of mine does.

A Place For Laughs...

I find that much like in real life, the best place to drop a funny one liner is when you least expect it. Right there in the middle of the really heavy stuff. Because books, same as life, are better with a laugh.

“Hudson. We need some magic coffee dust over here.”
He cocks a half smile and hurries over. “That’s cute. Playing on my former barista job and calling me a fairy all in one shot.”
“Yes. Now come over here and make something happen. Just don’t whip out your wand to do it.”
I shake my head. “Really? A penis reference? Is this how you’re going to be approaching this entire situation?” Actually, inappropriate jokes is how we all deal with everything. So, yeah. 

~ Fallen Angel (A Finding Nolan Novel)

One-liners are pretty much what I'm working with at all times. I'm not one for slapstick humor, or writing funny 'action' scenes. I can't get them onto paper right. By the time I'm done describing everything that's happening to set up the joke, chances are it's gotten lost somewhere along the way. I'm too long-winded to pull it off.

Dialogue. That's where it's at.

Or, if you're writing in first person, there are always ample opportunities to drop some humor into the thought process. Usually, you have even more freedom here, because we all know we think way more funny stuff than we would ever have the balls to say out loud.

Characters are no different.

Unless they are.

That One Character Who Has Zero Filter...

Usually I'll have at least one wildcard in the bunch. One character that's allowed to say whatever pops into his or her head. I love writing these. Because I get to write whatever pops into my head. Aunt Dick in With Whom We Spend Our Lives is a perfect example of this sort of character. As is May in I Call Him Brady. Not to mention Ava from the Finding Nolan books. God, I miss those women.

“I’m not going.”
She grins. “You’re going.”
I’m getting pissed. She makes me feel like a f*cking toddler, only at thirty-seven she’s not exactly old enough to be my mother. “You can’t force me.”
“True.” She takes her phone from her back pocket and begins to tap away at the screen.
I slant my eyes suspiciously. This can’t be good. “What are you doing?”
“Just setting a few daily reminders to call you.”
My hands drop to my sides. I already know surrender is inevitable. “And by few you mean?” 
“Not too many. Maybe one little jingle, every fifteen minutes or so between now and the time you agree to go.” She’s got a wicked smirk on her face.
“You can put your stupid phone away. We both know I’m going to the wedding.”
Her face lights up in mock surprise. “You are?”
 ~ Aunt Dick

“F*cking idiot.” May threw one of my new hand towels at his head as he hurried from the room.
“It’s a good thing he knows you well enough to know that’s a term of endearment.” I placed the last of my folded towels back into the basket for easy transport.
“You’re the only one who thinks it is.” 
~ May

Vaginas didn’t scare me exactly. I mean, they seemed innocent enough, and I could see the convenience of it all, one piece fitting into the other. But I’d taken sex ed. I’d seen that sweet little flower chicks claimed they were sitting on morph into monsters big enough to spit out a watermelon on a moment’s notice. Don’t tell me there isn’t something shady about that.
If straight dudes want to stick their dicks in there, I say do so at your own risk. Someday that beast may decide to swallow instead of spit, and then what the f*ck are you going to do?  Be f*cking dickless, that’s what.
We were in the elevator going down to the lobby when I noticed Ava was still grinning.
She chuckled before she answered, “You look nervous. Thinking about penis-eating vaginas again?”
~ Ava

Why It's Important...

I don't like to cry. It's a pretty basic reason really. But there it is. I like to feel. I like to explore the depths of heartache, but dammit I want to have a laugh in between to keep from falling to pieces and winding up a sopping, sobbing mess of a puddle no longer solid enough to count for a human being. And so do my characters. If they feel the need to lighten the tension with a little humor, I let them. Because it's good for them. It's good for me. And frankly, it's good for you.

“I take it you’ve talked to him?”
I nod, busying myself by putting away the three cartons of ice cream they brought over. “Had lunch with him on Monday.”
“And?” Her eyes are wide, impatient.
“And…I think it’s going to take more than one lunch to figure his ass out.”
“What does that mean?” Bristol asks from the doorway, bottle of vodka still in hand.
“It means, he is an ass, but he’s hot so she’s not willing to admit it yet. Not until after he’s stomped all over her brittle, broken heart with all of his asshole hotness.” Only Layne would put it quite like that. 
“You know, for someone who writes romance novels you’re not very romantic.”
“Because I know they’re fiction. I make them up. They’re not autobiographies. They’re f*cking fairy tales.”
I shake my head, casually putting some distance between us. For safety.
“You need to stop dating men you meet on Tinder.”

~ One More Chapter


  1. Your books hold epic one liners. I also love the sarcasm. I'm fluent in sarcasm, especially at inappropriate times.

    1. Thanks!! And I feel like your talent for sarcasm and inappropriate humor probably has a lot to do with why we get along ;-)

  2. Your books hold epic one liners. I also love the sarcasm. I'm fluent in sarcasm, especially at inappropriate times.