Archive for January 24th, 2013

January 24, 2013

Gateways arrived, and a contest update


The book I won in author Jessica Schaub’s contest came today!

I’ve been checking the mailbox all week long, and finally my copy of Gateways arrived. I will be reading it all through next week, although I may have to steal it back from my daughters. They’ve already been reading the back cover, and both of them have mentioned how they’re looking for something good to read that they haven’t read before. My mom is already reading it on her Kindle.

It really does sound intriguing. From the back of the book:

Victoria suffers the normal troubles of every teenager: homework deadlines, a protective mother who keeps knives under her pillow, a missing father, and if she’s not careful, Victoria falls into her paintings.

Who hasn’t wanted to fall into a painting before? I always have, long before I read about Mary Poppins jumping into a painting. I’m looking forward to this adventure.

In other news,


As promised, I’m writing a quick contest update here.

At a week and a half into this contest, I have had quite a bit of interest in the idea but only one real entry. I’m still hoping to giving away all five gift cards. We’ll see if the entries pick up in the next week or two.

For those who are wondering, the prize is a $25 gift card for a drawing out of 100 e-mail responses to three questions about The Night Ones Legacy. The full rules can be found here.

January 24, 2013

Character development through humor: something new to learn


While cleaning off one of the bookshelves in my office this morning, I came across an old book I picked up at some library sale years ago: How to Write and Sell Your Sense of Humor, by Gene Perret.

If I remember right, I picked this book up because of a discussion with a writing friend back in Bismarck. One of this writer’s many strengths is humor; she’ll be typing away on a plot line, and something quirky just pops up in her head and inserts itself into the manuscript.

It makes her writing a lot of fun to read, and I love working on joint writing projects with her because of it.

A good plot and well-developed characters can make almost any story flow, for me, but I do like characters that make me laugh. I think most of my writing tends to be very serious, maybe even a little bit melodramatic. I’ll be reading this book as I study character development to see what I can glean from it.

For today, I’m including some ideas that popped out at me as I flipped through the pages.

  • Humor can be built around relationships and ironies. Perret says comedy is simply a combination of two or more ideas, and it’s the relationship of those ideas that creates the humor. He included the following example, which he said was funny because it was at least somewhat true and was expressed with unusual tightness.:

Anytime you see a man open a car door for his wife, either the car is new or the wife is. 

  • Humor can be built around visualizations and images. This type of comedy depends on the scene that humor writing puts into a reader’s mind.
  • Humor can also occur through word play. In this case, it seems to be a little bit about puns, but the puns have to still create a funny image in the mind of a reader.

This is new ground for me, but it’s ground I want to walk across. I’m just not quite sure how. Yet.

I think I need some practice.

I’m way nervous to try this, but I’m setting a goal here: between now and the end of January, I’ll try to post at least five things that might possibly be humorous, under the right circumstances. If I can get the hang of that, maybe I can extend it out over the next month or so.

Then, maybe, possibly, I can start figuring out how that could aid character development. It’ll be part of my ongoing education. Any thoughts or comments from other writers here will be greatly appreciated, because I seem to learn the most about writing from other writers.

I think I should study humor more. I’ll try to do some reviews on comedy books or writers over the next few months to see what works and what doesn’t. I could have fun with this.

At the very least, I should get a few laughs out it–even if I’m just laughing at myself.

That’s okay, because laughing is almost as much fun to me as eating chocolate is. 🙂




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