Story Stuff: H Is For Humor

Today’s topic is one in the series I’ve been simultaneously anticipating and dreading. Because it’s easy to execute yet hard to describe. Today is all about humor (or humour, depending on where you are in the world).

HThis blog started as a humor blog a year before I wrote anything in a novel. Click on the Funny link in the tag cloud and scroll waaaaay down to see some of those older humor posts.

So since I like writing funny blog posts, you’d think I’d frequently inject my novels with funnies – but I mostly don’t. I drop funny lines in here and there when I think they work – as in this suspenseful story could use a moment of levity. But my books wouldn’t hang out in the humor section.

Fortunately, one of my writing partners does write books that hang out there, so I’m stealing borrowing a bit of his work for illustration purposes.

Dan has written several books that are humorous, the first being Savvy Stories, his memoir about being a new parent. But before we get to the stolen borrowed piece, let’s dig into why something that’s funny is funny.

*commences Googling why is something funny*

*clears throat*

Turns out humor is subjective. This post takes a stab at explaining it.

Why do we find things funny? Why does this reaction force us to convulse and make that noise?

I have no idea.

Go to the post. There’s more to it than that.

It has to do with predicting readers’ expectations and then turning it. I used jokes when talking about plot twists in this post, which included this joke.


No one expected the sh- word to pop up in a post about a Dr. Seuss story. Ergo, humor.

I’ll let you click on those links for further exploration of the topic. For now, I leave you with an excerpt from Dan’s upcoming new release, Poggibonsi, a hilarious and romantic story you should definitely pick up.

PoggiAfter a few minutes of watching Patrick, Mr. Krabs, and Squidward attempt to do… something to Spongebob, I’d had enough. I was ready to push Spongebob into a blender, but Sienna was happy, and Mattie was still chatting with Sam, so I headed back downstairs to my desk.

I picked up my cell phone and sent Sam a text. Internet access is supposed to be shitty a lot of the time over in Italy, especially in Tuscany. So I reset all the passwords to my email and voicemail and everything else to your first name and the last four digits of your social.

Even though she was still talking to my wife, her reply was quick. That’s handy.

Me: I thought so. I need you to check on things in case I can’t.

Sam: Ok. Is my bonus paperwork in there, too, boss?

Me: No. My wife’s friends say Facebook and Twitter work great, I think, but that my email will be nonexistent. Go figure.

Sam: I could ask her. She is on the phone with me.

Me: Thanks, but no.

Sam: Okay. Expect a lot of angry co-workers when you get back.

Me: Why?

Sam: I’ll be accessing your phone mail and email under your name. I plan on telling a lot of people what I think of them. As you.


10 thoughts on “Story Stuff: H Is For Humor

  1. Pingback: Blogging From A to Z Challenge – Theme Reveal! | Allison Maruska

  2. Humor is a great tool to humanize a character in a serious novel. We often expect our protagonists to act like heroes, invincible until the bad guys (temporarily) overwhelm them – but little glimpses of humor can show their vulnerable side, thus making their setbacks all the more believable.

    I remember a great line in a Dennis Lehane novel, he described a woman’s purse as being “bigger than Peru”.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Very true about humour being subjective. I tend to enjoy reading parody, satire and authors who use humour to shine lights into dark places. I love Pratchett’s Discworld Series for the very dry tones, and the way he offers social commentaries in a way that readers can relate to. Also, I’ll read pretty much anything Bill Bryson. There are times I’ve sat reading his books on my lunch break, and my colleagues have been inching away as I’ve sniggered and snorted my way through a couple of chapters.

    Liked by 2 people

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