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Blogging By the Sea
Saturday, April 18 2020

April's Round Robin Blog Hop topic:  How easy or difficult do you find including humor in your writing and/or have you ever incorporated a true life humorous vent in your own life or the life of someone you know in a book you were writing?

Humor is a part of human life so it’s just natural for it to find its way into our writing in so many ways. Some of us are just blessed with a humorous nature – you know the guy who always has the right quip or comment at the right time to tickle everyone’s funny bones? Some of us have moments when we say or do something truly funny. But all of us appreciate humor from slapstick to subtle. And just think how awful life would be without it. Even on our darkest days, amidst the worst that life throws at us, humor can lighten the load and help us appreciate the good that comes our way. Right now, amidst this unprecedented and scary lockdown for Covid19 people are posting humorous gifs and memes to social media that help us all find something to laugh about. So, if this is real life, it just stands to reason we would want to incorporate humor into our stories.


For those blessed with the funny bone writing humor is easy. For the rest of us, not so much, but one thing most authors are good at is people watching. And that’s where you can find great ideas to weave into your stories. The ridiculous things people say in the heat of an argument, mishaps on the way to saying or doing something serious that totally derail the effort, things our pets do that bring a grin to our faces. All these things add spice to our lives and can enrich our stories.


Hank Ketcham made a career out of turning the funny, amusing, downright side-splitting things his son said and did into the long-running comic strip Dennis the Menace. Several others have used kids or family life to launch their careers as well. Anyone ever read Superfudge or Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume. If you have and you have kids, I’m betting some of the things that Peter had to endure from his baby brother Fudge could have happened in your family, or events very similar. I still smile over the image of Peter sticking green stamps all over Baby Fudge to trade him in for something better. Bill Bryson turned his real-life adventure to hike the Appalachian Trail into one of the most amusing books I’ve ever read, eventually made into the movie, A Walk in the Woods starring Robert Redford and Nick Nolte. Reader’s Digest features two regular pages of humor taken from real life. Humor in Uniform shows the lighter, funnier side of military life while Life in These United States retells true funny stuff from every walk of life.


Since humor is so much a part of who we are as people, we need to include it, just as we need to write in the tears, tantrums, hopes, dreams, frustrations, joy, triumph and love to make our characters and their stories come alive with depth and reality. Even a character with zero sense of humor adds to that diversity – the old grump who lives on the corner, never smiles and spends his days yelling at kids just for having a good time, or the boss who never sees anything even remotely funny about life at the office. Those contrasts add depth to both the characters and the story. Think about the serious TV shows you watch. Law Enforcement at all levels, lawyers arguing cases in court, doctors and nurses saving lives or firemen and other first responders in life or death situations – there are always moments of humor, even in drama. The perennial favorite, M.A.S.H. was all about the humor even while Alan Alda as Hawkeye Pierce tried to make a serious point about the futility and hell of war.


I’m no stand-up comedian, but my characters occasionally take matters into their own hands and do or say things that are funny, to lighten the mood, divert attention or just to show off their personality. They even surprise me. But most of the time, I use events that happen to me or people I know. I change the names to protect the innocent or not-so-innocent, but that’s where most of the humor in my books comes from. Just the other day my grandson, who just turned four and loves to vacuum – keeping in mind he requested a Dyson cordless stick vacuum cleaner for Christmas and Santa dutifully brought one. I had sent an Easter card with sparkly confetti inside that scattered all over the floor when the card was opened. Nicky shakes his head and mutters, “Grammy just likes to make a mess.” Coming from a four-year-old that’s the kind of humor anyone can relate to, and could be used in a fictional story. Years ago, my sister and I broke into a hotel in Inverness Scotland  (a whole other taleat 4 in the morning. One of these days I am going to find a way to weave that into a plot because, while it didn’t seem funny at the time, it’s funny in the retelling.


Due to the social distancing to slow the spread of Covid19 a friend of mine couldn’t spend Easter with her grandkids so she decided to sneak over to their house the night before to hide some Easter Eggs for them to find come morning. As she skulked around the yard hiding eggs it occurred to her to hope none of the neighbors saw her out there in the dark acting very suspicious and call the cops. So, you know, somewhere in Detective Jesse Quinn’s future, she’s going to end up responding to a call about an intruder and come upon a grandmother hiding eggs.  


I wrote a whole blog once based on an event in my life called, The Dog Went AWOLOne of my best-read posts – I think I should start reporting more of the crazy events of my life. God knows there are plenty of them. But in the meantime, why not hop on over and check out how these authors use humor in their writing….



Diane Bator 
Beverley Bateman 
Dr. Bob Rich 
Connie Vines 
Anne Stenhouse  
Margaret Fieland 
A.J. Maguire  
Victoria Chatham 
Judith Copek 
Rhobin L Courtright 

Posted by: Skye Taylor AT 12:02 am   |  Permalink   |  9 Comments  |  Email
Hi Skye, what a great post as befits the person who thought up the subject. Well done Santa for bringing what was asked for. I had a friend who attracted attention. while other folk would walk the dog, she walked the neighbour's dog and was included in a Korean documentary about Greyfriars Bobby. Maybe it was her interested expression. Whatever, she'd have been that granny hiding eggs...
Posted by anne stenhouse on 04/18/2020 - 07:05 AM
Great post, Skye. I enjoy humor but have a hard time writing it. Your ideas are helpful!
Posted by Robin L Courtright on 04/18/2020 - 08:47 AM
Skye, you remind me of the time my sister and I ended up with each other's passports. We were in Marseilles. She was traveling to London and I was going to Madrid. She told me later that the airport guy in Marseilles told her, "Oh, the two of you look alike," (not true), "just use her passport." She didn't. She put her passport on a plane as did I. Fortunately, the exchange went well.
Posted by Margaret Fieland on 04/18/2020 - 11:14 AM
Skye, you're certainly right about real-life. I always say that no matter what life throws at you, you can either laugh or cry. Laughing leaves nicer lines on your face, so I try to choose it often. Great post!
Posted by Fiona McGier on 04/18/2020 - 06:14 PM
I enjoyed your post. Lots of good thoughts on humor. Definitely we need humor during these times.
Posted by Beverley Bateman on 04/18/2020 - 10:08 PM
Skye, I enjoyed your topic and your blog post. The Dog that went AWOL was a great title!
Posted by Connie Vines on 04/18/2020 - 11:23 PM
Skye, and entertaining post, as usual. You know, you should consider taking up writing, you are so good at it!
Posted by Bob Rich on 04/19/2020 - 02:18 AM
What a great post, Skye. Yes, The Dog that went AWOL is a great title and I so agree with Dr. Bob.
Posted by Victoria Chatham on 04/19/2020 - 12:22 PM
A thorough treatment of humor. Loved the personal examples. Will try to find "The Dog Who . . . Great post!
Posted by Judith Copek on 04/27/2020 - 11:41 AM

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