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Inserting Spontaneous Humor

By Lynn Hobbs

Have you ever read a Christian fiction book; either romance, suspense, or historical, and were amused by an unexpected sense of humor from one of the characters? I find it outstanding.

If you were to ask me what the hardest part of writing is that I have encountered, I’d have to reply inserting spontaneous humor. I have practiced, re-wrote, edited, and am still learning this style of humor.
Hidden Creek
As a Christian writer it can be a challenge to insert humor using a non-humorous character. Dry humor is a treasure, but if you are aiming for believable humor it should appear spontaneous.

  1. It creates a genuine character others can relate to.
  2. It shows character growth between characters.
  3. It can endear a character to readers who in turn expect the unexpected from that character, and experience a more enjoyable story.

In “Hidden Creek”, the third book in my Running Forward Series, I inserted humor in the most unexpected moment for one character, and it helped readers relate to that certain character. Ben and Izabella are one of the couples in the book. Ben is a rascal, and Izabella doesn’t believe they are legally married, but by adding humor to a tense situation; he became a lovable rascal.

Example:

“…but I want to talk to them.”

“…and I want to go back to Texas. We will not wait hours for the couple to return. Adious, sayonara, auf wiedersehen, shalom, au revoir, goodbye…”

Izabella put the car in reverse, and frowned.

You’re not funny…and you can’t play down the issue…

As a reader, having read the previous pages, Ben does display a side to his character not shown before. His attempt at humor makes the reader see him as not a silly character, but one who can slip out of a tense situation.

As a Christian writer, we all continue to learn our craft daily. I do admire a writer who can insert spontaneous humor with …in all appearance…complete ease. At times, it can be a challenge, but I personally love it!

In the book I am writing now, “Eyes of a Neighbor”, book one of the American Neighborhood Series, I played with the idea of a harmless UPS truck in a scary situation for one of the characters. Writing the scene was a total joy for me, and it did have an unexpected moment of humor.

I can remember, as a teenager, reading the stories by Alfred Hitchcock that began as typical daily events unfold for some average character. Hitchcock had little humor, if any at all. A reader became involved in his suspense, and toward the end of the story, he added a sly bit of humor. For me personally, now as a writer, it is the ultimate icing on the cake. As a Christian writer, we insert lessons, and values; creating each character and each book as carefully as a chef prepares a meal. Inserting humor can be a delicious slice of pie to that same chef.

I encourage you to experiment with adding spontaneous humor.

Happy writing!

Lynn HobbsLynn Hobbs is the author of the Running Forward Series: Sin, Secrets, and Salvation, River Town, and Hidden Creek, and won 1st place Religious Fiction in 2013, 2014 and 2015 by Texas Association of Authors.
Lillie, A Motherless Child won 1st place Biography 2016, TAA.
Her books are available on Amazon. She is currently writing a new Christian Fiction series. Meanwhile, visit Lynn on Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and her website.
 

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3 Responses to Inserting Spontaneous Humor

  1. Carol Ashby says:

    This is great advice. How easy it is to follow probably depends on your own sense of humor. When I was growing up, my whole family delighted in the well-told joke and the sudden turn of phrase that could lighten even a serious topic. We raised our kids the same way, filling our house with chuckles and laughter.

    If there’s an underlying joy in a character, it will bubble up spontaneously throughout the work. I love those kinds of characters, and I write them myself. Good-natured teasing and kind-hearted repartee are part of my debut novel, Forgiven, that just released, and there’s a character in my WIP who can’t resist using a snippet of humor to relieve tension even in a deadly serious situation.

    Maybe the best way to train ourselves to write spontaneous humor is to use it often to brighten the days of our real-life friends.

  2. Lynn Hobbs says:

    I agree! We all enjoy a light unexpected chuckle in the midst of our daily routine, and if you are reading a book and experience this… I find it awesome! A welcomed surprise!

  3. Melissa says:

    Thank you for this post. 🙂