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Posted: 12/4/2010 1:46 PM PST
I have a few rules when trying to be whitty, sarcastic, ironic, or humorous.
Rule one: What you write says something about you, the author. Try to limit your target to characters in your book. Avoid taking on institutional taboos, ie. It is okay to make a funny observation about a gay person, but it is not okay to use your forum to bash gays.
Rule two: Do not write funny bits and then try to wrap your story around the thought. It seldom works. You risk being seen as a scatter brain Be pointed and use your humor to point your story line. I have written what I thought were great one liners that were pointed and had to wait, staring at my screen. Take your time, it will come to you eventually.
Acouple of things that work, the character can be self depreciating, but not overly so. Asking a silly question and answering it yourself can be a fun diversion. An off the wall observation is a vehicle that works if it is incidental to your story line.
Dry whit is useful. Mark Twain was the expert. Sarcasm has limits so it should be short. Don't let your sarcasm drag you down a road that leads to nowhere. I say to my self, It was funny. It was sarcastic Now get over it and get back on track. Your audience will either get or they won't. Don't explain yourself. Rambling. Get it?
I can tell that you are in love wtih your novel. You are also fearful that it won't get published. JOIN THE CLUB. I wrote a book back in the nineties about terrorist setting off a nuclear device in downtown Kansas City, killing Tripper Gore. At the time it was too outragesously unthinkable and now the genre is all over the print media and TV.
The point is, what you write may not be riding the wave. You're a WRITER, put it away and go on to something else. I have more work in the unfinished category than I care to share. I take pride in my accomplishments, but I never obcess about them. When your novel is polished, you are only half way there. Research the literary agents diligenty.
I hope some of this helps....Bob rattling on.
Posted: 8/20/2009 9:00 AM PDT
Hey there, dancer,
I think that what's important is that when you have your character say something you're not sure about ask yourself: 'am I having him say this because I think it's funny, or becasue it's really something he would say in this situation?'
I find that sometimes my writing becomes very uptight because I enjoy writing inane wordplay too much. Fortunately in satire you can get away with it, but other genres are not so forgiving.
In my opinion Han Solo is one of the best sarcastic characters. His dry humor can lighten many a tense conversation. But he isn't the main character of Starwars. When the main character uses humor to elude feelings, he isn't like the reader, because in the readers mind they themselves are one of the most open people. But people outside ourselves (or the main characters personal reflections in other words) can be endearing when they let pain etc slide into the background with the use of humor. I hope that this makes a little sense.
Sarcasm can hurt people, and no one wants to see the hero screwing with peoples feelingings. Sarcasm can be a defence, and no one wants to see the hero repressing emotions. So, a lighthearted hero that can let things slide and cheers others up with optimistic humor? Sure, it's never really ever been done as most heros are moody and depressed. But a hero who has a tendancy to biting sarcasm can get on a readers nerves. Unless said character gets the snot beat out of him for it and becomes a better person for it.
I hope that this is applicable and useful for you!
Posted: 8/11/2009 3:37 AM PDT
If it is well written people will accept it. Your character should be coherent and consistent though. JOB has a fairly dry sense of humour and I (sometimes - actually quite frequently) find what he writes to be full of wry humour, irony, satire and even sarcasm, but oithers have been known to take it the wrong way:). Possibly you should read some of his posts and submissions.
Anti-heroes are fairly common and if yours is original and has a fine eye for the ridiculous I think you have a good chance of succeeding eventually. There is a scottish thriller writer that you might look at to see this format in print. Christopher Brookmyre is his name. I recommend starting with "A BIG BOY DID IT AND RAN AWAY".
Posted: 8/10/2009 4:17 PM PDT
I think that we accept a lower and/or drier level of humour from a character that we are sympathetic too. It is a bit difficult because sympathetic doesn't necessarily mean that we like them.
However I am generally sure that the reader will not accept dry humour from a charcter that they dislike unless it is counterpoint to something funnier from a hero/ine
Posted: 8/7/2009 5:54 PM PDT
Unforunately according to some of my peers in my writing classes, the humor in my stories is slightly dry. My character has a very sarcastic sense of humor in my novel and some people who I've given small snips to read don't really like how it was set up. I intend to keep the story the way it is but I was wondering if I did would it hurt the chances of it becoming a novel someone would read? And when I ask if it would be a novel someone would read I mean a person who doesn't exactly have a sense of humor that resembles the characters.