That’s a very good question, one that really, I have no idea. Okay, well, this is my blog, and I’m blogging about it, so I suppose I do have a few ideas.
Probably my favorite books to read are funny books. Not biographies, or joke books, but stories that lace humor into the plot in a way that feels so natural, and so completely organic, that it’s very real and believable. To the point that I laugh out loud, envisioning myself in that very same scenario.
And isn’t that the point of funny stories? They’re funny to us because for some reason, on some particular level, we can relate to the characters, understand what they’re saying and imagine ourselves in the same scenario.
I like to think the truly funny comes naturally as part of the story. Or rather, from the author’s life. I live a funny life. I do. I have a now 9 year old daughter, and a 3 year old son, and a husband who sometimes thinks he’s a 10 year old boy. I have parents who iron tissue paper and use the car buffer on their Formica countertops. I have a grandmother who periodically cleans out her cabinets and gives me boxes of dishes, food and other things, because she’s sure she’s going to die next week.
I have funny all around me. And I periodically threaten my family with the line “Be careful, you might wind up in a book somewhere.”
They didn’t take that very seriously until Fantasy Girl came out, and there were striking similarities between Lynn’s dad and my own. After reading Mission of Christmas, my mother glanced at me, eyebrow raised, and said “I saw similarities.” I merely shrugged, replying that I used what I had.
And come on, ironing tissue paper? Repainting a Kitchen Aid mixer, then unable to get it to work after putting it back together? How can I not use this stuff? It’s like a comedic gold mine.
So, for me, the funny comes from all around me, my family, my friends, my life in general. I try to see the funny even in the most dire of real situations–and when I say ‘dire’ I mean real life ‘dire’ like blown out tires or bounced checks. I don’t mean the stuff of James Bond movies, where the world will be destroyed if the bomb isn’t stopped in twelve seconds. Because really, who’s in those situations?
Not me. Hope not ever.
But there’s always humor all around us. Even if it’s something silly like giggling at the kid who’s texting while walking down the street, and trips over his sagging jeans. Yes, I actually saw that in real life, not on You Tube.
I say go forth. Laugh at the world around you.
Then go home, put it in your story. You might be surprised what you come up with.
Just warn your family first.