Laugh It Up – Humor in Fiction
Humor, laughter and levity is a staple, a mainstay, a go-to in our lives, our traditions, our societies, and has been since the beginning of time. We, as human beings need laughter; we crave it, and incorporate it into nearly every aspect of our lives.
Here’s a quick and dirty list: court jesters in medieval times, Reader’s Digest ‘Laughter is the Best Medicine’, the wide variety of comedy channels and sitcoms, and one of my faves, well known international stress management and humor consultant Loretta Laroche.
We’ve also woven humor into our storytelling, which appeals, endears, strikes a balance in the most tragic of tales, and adds credibility and FUN. And, perhaps, most of all, it brings people together by creating a common bond.
I had the distinct blessing of having a father who kept my family in stitches with his irreverent humor. As I muddle my way through life, as a parent, a person, an employee, an entrepreneur, I rely more and more on what I consider that gift, one of many, he gave me – my sense of humor.
As a writer, I delight in finding situations in my own storytelling where I can inject humor. For example, in my romantic suspense story, A Mighty Good Man, I use the overbearing character of ‘Big Nancy’ to provide several humorous moments for both ‘Hank’ and Jack.
Well known author, blogger and writing mentor K.M. Weiland discusses humor in her book, Outlining Your Novel – Map Your Way to Success. She lists it under the section ‘Three Fundamental Elements of Story’ and has this to say: “…it is also essential to balancing the darker elements in serious fictional situations.”
Enough said – here’s another quick and dirty list of my favorite humorous moments in books and movies – what are yours?
Nora Roberts, Sea Swept, Chesapeake Bay, Book 1 – the scene where Cameron and his brothers take Seth to the mall to go shopping. Four men at the mall – need I say more? Love the general chaos that results.
Dean Koontz, The Eyes of Darkness – in this action packed thriller, the scene where Tina and Elliott are sitting outside the diner in their car listening to the crazy sounds coming through the radio, and Tina realizes for the first time it’s her son, communicating with her. She laughs out loud. Love it!
The Terminator, original – when Arnold checks his hair in the mirror in his fleabag motel room before going out to hunt down Sarah and Reese
Titanic – when Rose is going to free Jack from his handcuffs with an axe and he makes her practice first
The Godfather – when Enzo comes to visit Don Corleone in the hospital and finds Michael, and the Don, all alone; he stands guard outside while Michael gets his father moved/hidden in the hospital. Enzo is shaking like a leaf when the ‘bad guys’ drive away, trying to light a cigarette. The moment is genuine and human and provides the perfect moment of comic relief.