Monday, March 19, 2012

That's not a joke . . . Ba-rump-bump!

 Writer-Blogger Voice 

There’s been a subject niggling at my mind for some time now—humor.

In my ongoing search for “voice”— I know I have one, but I’m not all together clear on what it is so I decided this would be the day to research all the different kinds of humor and maybe figure out how that element plays into voice.  
It’s kind of like trying to take a watch apart and put it back together again so you have no left over parts and it still works. Some people are good at this and some of us—not so much.

I know I like banter* and I can be flippant, especially when I am irked.
*For an example of banter in action--go on over to Laird Sapir’s blog post, For Science – A Twilight Review where Mike Shulenberg guests. Check out the comments section where they banter back and forth—pretty funny, if you like that sort of thing, and well, I do. 

I think there’s an element of droll in my humor. Apparently others are struggling with this humor thing as well, because during my research, I came upon the blog, The Ominous Comma (don’t you love that title?) and his struggle with being called droll. 

But I soon moved on to consider facetiousness. Oh yeah, I can be facetious (not meant to be taken seriously or literally, as a facetious remark). That one gets me into trouble in serious situations.  

And, I know I can’t tell jokes. I always blow the punch line no matter how hard I try. I suppose I could be successful with a joke on my blog, since I'd have time to rework it so it doesn’t fall flat, but I’ll just accept that I’m just not a good joke teller.

I’m not the jester type, nor a clown either, so I can eliminate the buffoonery of putting on a red nose for laughs.

Then I happened upon deadpan or dry humor. Hmmm

     -Joking in a matter-of-fact, dry or indirect way. Hmmm

      -Marked by or accomplished with a careful pretense of seriousness or calm detachment; impassive or expressionless. 

I’m feeling this. Over at Donn’s Fragments, he defines dry humor and mentions that one type of British humor is a dry humor. I have British blood in my veins--I must be getting close.

But then, I found another blog on dry humor and they attribute this quote to Mark Twain regarding dry humor: 
        "The humorous story is told gravely; the teller does his best to conceal the fact that he even dimly suspects that there is anything funny about it."

That's not so good if you want people to laugh. Some people don’t get it. I get it, though. I love it. Take Comedy of Errers by Marianee Hansen. She has dry humor and she is very good at it. I always laugh out loud at her posts.

But, if you need another example of up-front, dry humor-one that you can see, check out this video that qualifies. 

So, did I figure out what type of humor plays into my voice—I’m non-committal. I’m still working on it. There are more definitions of humor to go in the next installment. . . 

I'm continuing this series on voice which is preceded by: The Absolutely Most Important Thing a Writer Must Have and Voice And Your Inner Child

You can also check in with Kristen Lamb who will be offering serious advice on voice in her upcoming blogs. Great minds think alike.  See, I started to write that and then a voice told me someone would think I'm bragging, or maybe being sarcastic, but in my head it's more a droll humor in a dry sort of way. Still working on it. . . 

Any thoughts on humor--or maybe a good joke?

An Aside:
I've been tagged by fellow blogger and friend Tami Clayton for a writer's game with fellow bloggers, called The lucky 7 MEME.

The rules to which I must adhere are as follows:
1. Go to page 77 of your current MS/WIP (or page 7 if you haven't gotten to 77, yet)
2. Go to line 7
3. Copy down the next 7 lines, sentences, or paragraphs, and post them as they’re written.
4. Tag 7 authors, and let them know.
My 7 lines: 
When the man at the car closest to me nodded, they got back into their cars and drove down off the mesa on the far side without a word. After that, the whole smuggling scene changed and I no longer viewed my situation as just an exciting way to earn money for college. Some instinct deep within me kicked in--another part that had been silent until now awoke, so that I would never leave myself vulnerable like that again.
Tessa closed her eyes a moment, visualizing this scene. A fleeting image of a samurai warrior intruded. Where had that image come from? It had nothing to do with Jack's novel.
So, now my other fellow authors, you're IT
                (check out their great blogs):


Judythe Morgan said...

Sneaky, putting your Lucky 7 Meme words at the end and tagging me! I'm on it.

btw, I'm enjoying the blogs on voice. Not sure I've found mine yet.

Julie Farrar said...

Wow, I hadn't thought about humor this deeply. Now I have to figure out which is me.

Cora said...

A fellow writer wandering voiceless in the night.

Cora said...

Conundrums of humor-who knew?

Unknown said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Unknown said...

Haha, first time I've heard this writer's game, but what the heck, it's in the spirit of writing and trust. Here's my 7 lines from a WIP in revision (the curse word is deleted):

“The staff gets nervous when it’s racial, they don’t know if it’s just name calling or if every Chicana and Black will get involved once we get off lockdown. Last time they interviewed a bunch of people.”
“What about visiting, will we miss that too?” Belinda voice says from out of her window.
“Lock down means nobody goes nowhere, except to the clinic for emergencies. No visits either. If we’re lucky they’ll do a modified and let half of us go in the dayroom and then the other half later.”
“I overheard Mrs. Shaffer at the desk. She said the gang information officer was coming to the unit after he interviewed Silent and Chantilla in detention,” Belinda says.
“F' that, I don’t need any more problems.” Xochitl says and slammed her window shut.

I'll post the 7 I tagged on Twitter.

Cora said...

Glad you were game to do the writer's challenge. It made me realize I have neglected my WIP too long with all the WANA stuff. I need to make more time for writing.

Patricia Caviglia said...

Just be you. Some people will get your brand of humor, some won't. So what?

Elizabeth said...

I like your blog.


Found you on the Book Blogs Site.


Cora said...

Thanks for you support. That's the truth.

Cora said...

Thanks for popping in and following. Returned the favor.

Cora said...

Thanks for the follow, will be reading your blog in the morning. (I already followed)

Gloria Richard said...

What's not to love about the title to this blog article? That's either a rhetorical question or a poorly worded sentence. Half-caffeinated brain says, "Nothing, it rocks!"

You're doing a dang find job finding your voice, Cora. I love the technique you used with strike-through. You get to say whatever pops into your noggin and then restate. If you were on WordPress I'd say something snort worthy and use html code for a strike-through.

BTW, I tried to do a test of the strike-through here and got a HUGE red error message. "URL contains illegal characters."

I like to think I write with humor. Snark. Things pop into my brain and out my fingers. Sadly, they're unfiltered at times.

However, I force myself not to question my voice at the moment. It's a bit like when I used to bowl. Yes. The past tense is intentional. I was well on my way to breaking 100, when someone pointed out that I released the ball with my right hand and right foot forward. So, I tried to correct it. With abysmal gutter-ball results. I chose then to give up bowling. Bad enough to have everyone looking at my rear. Why double the agony with a record-breaking string of gutter balls?

I'm in your cheering section as you continue your journey for your voice and humor. If I'm wearing one of my pom-poms on my head, ignore me. I embrace the theory that anything can serve as a hat on a bad hair day.

April Plummer said... know, I struggle with humor too, but I usually don't realize I've really used any until the edits. Then I'll come across something and snicker or laugh out loud and think - wait. I wrote that? That's kinda funny! I don't think I'm really a funny person, though. I don't. I mean, occasionally I can banter pretty well with my husband. I can be sarcastic, but that isn't always funny. Sometimes it's the opposite of funny. LOL.

There's this guy I work with who has the driest humor EVER. He hardly ever smiles. Maybe a slight tug at the corners of his mouth. But he's never serious. It took me a little while to get that about him. A man who's never, ever serious but never even smiles.

My husband, on the other hand, is never serious and laughs at himself all the time. LOL. He's like a 12-year old boy in many ways. Seriously. Think 12-year old who's always looking to see his first woman sans clothes, and you've got my husband. LOL. Immature humor. No potty humor though, thank goodness. I'll take immature bedroom humor over potty humor any day. He's also extremely sarcastic. His whole family knows to never take anything he says seriously, pretty much. LOL. But he makes me laugh, which I love.

I love it more when I'm able to make HIM laugh. :)

Very good post!

Cora said...

I appreciate you stopping by. It's nice to have humorous comments in a blog on humor, especially when I'm being cheered on-wow! I re-e-eally understand your comment on 'things pop into my brain and out my fingers...unfiltered.' I have to go back and filter the stuff coming out of my brain or it might not be so funny. You'll understand if you're an air sign (see my astrology/tarot posts) like I am. What flutters around in my mind does not always translate well verbally (without filtering). ha.

Cora said...

Isn't it great when we've said something funny without knowing it and then entertain ourselves with our own humor? Yes, I've snickered a few times at stuff I've written--it's nice when it happens without effort.

Sarcasm--going to touch on that one next time I continue this exploration of humor in voice. Thanks for commenting, April.