#MondayBlog Humor in Suspense

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Do you know someone who’s serious all the time?

You know the type you tell a joke or a funny story then they feel compelled to break it down, analyze it and explain the rationale?

Yeah, those people.

Author E. B. White once said, “Humor can be dissected as a frog can, but the thing dies in the process and the innards are discouraging to any but the pure scientific mind.”

My older brother was like that from the ages of twenty-five to forty.

Everything was a debate, discussion, or monologue. Even when I believed a conversation was over, he’d come back with more supporting facts or data. It was exhausting being around him.

We had seven other siblings, and when the rest of us were busy with the shenanigans and tomfoolery, big brother was always the ice-cold bucket of water tossed on the fun. We called him “The Pope” and no, we’re not Catholic.

I was a member of the wedding party when he got married at twenty-five (to a woman with a great sense of humor). Then he moved to the east coast, I moved to the west coast, and we met up at our parents’ once a year in the Midwest.

It worked.

I’m not sure what caused it, but something happened as he approached forty which made him dust off the dull and polish up his sense of humor. Suddenly, he found the humor in even the most morose situations.

We all exhaled and sighed in relief. Even our mom and he’s her favorite.

Life is serious.

But life is also funny, and it’s the humor that gets us through the serious, bad times.

Humor diffuses situations and lightens moments, and in those moments we often find clarity.

Humor is different things to different people. One person might dissolve into a fit of laughter over a joke or humorous situation while another might say, “I don’t get it.” The opportunity for humor was there even if it didn’t work for everyone.

It’s the same way with books.

No two people read the same book. We’re all different, so, we approach books with different mindsets. Two people can love the same book but for different reasons. A person can love a book so much they want the entire human race to read it while another can hate it with a passion intense as ten flaming suns. They want to burn the book, bury the ashes, salt the ground, and never speak of it again.

People are funny that way.

But most can agree a book must contain certain things to hold their interest, make them care, and inspire them to read on.

Developed characters with personalities – they don’t have to be liked (it helps) but readers should be on their side.

Conflict – and it should be believable

Pacing – the story cannot drag but readers don’t want to be rushed through scenes either.

A developed storyline or plot – what makes the reader care?

Satisfying conclusion or HEA – aliens are defeated, the world is saved, good guy gets the girl.

For me, there also must be humor.

I’m not referring to laugh-out-loud, thigh-slapping humor, although in some genres like Romantic Comedy, that’s what is expected.

Rhetoric or hyperbole can be used to create humor, or the irony of the current situation can be humorous but it needs to be in the story because it’s real.

The fun-loving, loyal sidekick takes a bullet for the story’s protagonist. During his death scene, he motions for his buddy to lean in close and whispers, “You know I was supposed to be off today, right?”

He still dies, it’s still sad, but it’s not depressing.

Who reads to get depressed?

In the midst of serial crimes, brutal beatings, and missing persons, I will find a way to insert humor.

Because art imitates life.

“Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh.”

George Bernard Shaw

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

Camp NaNo Update #8

Camp NaNo Update #8 banner

Reading time – 1 min, 10 sec.

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Character development—or lack of—can make or break any story.

And just as the protagonist must be fleshed out so does the antagonist.

We may or may not like the antagonist.

They could be truly evil, intent on destroying the very fiber of goodness.

Or their actions could be a defense mechanism in place because of a tortured past or traumatic event.

It doesn’t matter. They’re standing in the way of the protagonist’s HEA or causing them harm, so someone must deal them with.

But shouldn’t we know at least some of what is driving them?

No one wants to destroy good just for the hell of it. I mean… it’s good! Doesn’t everyone like good? What happened to our character to make good bad for them? What was the trauma that built a wall around them? Were they betrayed by some they trusted? Loved?

I addressed some of these things with the villain in Sins of the Mother. I didn’t have the time or opportunity to go too deep with him, but I found out about his history. While I may not understand why he commits the crimes he does, I believe I understand how he got that way.

And I want to save him.

But much like Quasimodo in The Hunchback of Notre Dame and Erik in The Phantom of the Opera, the fate of my antagonist is sealed from birth. While he doesn’t have a physical or facial deformity, his soul is deformed and his mind, fractured. By the time I meet him, he is unredeemable.

I have to let go and allow him to play his part in my protagonist’s journey.

But I don’t have to like it.

 

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved

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Day 8 word count – 16101

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Camp NaNo Update #7

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Camp NaNoWriMo’s week one is done and gone!

How did you do?

I’m happy with where I’ve landed, just still in shock I’m writing suspense. Wasn’t I supposed to be writing romance? Well, that never happened.

Check out the board! I’ve got Act 2:1 completed!

SOTM Outline Acts

Act 2:1 is the most difficult because that’s where all the mystery and unknown elements leave everyone scratching their heads. (Me, included!)

That’s not saying Act 2:2 will be a piece of cake but thank goodness for revisions!

Remember, this began as a piece of flash fiction back in March, And, YES, I know… 41K is not considered flash fiction anywhere in the cosmos. The story kept growing and growing, and when I said, “I don’t want to do this anymore,” the characters grabbed me and said, “Oh, you’re doing it!”

What? Your characters don’t talk to you?

Weird.

Okay! Last Sunday I posted the working cover for Sins of the Mother—this week, the synopsis!

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A serial rapist is terrorizing Marbury, his victims all elderly women over seventy.

With her husband off on a business trip, fifty-three-year-old Sally Bennett is home alone, making plans for their wedding anniversary bash.

That is until the former Army medic has to fill in for a coworker at Angels Assist Care Agency and spend the night with a seventy-year-old client, Graciela Ramirez.

Gary Sievers is seething with rage—fifty years’ worth.

At last free of the monster who kept him imprisoned since birth, Gary sets out into a world he’s seen only through the Internet, allowing his anger to spill free a little at a time.

He’s invisible to the world, his existence known about by only a handful and most of them are long since dead. But his crimes are growing… and making headlines.

Gary wants the life stolen from him, he wants to find the twin brother he never knew existed, and he wants revenge on the woman responsible for it all.

The captive has become the monster looking for his own twisted brand of justice.

©2018 Felicia Denise, All Rights Reserved.

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FYI—I wrote the synopsis about ten days before Camp Nano began and it has since changed but I’m not rewriting it… yet.

Next week, an excerpt!

Have a great week two! Happy writing!

Day 7 word count – 14461

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