“Colin decided then and there that the female mind was a strange and incomprehensible organ – one which no man should even attempt to understand. There wasn’t a woman alive who could go from point A to B without stopping at C, D, X, and 12 along the way.” ― Julia Quinn, Romancing Mister Bridgerton
Julia Quinn’s books are guaranteed to make me burst out laughing.
One of the funniest writer’s I know, Julia Quinn has written more than a few regency romance novels. Quinn is not a known humorist. In fact, she writes in a genre where people expect dramatic sensuality, not goofy lines and ridiculous scenes. And yet, Quinn writes both.
Humor can be a strong seller. I always buy a Julia Quinn book, even though there are dozens of authors to choose from, because I know that alongside quality reading, she will make me giggle like a schoolgirl. It sells me every time.
Humor can be easy to overlook, and I usually add quirky bits and pieces in my later edited drafts as opposed to my first draft. Usually if I do have any humor (which I also tend to adore) in my first draft, I end up editing it out for the sake of the greater story.
When used correctly, however, humor can accomplish a number of things in your writing.
1. Create a loyal reader fanbase. I know I’m not the only person who loves reading Julia Quinn’s books. Her characters are always getting into rather ridiculous shenanigans, and readers are always excited to find out what will happen.
2. Show & not tell. All writers know this funny little phrase. Humor can be used to create interest in something that would other be mundane to tell your reader. Make your reader think, through a clever twist of words (or omitting, or miscommunication, etc), at what you are telling them. Readers like to think, I promise. It’s why they read.
3. Create character depth. What does your character find funny? Does he like pranks? Do your other characters find pranks absurd? How you put your character in the most uncomfortable position possible then have someone else make a joke at his expense? How does he/she deal with it?
Oh, and in case you were wondering, the book that made me laugh the hardest was To Sir Phillip, With Love. Kudos, Quinn.
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