I love to laugh. And I really enjoy making other people laugh. There’s something extremely satisfying about the power of humor. I try to sprinkle humorous moments through my suspense novels as a way of taking my foot off the gas for a moment, so the reader can take a breath. I want the reader to have a chuckle and enjoy a smile, but I want them to look out the windshield and see that another hairpin curve is up ahead. I want them to anticipate what’s about to happen.
Humor is as necessary as it is revealing.
It’s necessary because it can serve as a relief valve, allowing us to vent out some of the pressures that build up. It’s revealing in regard to the type and timing of the humor. And, often times, the power of humor is found in its ability to be a bonding agent. Humor is a universal experience. People of all cultures, generations, languages, and backgrounds find enjoyment in a good laugh. Smiles cross almost all barriers.
And humor is a great “set-up” tool. A reader laughs at something and, willingly or not, drops their guard a little. And when they do that, a writer can wring the most out of the next jolt of suspense. It’s like watching people giggle as the roller coaster climbs the steep incline, even though they know that “what goes up, must go down.” (I don’t personally ride roller coasters because when it comes to the contents of my stomach, the rule is reversed: “what goes down will come up.”).
When a reader finishes one of my books, I want them to have no hesitation when they say, “That was a suspense book. What a ride!” And if the humor did its job, the ride was even better than they hoped it would be.
Do you think humor, especially in suspense books, is effective? Do you have any examples of writers who do it well?
SPECIAL NOTE: Please take a moment and drop by my friend’s blog, and enjoy an interview that Bethany Shaw Macmanus did with me. Let Bethany know what you think. I’m honored to be her guest at www.anoiseinthenight.wordpress.com
FRIDAY’S POST: I’m working on my version of a theme song for American Christian Fiction Writers and another “Top 10” list…so be sure to see which one is posted on Friday. 🙂