By Diane Dooley
There is a scene in ‘Singing in the Rain,’ one of my all-time favorite movies, called ‘Make ‘Em Laugh.’ Do you remember it? It features the very talented Donald O’Connor doing a slapstick song and dance routine about the importance of making the audience laugh. Although I can appreciate the charm and energy of O’Connor’s performance, the scene doesn’t, I’m afraid make me laugh. This, despite the fact that I know many others find it hilarious. So why don’t I find it funny?
Humor is so very subjective and, if you’re the kind of writer, as I am, who delights in making people laugh, you always have to take this into account and just accept that no matter how hard you try to make ‘em laugh, some people will just not be amused at all. I’ve learned this through experience.
My first published piece was a rewriting of a popular fairytale that I imbued with lashings of violence and dark humor. For every person who found it amusing there would be another who found it too disturbing to be funny. The first novella I had published was intended to be an over-the-top, tongue-in-cheek homage to the old skool pulp novel. For every person who said they grinned like idiots, there were far more who didn’t find it the slightest bit funny.
“Make ‘em laugh,” says Donald O’Connor, but surely he knew how horrendously bloody difficult that can be! People have different kinds of funny bones and even one’s mood at any given time can change one’s perspective. My husband took me to see ‘Bridget Jones’ Diary’ when it first came out. I had giggled throughout the reading of the book, so I thought it would be a sure thing that I’d find the movie equally enjoyable. Nope. I was pregnant with my first child and several days past my due date. Nothing, nothing, NOTHING could have raised a giggle during the last few weeks of that pregnancy. During the lengthy labor my husband put ‘Raising Arizona’ on for me to watch. This film is absolutely guaranteed to make me chortle, but....nope. Nary a smile was cracked.
Ah, humor, you most challenging, subjective and goshdarn difficult of genres. Will I ever master you? My most recent attempt at making ‘em laugh is Mako’s Bounty, a science fiction romance from Decadent Publishing’s extremely diverse 1Night Stand line. When I started to write I knew I wanted it to make more people laugh than not, so I had a good think about the things that makeme laugh that also made lots of other people laugh too. I was trying to broaden the humor and thus increase the appeal to more people. I thought of what particularly amused me in romantic fiction, film and TV. Loretta Chase’s sparkling historical romance, The Duke of Scoundrels, Star Wars’ Han and Leia’s snarky relationship, David and Maddie, from the old TV show, Moonlighting, and the sizzling chemistry underlying their working relationship; these all had one thing in common - wonderful dialogue. That then, was my goal. To portray a relationship between two people who are, in fact, enemies by showing, through humorous banter, how they, quite literally, charm the pants off each other and laugh their way into each others’ hearts.
Did I succeed? Well, you will have to be the judge of that. I’m giving away an e-copy of Mako’s Bounty to a reader of this blog. To enter the giveaway just tell us about something that made you grin, giggle or guffaw. Can’t wait to hear about your funnies! And thanks for reading.
Diane Dooley writes science fiction, romance and horror - sometimes all in the same story. You can find her on Twitter, Facebook and her blog: Writing, Stuff and Nonsense.