Since you all know what that means by now (hopefully) I'm just going to jump right in!
Harpley asked: I've read your book, 'Why Rodney Never Should've Gone to the NAPIC', and I was often grinning to myself as I read the humor you injected into it. I realize that most of the funny lines and narrations simply come from Kit being Kit, but do you have any advice on how to write humor into a story like that?
This is actually one of the hardest questions I’ve ever been asked. And, it seems to get asked quite frequently. So, I’m going to go ahead and try my best to answer it.
First of all, as you said, a lot of it comes from Kit being Kit. That’s the biggest thing- never try to force humor. Readers can smell forced humor a mile off and then it’s no longer funny. But, as a reader yourself, I’m sure you know that.
That said, there are three key words that come to mine when I think of Kit’s voice: Exaggeration, Understatement, and Sarcasm. You know what I mean, right?
Let’s start with exaggeration: Remember that scene at the beginning of the book where she sees Oliver O’Rourke for the first time and goes nuts? She crushes on him majorly to the point of exaggeration. I meant to do that because I wanted the scene to be funny rather than just girl crushing on boy. Girl crushing on boy gets eyerolls. Girl crushing on boy to the extent that it’s hilarious gets rave reviews about that chapter (okay, maybe not rave reviews, but I have been told my several people how funny it is). There’s other times too, like when she’s in the closet and she says, “That’s my worst fear, you know, death by darkness.” She’s freaking out so much that while it’s realistic, it’s also ridiculous. So, realism to the point of exaggeration.
That said, Kit also has this great habit of understating things. When she’s not freaking out about how serious something is, she’s… well… not freaking out about how serious something is. This is like in the opening chapter, when she’s complaining how she’s in trouble at school because her teachers never believe her when she tells them she was kidnapped. It’s like in that same chapter when she goes on to talk about how not a big deal it is. In the second book there’s a scene where she walks into a bookstore and there’s a man with a gun. Kit’s thoughts? She’s upset that she skipped breakfast and it doesn’t look like she’ll be home in time for lunch. It’s when she’s so apathetic, it’s funny.
And then, sarcasm. Which I don’t even really know how to explain. That’s something that Kit just does. And it’s funny XD
Basically, my advice is to look at your story and see where you can add some of these techniques. Can you exaggerate here? Or, would understatement be better? Or, would sarcasm fit into this spot? But, above all else, make sure that the humor stems out of something natural. Kit is an exaggerator. If you have a character who never exaggerates, making them exaggerate to be funny all of a sudden won’t work. Kit’s crushing on Oliver works because that’s what girls do. Maybe not to that extent, but it’s definitely a fact that our minds can work that way. And, the scene I mentioned above at the bookstore is only natural because Kit’s used to guns being waved in her face and while she’s mildly concerned about it, she’s also more concerned about food. Always. I don’t think there is a priority higher on Kit’s list than food.
So, those are just a few basic tips on how Kit Parker’s humor works. There are obviously a lot of other ways to make people laugh and I would recommend looking in-depth at the things you find funny, breaking them down to see how they work and why. But, above all else, make sure it stems out of something natural. If you keep that in mind, you’ll be well on your way to writing scenes that have people in stitches.
Lindsay Marie asked: If you could design your own house... and had enough money to buy all the books you wanted... how would you incorporate books/bookshelves into the design?
I had way too much fun with this one, I’m not going to lie (that would be bad on any occasion, but especially since this is Candor Fridays and I’ve sworn to be honest…)
Anyway, after I received your email, I did a bit of searching online and found some awesome pictures that I’m going to post below and then give commentary on.
First, I should explain that books are a major part of my life; I don’t think people really realize how major. They are a happy place for me, and buying books is my way of splurging. Whether it’s online buying favorites or at a bookstore/ sale. I’m already bursting at the seams as it is, so asking what I would do if I had the money to design my own home and buy all the books I want is dangerous…
And, of course, the first thing that comes to mind when I think of that is this:
Yup, that’s right. Belle’s library from Beauty and the Beast. I can honestly say it has been my dream ever since I first watched that movie to have a library like that (and to marry a guy who would give me a library like that, but that’s beside the point… :P) It is the most gorgeous thing ever. *nodnod*
All right, I’ll stop drooling now and move onto the next picture…
It needs a railing along the side (seriously, aren’t people afraid of falling off or something!?) but, isn’t this such a great idea? It would be really great for a finished basement/ school room thing especially, where you could put all the school books and other school stuff. Plus, it’s just such a great use of space.
This is another drool-worthy use of space. I mean really, look at it. Do I even need to give commentary on this? Because I’m pretty sure it speaks for itself.
This is another great idea for an attic. I seriously need this. Now. Except, that I would put bookshelves all the way around where there weren’t windows. Because who needs wall space when you could use the space for bookshelves? *drools*
I think this is my favorite. A secret passage and a bookshelf combined. Is there any better combination? I didn’t think so.
Is that not the coolest looking office ever? Not sure it’s really practical, but I still love it!
Basically, I’m going to have bookshelves everywhere. And I mean everywhere. If the space can be used for a bookshelf, it will be. Because having a place to keep all my books is at the top of my priority list and I have/want way too many books to do anything else…
And that’s it, folks! Another Candor Fridays week! Make sure to send in your questions for next week and remember that I’ll be announcing the giveaway winner the week following (the 15th)
And, until then, I’ll hopefully see you on Monday! :D