Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Serving Sorbet

Yesterday, Lori posted a wonderful blog, “Can Paranormals Be Funny?” By now, I hope you’ve all responded with a resounding, YES! Today, I thought I’d ask the question, “Why write humor?”

There’s so much going on in a paranormal romance, between the internal and external conflicts, world building, character building and plot. Writing humor isn’t easy. Why drive ourselves crazy by adding it?

In some fine restaurants, they serve sorbet. It’s often served between courses to cleanse the pallet before the entrée. That’s how I look at humor in paranormal. It’s a small reprieve between courses.

Years ago I read a contemporary romance. In the first half of the book, the heroine’s sister went insane from childbirth, the baby died and the heroine was sent to prison for the baby’s death. The book was well researched and very accurate. You know what I did? I skipped the first half. It was too dreary, too accurate. Although very well written, it never gave me a chance to catch my breath. I put the book down feeling depressed. The author didn’t serve a sorbet.

Paranormal romance can sometimes be very intense. There are more chances for graphic details. There can be horror and blood and long, yellow fangs that rip into human flesh. When sorbet is served, you can rest assured one of those long, yellow fangs would have a nasty cavity in it. Vampires would be going into bars ordering Bloody Mary’s and you just know, before the end, one of the characters would shriek the phrase, “Have you gone batty?” Ok, I know, I can hear the groans now. I can assure you my humor is a little more high brow.

Another reason I put humor in my paranormal is *drum roll please* I can’t help myself. If I see my heroine cry, I want to make her laugh. If my hero is heartbroken, I want to give him reason to smile. I once tried to write something serious. It was a delightful tale about a woman abused by her father and a man who found his fiancée in bed with his twin brother. Before I made it to the second chapter, the hero was working at the Empire State Building and afraid of heights. The heroine was six-foot-one, wearing three inch heels. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll go back and add in a cross-dressing demon.

Light or dark, high-heat or sweet, quirky to downright frightening, our paranormals are always served to cleanse the pallet. Whether it is in the form of witty dialog, a comedic character or humorous situations, humor is, in my opinion, the best sorbet.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Bring on the cross dressing demon - sounds like fun :)

  3. I whole heartedly agree. Books that keep the tension and high emotion going wear me out. Gotta have a breather here and there . . . and what better way than with a good chuckle or a quick giggle.

  4. This is an awesome analogy! I can't wait to see what our other ladies come up with this week :)

  5. Maggie-I'd love to see that manuscript-you've inspired me with the demon with a cavity idea-just how should it be used for the good of paranormal comedy??? Fun post!-debi

    August 7, 2007 4:59 AM

  6. Oh! Sorbet! I love it. Excellent post, Maggie. Like you, I find humor slips into my writing on its own. Even in my darker stuff. I just can't help it. Be it a situation or a character's dry, sarcastic wit, you will always find it peppered throught my writing.

    Nicely done!
    Sandy :-)
    Sandra Barkevich - Romance Author
    *August 25, 2007 at Sandra's Goings On - Guest Blogger, Betty Hanawa ~ More Than She Wished For

  7. I love the idea of humor being like a scoop of sorbet. Yummm!

  8. I'm with Sandy...I just can't help myself. The humor finds its way in of its own accord:-) BTW, love the idea of a tall heroine in even taller heels (you know how I love shoes)! Great post! Hmm, suddenly I'm craving ice cream.

  9. Great post! And come on! We find humor in our lives every day. Why should our characters be any different, right?