My critique group laughed at me last night,

thank goodness.  Humor is so dreadfully subjective.  That may be why some of my contest results have been so strange.  I’ve had my share of East German Judges who seem to hate everything, but I’ve also had honest comments from well-meaning readers who simply did not share my sense of humor.

Fortunately the members of my critique group find the cast of my current project, Bathtub Jinn, amusing:  the good-hearted incubus, the smart-mouthed talking cat, and the confused woman who has just learned that she’s not exactly human.

I don’t write jokes, although I hope my dialog is funny, and I don’t write slapstick, although one of my heroines once spent the better part of a chapter trapped in her own corset.  I try to put my characters into situations where their unique worldview and attitude are their best defense.

Humor is not only difficult to write, it’s difficult to write about.  I’ve picked up books on the subject of writing humor from time to time, some helpful, some not.  My all-time favorite is The Comic Toolbox by John Vorhaus, which I just pulled off my bookshelf.  I haven’t read it in quite a while, and I need to read it again.

Vorhaus discusses many aspects of humorous fiction, including the comic premise and a plot skeleton he calls the comic throughline, although its usefulness is certainly not limited to comedy.  But his description of the comic perspective has stayed in the back of my brain, the idea that a character doesn’t see herself as funny.  It’s her view of the world, the way she processes life, that makes the reader chuckle.

I’m definitely going to read The Comic Toolbox again.  And in the meantime, thanks to Carl, Barbara, Charles, and Jim, for laughing.

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