gerald so's post about the sarah connor chronicles being humorless got me to thinking about humor in crime fiction and thrillers. i like it if done well. i don't think i'll ever forget that great line in stephen king's firestarter when the daughter, seeing her dad for the first time in weeks says, "Daddy, you're fat!" i've been thinking of humor a lot lately, because my writing tends to get too dark. i read a ton of crime fiction for international thriller writers a couple of years ago, and very few had even the faintest hint of humor. strange, because mystery and crime fiction writers are some of the funniest people i know. makes me wonder if humor is just too risky. does it make the book seem smaller perhaps? who writes serious thrillers or crime fiction with a touch of humor?

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Someone already mentioned Carl Hiessen and he has to be the funniest writer I have read in a long time. His characters are outrageous with some of the oddest quirks. I have to admit to attempting to write more humor into my current novel. If nothing else I am enjoying it immensely. The humor is more situational rather than dialogue based and as mentioned above, it is not during serious/dark points in the story. Hopefully I am not the only one that will find it amusing, but so far it has felt right for the current story. It is a "fish out of water" theme and that lends itself well to humor. Or maybe I've watched to many sitcoms over the years...
As has been pointed out, humor is in the eye of the beholder. I know, for instance, that if a book is labeled "funny" I probably will not find it all that funny. It's a personal thing, I know.

I really enjoy the humor in the everyday. I mean, people are funny, life is funny. And the darkest, bleakest moments seem to have a humor all their own. Salman Rushdie tickles me incredibly. He has this wonderfully well developed sense of the ridiculous. I can't think of anyone who even comes close.
For me, humor has to match character. If a character isn't funny by nature, he shouldn't force it. The Sarah Connor Chronicles pilot had nothing to vary its dark tone and relentless pace. A little humor, IMO, would have helped me empathize with the characters. Unfortunately they all seemed single-minded and driven, i.e. flat.


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