Got a funny bone, C'Spacers?
The experience contained many firsts for me.
* First mash-up
* First humor piece
* First introduction of my first serialized character, Maynard Soloman
Yep, good ol' Maynard Soloman. He lives and works out of an RV. He used to work as a police investigator, but got pegged into early retirement for health reasons. Since the force wouldn't pay off his medical bills, he opened his own private investigation service.
These things make him cranky. And a lot of fun to write. I embraced the side of me (more like the larger portion of me) that is a crusty old man. Throw in some tragedy plus time, and you've got humor.
It's easier to write humor when you don't try. There were no set-ups for the "funny" parts. They just arrived as an extension of Maynard Soloman's character. Time has passed him by, but he refuses to budge. His pride won't let him admit this. He also can't accept the fact he's way past his prime.
If this sounds more tragic than funny, you're right. But if you let it sit, tragedy becomes humor. The fact the reader is so distanced from the reality of Maynard's situation provides the perfect curing solution.
What about you? Ever try to write crime humor?
I agree, Benjamin. If you're trying, it's not going to be funny. A couple of my Diana Andrews stories ended up with elements of humor. She's a prostitute, and guys on the prowl for sex are often pretty funny. The only flat-out comedy I have is called Enlarge Your Penis. It's over at A Twist of Noir.
Benjamin, I take my cue from the master, Shakespeare. I think tragedy and comedy blend beautifully, but I've always feared that I could not write comedy or humor because I lack a sense of humor, or have simply accepted that I do.
I like what you say, that you've embraced your funny side, or the crusty old man side of you. You did that, and you found Maynard Soloman. I'm really impressed with that. I especially like that Maynard is doing PI work because he needs the money for medical bills. I got a great chuckle just reading that.
I started a humorous crime novel. I plan to write more. I am a very humorous person by nature so I love to laugh and make folks laugh. People always said I should be a comedian. It's hard to write anything humorous if you aren't funny. You gotta have some sense of humor of course or else you won't know what's funny. LOL! You gotta have timing and everything has to come together. Writing humor is fun but it is not always easy.
I really identify with this post. Last night I finished reading "The Fitz Hugh Ludlow Brigade" one of 5 crime novels I put aside quite a way back after getting sick of endless submissions. I really enjoyed it. It was as if someone else had written it and I literally could not remember what was coming next. There was quite a bit of humor, which seemed as natural a part of the story as the violence and sex scenes, which I don't recall ever planning out. So yes, I agree if you don't try humor comes easier. I don't remember trying and it actually even made a cynic like me laugh. Jed Power
I love funny crime stories. And as far as I'm concerned, the "master" isn't that Shakespeare guy, it's Donald Westlake.
I think film is more invested in this than books, actually. I've mentioned "Crime Spree" on this site, and you add in Guy Ritchie, Tarantino, in addition to all the one-offs (why are Bruce Willis and John Cusack in so many of them?) and it's quite a body of work.
I love this stuff, but don't aspire to write it. I'm not funny, I'm bitchy.
I think my real favorite, though, is Thomas Perry. I got started on those Jane Whitefield books, but eventually read all his stuff. Then I mixed up a library search and ran into Ross Thomas (kind of a mashup of Perry and MacDonald) and whoa, that guy is amazing. He's kind of like Elmore Leonard with more intellect and cyncism.
All LA writers except Westlake, I notice.
Check out his earlier work like Island and Big Fish and Metzger's Dog.
His usual setup is a man-woman team in which the woman is far from being a second banana. I just love Emma in Island and Rachel Altmayer in Big Fish. I wish I was married to Altmeyer.
One thing readers of Whitefield might not expect is that the early books are quite funny. Perry has a great sense of humor (he wrote a lot of the Simon and Simon episodes) when not focused into the somewhat grim awareness of Jane Whitefield.
I almost forgot about The Butcher's Boy! Unreal. His first novel, and won an Edgar.
This one is more like the Whitefield ones in that there isn't any man partner. It's a female treasury agent pursuing a serial killer whose name we never learn.
There were sequels recently, which focus on the killer and we do learn his name. Or names.
Just bought it, hopefully it fits on my to-read list somewhere near the top.
I actually decided to do humorous crime, thriller, etc, fiction because all my favourite genres tend to take themselves far too seriously. I can't think of too many normal situations that don't contain humour. In fact I remember my Grandad (WW2 vet) commenting that the most accurate media portrayal of the war was a mini-series, Changi, that was a mix of drama and humour. Doctors were asked to rate the most accurate medical series on TV and they voted Scrubs, because of the humour.
Clearly more doctors recommend humour.