First, the new book news:
The latest release from Sharon Dunn!
Another murder mystery for the Bargain Hunters Network–only this time, one of them is a suspect! Ginger and her husband, Earl, are in for a wild ride in Calamity, Nevada, along with the other BHN ladies–college student Kindra, mother-of-four Suzanne, and sassy senior Arleta. They came to town for the Invention Expo and some outlet shopping, but instead they endure lost luggage, broken air conditioning, and a long line of people angry at hotel owner Dustin Clydell. With the Invention Expo and the Squirrel Lovers’ convention both in town, the Wind-Up Hotel has somehow overbooked. Before the night is over, a man has been found dead in a teddy bear costume, the Invention Expo has been canceled, Binky the water-skiing squirrel has gone missing…and the authorities want to talk to one of the BHN ladies! What else could possibly go wrong? Once again, the Bargain Hunters Network swings into sleuth mode to solve the murder–and this time, clear one of their own. Along the way, Ginger discovers something even better than a bargain.
About the Author:
Sharon Dunn is the author of Death of a Garage Sale Newbie, book one in the Bargain Hunters Mysteries, and the Ruby Taylor mystery novels including Sassy Cinderella, which was voted Book of the Year by American Christian Fiction Writers. She earned a BA in television production and a master’s in history Sharon lives in Bozeman, Montana, with her husband of twenty years, three children, two cats, and lots of dust bunnies.
A guest blog by the author, Sharon Dunn
Using Humor in Your Writing
A very scary thing happened to me after my first mystery, Romance Rustlers and Thunderbird Thieves came out--readers wrote me and told me that my book made them laugh. Yikes!! Although I knew the book had humorous undertones, I resisted being tagged as the funny mystery lady because I didn’t know if I could be funny again. My life was not all rim shots and punch lines. Five books later, I’ve become the writer of humorous who-dun-its and no longer fear the funny. I started to pay attention to how I was incorporating humor into my mysteries. Here are a few things you can try with your own writing.
First, play with language--word choice can make all the difference in creating comedic moments in a novel. An ordinary description can make a reader giggle simply by choosing words carefully with originality in mind. A woman who is wearing a low cut dress in a work setting isn’t that funny but when Kristin Billerbeck in What a Girl Wants describes the woman as being “pressurized in a torture chamber of a bra” the ordinary become hilarious. Unique metaphors go a long way in producing a chuckle. In my first Bargain Hunters mystery Death of a Garage Sale Newbie instead of just saying that Ginger’s thoughts raced, I say that her thoughts whirred around like “bananas in a blender.” When it comes to language, don’t choose the first thing that comes to mind, dig deeper. Using words in surprising ways will get at least a smile from readers.
Second, as you write, look for the potential funny moments that rise naturally out of the story. In Anne Tyler’s Back When We Were Grown Ups the main character, Rebecca, has resumed a romance with her college sweetheart who comes to her house bearing a gift. As a writer, Tyler could have simply put chocolates or flowers in the suitor’s arms, the predictable choice. Instead, the suitor brings a plant that is so huge he is not even visible when Rebecca opens the door. The humor happens when throughout the rest of the book, references are made by other characters to the huge mysterious plant that lasts longer than the rekindled romance.
Third, put your character in circumstances that run opposite to who that character is, make them uncomfortable. For example, in Death of a Garage Sale Newbie my main character Ginger is a tightwad with money who is learning to trust God more where finances are concerned. When Ginger is challenged to pay full price for a dress (something she had never done) it requires a whole support team of friends to get her to the check out counter before she has a coronary. In Cow Crimes and the Mustang Menace, my main character Ruby Taylor, a certified klutz, had to work out with the muscular crowd in order to do some investigating. These fish out of water situations tend to produce levity.
I never sit down at my computer and think, “Today I am going to be really hilarious when I write.” In the first place, that puts way too much pressure on me and it would shut down my creativity. Instead, I focus on telling a good story, then I look for chances to get my characters in sticky situations and try to use language that is surprising.
Sharon Dunn is the author of five humorous who-dun-its. Her second book in the Bargain Hunters mysteries, Death of a Six Foot Teddy Bear, was released in January 2008. The second book in her Ruby Taylor series, Sassy Cinderella and the Valiant Vigilante, was voted book of the year by American Christian Fiction Writers. You can read more about Sharon and her books at http://www.sharondunnbooks.com/.
EV: Sharon, thank you so much for guest blogging!
Anyone who leaves a comment on this blog is entered to win a copy of Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear. Get your name in the day-glo orange hunting hat today!
As to the Tag. Jess tagged me for a fun blog that works well today.
The rules are simple.
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. No cheating!
Find page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Tag 5 people.
This works well for today because the closest book to me at the moment is Sharon Dunn's Death of a Six-Foot Teddy Bear. So here goes:
Don said, "We can take you into Vegas, but priority for the rides has to be for people who have a shift to work. I'm the transportation coordinator."
"She's a skinny thing. ..."
If you girls don't want to post this on your blog, please post a reply here so we can see what you're reading.
And, you'll be entered to win a free book. Doesn't get any better than that!