Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why do I make them laugh?

So it is my turn to blog about UF and funny. I don't feel like being funny at the moment, but it is my turn, so here we go. I will talk mostly about why I write funny, since I can't really speak for the whole UF genre.

My late mother-in-law worked for a funeral home run by the mafia. At least it used to be run by the mafia, before it was somehow cleaned through financial machinations of staggering complexity and taken public. People at the funeral homes greet tragedy every day, because they deal with death.


Death is one of those few things in life that is final. It's the end of all ends. There is no help for it. If you have lousy credit, you can work hard and pull yourself free. If the love of your life never wants to see you again, you can suffer and survive it. Being fired, losing your house, failing at your mission in life, all those things are devastating but they are only waypoints on a journey. Death is forever.

We are not well-equipped to deal with death. Of all living things on this planet, we are possibly the only species able to comprehend the temporary nature of our existence and the inevitable finality of our departure. Against this awful reality we have very few defenses. We "forget" it's there, push it to the back of our minds. We have love. And we have humor. None of it can stave off death, but it can help us come to terms with it.

The funeral home employees can't conveniently "forget" death like most of us. They may or may not be lucky in love, but they've raised the humor defense to the state of the art. They can see funny in just about everything. And their funny is pretty twisted.

As told to me by mother-in-law, who was barely able to contain her giggling:

"Okay this is going to sound really bad. We had a call today, and apparently, this little old lady, she went outside to drop her trash off. Her trashcan was just off her porch. So she drops her bag into it, but the bag is too big. So the old lady is too lazy to walk off the porch and get the bag to fit into the can. She gets a broom and starts pushing the bag into the trashcan, but it just doesn't want to go in. So she loses her patience, gets a hold of a porch post, and starts stomping the trash bag into the can. The can tips over, she falls and dies stomping trash. With her leg still stuck in the can."

Is it a bit sick? Is it a bit funny? Is it both?

To continue on Stacia's previous post: doing sexy and tough and serious is less risky than doing funny. Especially in UF, where the setting often resembles our reality, but where the world is a sharper, darker, more sinister place. Humor in a world like that is often on the sick side and it hits too close to home.

One step to the left and the readers are repulsed, "It's not funny!" It's funny to me.

One step to the right and they are outraged. "You can't make fun of that." Watch me.

The worlds I create are pretty grim and the problems my heroes face are dire, because nobody wants to read how Prince Charming found Princess Wonderful on page 3 and they happily held hands through the rest of the novel. We read because we want to see the characters overcome adversity. In my messed up universe bad things happen to bad people and good people. Life in the fictional world is often unfair. Death strikes frequently and without warning. That's why my characters are like those funeral home employees, madly cackling over the laziness of a woman who couldn't be bothered to walk off the porch to fix her own trash. They laugh because they have to.

My characters use humor as a shield and as their weapon. Sure, sometimes their version of funny is black gallows humor and sometimes it takes form of blistering sarcasm. When you live in an ugly world, you will get a bit of ugly on yourself. But to me as long as my guys are laughing, they are still alive and there is still hope. They ridicule the powerful, they dare the tough, and the make fun of the pompous, and occasionally they make total assess of themselves. It's more fun that way.

So what do I give away? I will give you a choice: you can have a signed copy of Magic Bites now or you can have an ARC of Magic Burns in November. It is up to you.

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Who the HELL Do We Think We Are?

We're a bunch of paranormal romance and urban fantasy authors who occasionally blog, make filthy jokes and prowl the halls of conferences and conventions with switchblades!

Current roster: Mario Acevedo, Michele Bardsley, Sonya Bateman, Dakota Cassidy, Carolyn Crane, Molly Harper, Kevin Hearne, Mark Henry, Stacia Kane, Jackie Kessler, J.F. Lewis, Daniel Marks, Richelle Mead, Kelly Meding, Allison Pang, Nicole Peeler, Kat Richardson, Michelle Rowen, Diana Rowland, Jeanne C. Stein, K.A. Stewart, Anton Strout, and Jaye Wells

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