Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Wicked humor...

It is somewhat strange that I find "The Missionary and the Brute" to have been so fun to write. It is a dark novel with plenty of death, intrigue, dust, death, sex, depravation and more death. Not everyone walks away from this novel. It is filled with wicked twists, horror-filled tableaus (An avocado placed rudely in a gaping neck wound anyone?), and unsympathetic protagonists. Yet there is something light and humorous within as well. Or so I think...

When I first conceived the novel, I saw the twists and misdirections guiding the path - and as a writer the foreshadowing and leading astray are joys to undertake. But as the bodies piled up, and the mood turned more somber for the characters - I nonetheless still felt a lightness in my literary step.

Some of it was planned.

The planned part was by having some of the smaller characters acting as comic relief. I have a married couple from Wisconsin who are both named Dale Johnson. They somewhat look alike - same body build, same hair - and in fact, they both wear identical Rose Bowl Sweatshirts. They were intended for awhile to be more minor than they ended up being. But I liked them and gave them a moment or two of levity.

Even moreso was the character of Raven. She had a specific role to play in the story but I thought her also as a lighter - albeit tragic character. A young goth girl who didn't want to be there, struggling with her self-image and her mother in predictably teenaged ways. But she too had a resonance that went well beyond her comic stylings.

Some of the humor comes from the wit of dialogue. Snappy repartee that flows from characterization. Some sardonic humor laid in to help propel the plot and move things along. Exchanges between Leah and Jadwin in particular - with the easy lilt of romance - seemed appropriate.

There is very little that could be considered inside jokes. I am certainly not above that. When I wrote for Easyriders Magazine, my copy editor was named Bonnie Hufft so whenever I had a burly biker punched in the stomach or knocked breathless, the sound of the air coming out was always "Hufft!" I thought it hilarious. Not sure if she even noticed... But there is none of that here.

In fact, it's not really jokey although I structured chapters almost like jokes.

Mostly it comes from the irony of moments. Which is, I suppose, quite appropriate.

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