This week RWA/NYC members share their observations
about adding humor to their writing.
LAUGHTER IS THE NEW SEXY
When writing about love things can get…heavy. If you write erotic romance, well then you can add hot to that mix. Romance is supposed to be passionate and intense, making readers flip pages with wild abandon just to see what happens next. So, if intense passion is good, then pouring a never-ending amount of drama and angst to add to the intensity should make your story even better, right? Well, not always. There really can be such a thing as too much of a good thing,
High-conflict and passion are useful tools in a romance novel. They hook and keep your reader's attention. However, if there's never a lull in all the excitement, your story can lack the emotional currency necessary to help your readers fall in love with your characters and keep them from believing in the love your protagonists have for one another.
As someone who writes a good bit of erotic romantic suspense, things can get emotionally and physically heavy quickly in my books. But with all the passion and attitude my characters are throwing back and forth, it can quickly become overkill if I'm not careful. Whenever I find that my characters are doing too much on the page, I think about adding a healthy dose of levity (or in my case flippancy since my characters seem to do sarcasm so well) to the scene to help some of the intensity dissipate.
Now, I know you're probably wondering why I would want to slow things down with laughter when the heat is turning up on the page. Slowing things down when things get really intense is a way of delaying gratification. Pulling back when your characters are obviously ready to rip each other's clothes off can leave your reader breathless, aching for the satisfaction the next passionate high is going to bring.
It may seem counterintuitive, but those few moments of laughter will help elevate the tension between your characters if placed appropriately in the story. Not to mention, infusing humor into your writing, especially during moments of passion and angst takes skill. Being able to pull it off successfully is an opportunity for you to flex your writer's muscle and show your reader a few of your tricks.
I know it may sound weird, laughter and romance, or laughter and sex don't seem to be synonymous on the surface. However, if you dig deeper, the similarities between the two can be closely linked. Think about it. Laughter is fun, exciting, and seductive. It can be light and sweet, or explicit and raunchy. Without difficulty, it wouldn't be much of leap to suggest those descriptors can also be used to describe sex.
In my opinion, it's obvious that just like love and attraction, laughter belongs in a romance novel too. The only thing you have to do is figure out where you want to put it (full disclosure, I really didn't mean that to sound as provocative as it probably did. But you get the point). Keep it sexy!
LaQuette-President of RWA/NYC, is the 2016 Golden Apple Award Author of the year winner. She writes bold & sexy tales for diverse characters who are confident in their right to appear on the page. Represented by Latoya C. Smith of the L. Perkins Agency. Visit her at NovelsbyLaQuette.com LaQuette@NovelsbyLaQuette.com