Last week the Florida Chapter of Mystery Writers of America held its annual conference. Along with being responsible for on site regitration with my husband, Glenn Nilson, I also was a member of a panel on writing humorous mysteries. I was thrilled to be among some very talented writers: Sandra Balzo, Don Bruns, Tom Turner, and our moderator, Vinnie O’Neill.
I offered the audience a handout with information I received hosting this blog for the past months during which writers answered the question, what’s so funny about murder.
I thought my blog readers might like to see the summary of what I learned from my guest bloggers. So here it is:
What’s So Funny about Murder?
Lesley A. Diehl, author of the Eve Appel Mystery Series
Sleuthfest Panel, February 2015
We need comedy to make sense of an absurd world…Humor spurns ideology. It’s a game of logic that lives in the spaces where logic breaks down.
-Robert Lloyd, Palm Beach Post, Feb 16, 2015
Last October Seven Authors got together and published a boxed set of humorous mysteries entitled What’s So Funny About Murder? At the same time I decided to use the title of the book as a theme for my blog. I invited my six fellow authors and others to weigh in on the question of what’s so funny about murder.
Several themes emerged from considering the juxtaposition of the horror of murder with the fun of humor. My apologies to my fellow writers for my attempt to put their ideas into summary form. The categories or themes are not mutually exclusive. It is clear from guest posts that authors use more than one of these approaches in their work, although one might predominate or be preferred. For more detail, scroll down on this blog to the individual author visits.
To begin, everyone was in agreement. There is nothing funny about murder, but…
Four Themes emerged.
Theme One: A Sassy Protag Helps Keep It funny.
Theme two: Hey! The author wants to have fun, too.
Theme three: Life is just so darn hard and everyone needs a laugh (the feel good approach to murder and humor).
Theme four: To be funny, you just need absurd situations and crazy people.
Here’s what I take away from my guest bloggers:
The best humor emerges organically from the work. It is natural and not forced.
A sassy protagonist seems to provide the best vehicle for getting laughs and setting the stage for a mirthful adventure.
It’s fun to write funny stuff. It might be that the author gets as much a laugh out it as does the reader. If a good laugh makes the world a better place, then humorous mysteries might be in for a resurgence of interest now.
It’s darn hard to write humor.
Not everyone shares the same sense of humor.
I’d like to hear from others who were not guest bloggers. Add your thoughts on this topic in the comments section.
And speaking of funny, coming from Camel Press on April 15, three short stories about Eve Appel and Madeleine Boudreax her friend and co-owner of the consignmetn shop in Sabal bay, rural Florida. You’ll learn a little more about how their friendship developed. To follow in July, book #3 of the Eve Appel Mystery Series, A Sporting Murder. In this one Eve takes aim at those importing exotic animals into the state, and she hits the bulleye with a killer and a bull.