Friday, January 9, 2015

Welcome My Guest Blogger, Author Stephanie Faris


I'm so excited to have author Stephanie Faris as my guest blogger today as part of her January blog tour for her new book, 25 RosesTaking full advantage of her sweet nature and flare with the written word, I asked her to give her insight on humor in writing  (Lord knows I need it). Take it away, Stephanie...

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The Art of Being Funny
By Stephanie Faris

The first time I was told my writing was funny, I was surprised. At the time, my work of fiction was targeted to adults and humor had certainly not been my intention. But I also loved to read and watch romantic comedies. Still, even when I accepted the fact that my writing style has a slight comedic undertone, I recognized that it was hardly laugh-out-loud funny. Just mildly amusing.

The problem with writing comedy is that humor is very, very subjective. What one person finds funny, another finds not funny at all. I’m not sure comedy is something that can be taught, although if you listen to enough consecutive hours of standup comedy, you’re likely to pick up a little of the rhythm.

Some comedians have claimed the key to good comedy is specificity. It isn’t enough to say a character slipped in a puddle. A character should fall in a large, muddy puddle just outside her classroom.  A boy shouldn’t be sitting on the curb eating soda and potato chips. He should be sitting on the curb eating Yoo-hoo and Funyuns.

Subtle but fun.

When I tried to think of a book that had made me laugh, Barbara Parks was the first author who came to mind. Last year I read the entire Junie B. Jones series and was stunned that this series for kids made me laugh out loud so often. The laugh-out-loud moment that sticks out in my mind the most was one that featured Junie being called to the principal’s office for misbehaving. She asked that her mom not be called but the principal (who is referred to only by the name “Principal” in the book) called anyway.

Mother said she wanted to talk to me. Only when I said hi, she didn’t even say hi back.
She said she wasn’t very happy with me, missy. And no more spying means no more spying. And we would talk about this after her work.
Then Mother said she never wants to get any more phone calls from Principal. Did I understand? Did I? Did I?
I looked at Principal.
“Mother says not to call her anymore,” I told him.

Parks was the master of the witty explanations. Junie tells the reader, in her own unique way, what was really going on. She also had hilarious comebacks. Even if you didn’t laugh out loud at some of them, you were smiling along the way.


In the written word, comedy is mostly about voice. Is your voice humorous, light and witty? Or does your voice lend itself to more serious plots? Neither way is right or wrong. You have to find your own natural voice and learn ways to make the most of it. If your voice isn’t inclined toward romantic comedy, don’t force it. If it is, hone it by reading and watching as much comedy as possible.

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Sign up for Stephanie's great giveaway: 
A $25 Amazon gift card
An autographed copy of 25 Roses
 and a chocolate long-stemmed rose.



Mia moves from the shadows to the spotlight when her matchmaking plans go awry in this contemporary M!X novel from the author of 30 Days of No Gossip.


Mia is used to feeling overlooked: her perfect older sister gets all the attention at home, and the popular clique at school are basically experts at ignoring her. So when it’s time for the annual Student Council chocolate rose sale, Mia is prepared to feel even worse. Because even though anyone can buy and send roses to their crushes and friends, the same (popular) people always end up with roses while everyone else gets left out.


Except a twist of fate puts Mia in charge of selling the roses this year—and that means things are going to change. With a little creativity, Mia makes sure the kids who usually leave empty-handed suddenly find themselves the object of someone’s affection. But her scheme starts to unravel when she realizes that being a secret matchmaker isn’t easy—and neither is being in the spotlight. 

Other great books by Stephanie Faris:

25 ROSES (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin M!X, January 2015)
30 DAYS OF NO GOSSIP (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin MIX, Now Available)
PIPER MORGAN GOES TO THE CIRCUS (Simon & Schuster/Aladdin, Release Date TBD)

Visit Stephanie on the web!:

18 comments:

  1. Stephanie is a guest on my blog today as well. I love her ideas and cute writing style. Have a lovely weekend.

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  2. Stephanie...will you accept this rose?

    (To get the joke it helps if you watch ABC's The Bachelor.)

    Hi, dear Stephanie!

    I have seen your smiling face here on The Flipside and in other parts of Bloggerville and always enjoy reading your comments. Today, on Cherdo's blog, I appreciated the opportunity to learn more about you and read your observations about humor in writing, a topic that has always been of interest to me.

    You can't judge a book by its cover, but a compelling title is one of the keys to its success. 25 Roses, 30 Days of No Gossip and Piper Morgan Goes To The Circus are all great titles that pique interest and generate sales. Thank you for writing this guest piece and introducing your latest book 25 Roses. Exploring a theme to which nearly every one of us can relate - underdogs finding their rightful place among members of the elite "in" crowd - 25 Roses will surely be popular with people of all ages. It was a pleasure to meet you, dear Stephanie, and best of luck with 25 Roses!

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    1. Thank you! I Googled 25 Roses this morning and was happy I'd eclipsed "25 roses," which sucks for anyone hoping to order exactly 25 roses anytime soon, but it made me over-the-moon happy. Of course, Google may know who I am and be delivering those results just for me... If not, that's the future of Google searches, I'm sure... As for The Bachelor, I tried to watch it and it just seems so producer-controlled. I watched the last premiere of The Bachelorette and realized why. This woman met a ridiculous # of men, many of whom were a little nutballs, and she didn't say a single bad word about any of them. Any normal woman meeting a roomful of men would already have eliminated half of them based on the first sentence they spoke. (Same with men...half those women would have been packed right up in that limo if it wasn't required they pretend they like all of them and just can't make a decision because they're all...SO...GREAT!!!)

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  3. great tips...comedy can be so tricky without fresh-faced actors / actresses reading witty dialogue. When it's just us painting images in the readers mind, it can be too easy to go over the top, so finding that subtle middle ground is so hard!

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    1. Personally, I don't feel my writing is all that funny--I'd say "lighthearted," maybe? But I don't expect many laugh-out-loud moments like you see in Junie B. Jones. I was watching the first season of Hot in Cleveland recently and realized Betty White MADE that show. She brought so much comedy to every line she read, but then the writers sort of played to that. They gave her the funniest lines because they knew she's the scene-stealer of the show.

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  4. The quotation from Junie B. Jones made me laugh out loud, so you're right. If it makes me laugh, then it's funny (I have virtually no sense of humor, as everyone knows). Best wishes, Stephanie.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. I know! I couldn't believe how many times those books made me laugh, considering I'm old enough to be the grandmother of its target audience!

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  5. This is an amazing guest post! I never knew that about "specifics" so thanks for the tip. I have a secret though. My natural voice is humorous/gore-strewn-macabre. I recently dabbled writing a character in first and she started telling creepy funeral stories with slapstick humor in them. CPs were not amused. (I was!! Who doesn't love a good dead body joke? My CPs, apparently.) Anyhow, I've gone back to third and only stick in humor when it's proper. *sigh*

    BTW, I’ve taken over hosting the Celebrate the Small Things hop, and we have a new linky for 2015. You can drop by my blog and sign up, so hop members can see your link and continue visiting you.
    http://lexacain.blogspot.com/2015/01/celebrate-small-things.html

    Thanks!!

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  6. Stephanie, so glad you posted today on the blog for Cherdo. I have not read your books, but will put them on my list immediately. Thanks!

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  7. You're right; humor is very subjective, but I tend to find something funny in just about any situation. Nice post! Good luck with your newest book!

    Have a lovely weekend, ladies.

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  8. @Cherdo - "...I asked her to give her insight on humor in writing..." Excellent topic. Thank you.

    @Stephanie - I've learned from your participation at anartfulblogger - you can come up with some real one-sentence zingers. Thank you for writing on this topic. Very nice(smile).

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  9. Humour... That's a language I understand ;)

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  10. I enjoyed reading the guest post. Best wishes with your book.

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  11. Comedy is so difficult because of what you said...what one person finds funny, another doesn't. When one thinks of comedy films they can range from slapstick to satire and to the absurd. I laugh at almost everything. Glad you were spotlighted here:)

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  12. Comedy is a great tool, even in a heavyweight thriller, there's nothing wrong with having the odd snappy line to lighten the mood. I have a tendency towards cheesy jokes and puns so I try to rein that in in my writing. :)

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  13. I wish I could write humorous. Love that excerpt!

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Thanks for your personal yada, yada, yada,
Love, Cherdo