I’m delighted to join the blog tour for Monster Max and the Marmalade Ghost, organised by Rachel’s Random Resources, with a guest post by the author, Robin Bennett
Over to you, Robin…
Top Tips for Funny Fiction
Funny February is just around the corner, which is just as well as I think a lot of us need cheering up. It’s handily coinciding with the launch of my latest Monster Max book (‘Monster Max and the Marmalade Ghost’), which is hilarious. Hopefully.
Anyway, I thought I’d write a few tips about humour in books – especially in children’s books.
1. Never let a good joke get in the way of humour
There’s jokes and there’s funny. And funny is definitely better in a book. Having your characters crack jokes, or (worse) taking an old joke and building it into a storyline is hard to make work, it often feels forced. Making them behave or react in amusing ways, or surrounding them with situations that will make them laugh is far, far better than just having a dictionary of one-liners.
2. Try not to plan…
It’s far better to let the humour happen as you write, rather than planning it out in advance. It’s the same as if you’re chatting with friends – having a joke up your sleeve that you showcase at what you hope is the right moment is never as funny as something that occurs to you as you are talking … or writing.
3. …But don’t break the action…
If you think of something funny as you’re typing away sixteen to the dozen, make sure it fits with the action. If it brings it up sharp, it might still be amusing but it will slice through the reader’s rhythm and it’s a fragile thing for younger readers. You’ll risk losing them.
4. …And make sure the humour is in character
Not just the character in the book but the character of the book. Not only does it mean a younger reader knows what to expect (important), it will also ensure that the humour is appropriate. If you know your characters well, you will naturally feel what they are likely to say and do.
5. Never sacrifice a character to humour
Funny is vital, you could say it’s serious business. However, it’s frequently overlooked or not given the importance it deserves in children’s literature, which is increasingly po-faced and theme-based. But very often humour is the only weapon in a child’s arsenal against life: it conquers fear and it comforts.
I think it’s essential.
Thank you, Robin.
Max and Peregrine are volunteering at an old people’s home, when strange things start to happen: one resident is walking on the ceiling; one is riding their wheelchair through walls; and Reggie says his marmalade is haunted (although no one listens). Can Max and his friends work out what’s happening to protect his family and the local community? Things aren’t looking good – the Marmalade Ghost is turning into a gloopy Godzilla, Max falls out with his (joint) best friend, and then, just when it can’t get any worse, someone kidnaps Max’s cat, Frankenstein… will they meet a sticky end?
Time to ‘Protect and Do Good Stuff!’
Monster Max and the Marmalade Ghost is out 3 Feb 2022 – a tale of fantastic phantoms, missing cats and (very) sticky situations!
Purchase Links ~ Firefly Press | Amazon UK | Amazon US
When Robin grew up he thought he wanted to be a cavalry officer until everyone else realised that putting him in charge of a tank was a very bad idea. He then became an assistant gravedigger in London. After that he had a career frantically starting businesses (everything from dog-sitting to cigars, tuition to translation)… until finally settling down to write improbable stories to keep his children from killing each other on long car journeys.