GUEST POST: 5 Tips for Writing a Humorous Novel with Karina Fabian

NeetaLyffe_ILeftMyBrainsinSanFrancisco_audio_MEDWith all this talk of horror and mayhem lately, I thought it might be nice to feature an author who not only knows her way around a horror novel, but can also make us DIE laughing.  Get it… DIE laughing?  Ahem… anyway, here today at The Belle, author Karina Fabian is going to be educating us on the art of comedy as featured in her new audiobook release, I Left My Brains in San Francisco.  So without further ado…


I’ve always enjoyed being silly. I fell in love while trading puns with a new friend who is now my husband of nearly 25 years. At work, I’ve been known to put our skeleton in funny places, like the bathroom stall for “private time.” When I was asked to write a zombie story, I got into a silly mood, and the story, “Wokking Dead,” ended up being more an apocalypse of puns than undead. However Neeta Lyffe (say it out loud) was a character of such character that my publisher asked me to writer her in a novel. Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator won awards, and now I’ve written the second, I Left My Brains in San Francisco, which comes out in audiobook this month.

Not everyone can write funny stories, nor does everyone want to. But if you’d like to try to make someone graffaw in a library or snort soda out their nose while reading in a cafe, here are some tips:

  1. Make Yourself Laugh. I mean it. If you don’t enjoy your own jokes, why bother writing them? You should laugh when you read your own work. If it’s not funny to you, how can it be funny to anyone else?
  2. Keep your pacing. Just like a comedian needs to pace his punchline, you need to pace the humor of your story. Be sure you set up the joke but don’t overstate it. Get the punch line in and give the reader a chance to laugh. Hit them with a surprise.
  3. A novel is not a series of jokes. It’s a story. Just like no novel is all dialogue or all long descriptions of the scene, a humorous novel is not all slapstick and comedy. In fact, properly placed seriousness can make the jokes all the better. My funniest novels have serious things happen in them. Sometimes, they are quiet moments to let the characters (and the reader) catch their breaths. Sometimes, they are the tragic consequences of what was a humorous scene. Other times, they are touching moments or intense action. You might say it’s a yin-yang kind of thing, but it adds depth and complexity, which makes a better novel all around.
  4. Don’t force the humor. Sometimes, all the machinations in the world will not let a joke go through in a novel, even when it seemed so funny in your head. Cut it the way you would a bad description or laborious dialogue. Also, be careful that your humor, especially political/social/religious humor, doesn’t cross the line to insult (unless that’s what you’re going for, but then be prepared for it to not be so funny after all.)
  5. Don’t expect everyone to get all your jokes. I’ve had critiquers who did not understand my humor. I’ve had editors try to fix the manuscript by changing punch lines (or punch scenes) to funny pieces they did not get. Even “Neeta Lyffe,” which I thought was a pretty obvious pun, has to be explained sometimes. (And pronounced. It’s like Need-a-Life, not Need a Lift.) Having said that, if too many of your beta readers don’t get the joke, then you should rethink it.

Laughter has been shown to reduce tension, exercise the cardiovascular system, and encourage a more positive outlook. Writing funny stories promotes good health! (Or so I tell myself when I skip the gym to write.) The great thing is, you get to share the benefits with others. So go write funny! And if your funny bone needs a workout, consider I Left My Brains in San Francisco. It’s even in audio, so you can listen to it while you run!


About I Left My Brains in San Francisco

Zombie problem? Call Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator–but not this weekend.

On vacation at an exterminator’s convention, she’s looking to relax, have fun, and enjoy a little romance. Too bad the zombies have a different idea. When they rise from their watery graves to take over the City by the Bay, it looks like it’ll be a working vacation after all.

 Enjoy the thrill of re-kill with Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator.

Excerpt:

Survival Hardware hadn’t seen such a rush of customers since the last Armageddon prediction coincided with Black Friday.

Manager Clint Sanders rubbed his hands with glee. Oh, Marley, if only you hadn’t gotten drunk and decided to go zombie hunting. Was it only last Christmas?

He hurried to Customer Service, crafting an announcement in his mind.  “You want to live!  We want to live!  That’s why you are going to file calmly to the back if you need a suit.”

Yeah.  Sense of urgency, plus that “We’re in this together” crap.

He got to the counter and nodded at Bitsy, who had rung up a chainsaw and a half-crate of bleach.

God bless survivors. Clint continued to the back.  Out of habit, he checked the exit door, even though it was always locked from the outside.  He needed to delete Marley’s old code from it.

He cleared his throat.  “Listen up!  You want to live!  We want to live!”

The exit door clicked.

“That’s impossible!” he declared.  The store fell silent.

“Boss?” Bitsy’s voice ended in a squeak.

“That’s not what I meant!  Security team to customer service!”

He reached under the counter for a shotgun.  Bitsy grabbed the chainsaw.  They had filled them that morning—another example of the excellent service at Survival Hardware.

The door swung open, and the zombiefied remains of his late business partner, Marley, staggered through.

Clint to blasted him with the shotgun.  The impact knocked the Marley out the door.

Clint used the gunsight to scan the parking lot.  “He brought friends!  Call Nine-One-One.  I’m putting this place on shutdown.”

“Screw that!  I’ve been prepping all my life for this!”  With a howl of challenge, Bitsy dashed out the door.  She swung low and decapitated her former boss before moving on.

Thundering footsteps signaled the customers following in her wake.

He gaped at the carnage while Dirk called 9-1-1.  It’d be too late by the time they got there.  All that’d be left was to clean up the zombie parts and get the customers back in to pay.

God bless survivors.

Find I Left My Brains in San Francisco (also available in audio) HERE:

Damnation Books: http://www.damnationbooks.com/book.php?isbn=9781615727643

Amazon: http://amzn.to/Nzm01L (paper) http://amzn.to/OBBmkL (Kindle)

More about it at http://zombiedeathextreme.com


About Karina Fabian:

Winner of the Global eBook Award for Best Horror (Neeta Lyffe, Zombie Exterminator), Karina Fabian’s writing takes quirky karinachainsaw2tales that keep her–and her fans–amused. Zombie exterminators to snarky dragons, things get a little silly in her brain. When she’s not pretending to be an insane psychic or a politically correct corpsicle for a story, she writes product reviews for TopTenReviews.com and takes care of her husband, four kids and two dogs. Mrs. Fabian teaches writing and book marketing seminars online.

Website: http://fabianspace.com, http://zombiedeathextreme.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/karina.fabian

Twitter:  http://twitter.com/#!/KarinaFabian

Google +:  https://plus.google.com/103660024891826015212

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/user/show/10981939-karina-fabian

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NEW RELEASE!! Strange Bedfellows: Dead Sexy

BehindTheRedDoor_72dpi

Click me to buy!

Good afternoon, friends!  I’m so happy to be here pimping my own book for a change.  I know, it doesn’t happen often.  I’ll try not to let it go to my head.  Anyway, you know how I’ve been writing that series for Mocha Memoirs Press, Strange Bedfellows?  Well, I finally managed to finish the third installment!  Cali and sexy vampires Andre and Leo are up to more shenanigans in this one.  There’s a walk through Hell, a zombie speed dating party and evil attack spiders with baby faces.  A new character is also introduced, Seth, a fallen angel that is in desperate need of Cali’s help to save his soul.  It was a total surprise to me when he showed up, but my muse seems to want to be in everything these days (ahem… paging #BenedictCumberbatch).  Anyway, here’s a little excerpt since y’all are my friends…

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“Hello,” she said softly.  Her voice wavered a little but strangely she found that she wasn’t afraid.  Not like before.  Perhaps she was bewitched, but her mind was quiet.  “Who’s there?”  No one spoke, but she could feel the warmth of a body close by.  She knew he was male, she could smell him.  A light scent of leather, cool mint and a light musk permeated the air and Cali couldn’t help but shiver.  She wanted him to come closer, but she was afraid to ask.  She should be frightened.  Panicking that some stranger was watching her, taking in every naked inch of her flesh, but she wasn’t.  She wanted him to look and in fact, could feel herself arching slightly and thrusting her breasts into view.  “Is it you, Necromancer?” she hissed.  “Standing there in the dark, wanting me but afraid to touch?  I can smell you, you know.  The scent of your desire is pungent, Sir.”  Cali inhaled deeply, a seductive smile crossing her ruby lips as she took in the masculine aroma.  She shuddered, her body responding almost involuntarily.  He hadn’t even touched her and already she could feel the dewy pearls of wetness forming at her center.  “Has it been so long? So long since you felt the touch of a warm, living body that hasn’t been poisoned by your obsession?”

Her visitor still did not speak, but she could feel him coming closer.  The bed bounced lightly as he sat down beside her, still just staring.  She could hear him breathe, slow and even, trying to hide any note of his own arousal, but it was too practiced.  Cali grinned, knowing that she was having some effect.  The stranger reached down, his arm lightly touching hers as he leaned forward.  This time Cali did gasp, as the sound she heard at first was unrecognizable.  Then it dawned on her that there was water being poured from some vessel into a bowl.  A heavy, liquid sound that was just beside her ear.  She would have expected it to be cold, but she could feel some kind of warmth emanating from whatever basin the liquid was being poured into.  The pouring ended in a slow dripping and the basin was brought across and laid by her side on the bed.  She could hear it sloshing around and she tried not to move.  If she spilled the contents, her strange host might be angry and in her current predicament, that could be exceptionally bad.

The light scent of lavender and cherry bark wafted through the room on a still breeze.  Slow dripping, warm water over hot flesh.  Cali gasped as the drops hit one by one across her chest.  Almost deliberately they beaded just over the curve of each breast and then slid down lazily to heavenly valleys below her sternum.  A single bead alighted on the rose point of each nipple.  They hardened immediately, as if reaching out for the source of the wet heat.  Cali wanted to moan, but she bit down on her lip hard enough to bring blood, afraid that if she made a sound that this delicious sensation would end.  Whoever was with her had perfect control and knew just how high to place the drops so that the warm, scented liquid kissed each erogenous zone as he continued this gradual, sweet Chinese water torture.  A dotted path led the way down the curve of her belly to the subtle dip of her navel.  Her captor dribbled more of the warm water into the tiny cup until it spilled over and began to gently flow down the slope and into the nest of fine, downy curls that hid her femininity.  This time she gasped. She couldn’t help it.  She pulled at her bonds, lost in the delayed pleasure and frantic desire.  “Touch me,” she rasped, but still he did not speak.  Only the sound of the basin being moved aside would answer her command.

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Wasn’t that just hotter than summer in Calcutta?  Yeah, I thought so too.  So now, here’s the good news— if you haven’t read the first two stories, you can get them separately for #99cents on Kindle until July 20th.  BUT, to get all three stories, including the newest installment, “Dead Sexy,” you can get all three collected for just $4.99!  The collection is also available in #paperback for those of you that want something to take on the beach.  Don’t forget to read, review, tweet and share with your friends!  That’s right… pimp it!!

Here’s that link again…  http://www.amazon.com/Strange-Bedfellows-Behind-Red-Door/dp/1500407895/ref=la_B009QU3UD4_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405618183&sr=1-2

Desolation Blog Tour: Top Ten Zombie Movies

Desolation 800 Cover reveal and PromotionalHey there boys n’ ghouls!  As you know, I really like hosting up and coming authors on my blog.  I like it so much that as of late– it’s all I’ve been doing.  But I digress.  More next week on THAT front.  BUT… I would like to introduce you all to the brand new book by author Travis Simmons, Desolation.  Now, I know you all think that all I ever feature on here is romance.  NOT TRUE!!  I’m a big fan of horror and Desolation is the badass zombie book you’ve been waiting for.  And as a budding expert on the subject of all things undead, I decided to let Travis give us the rundown of his top ten favorite zombie movies…. get your Netflix ready!!!

BTW… don’t forget to click on the book cover above.  It will zoom you over to the Rafflecopter website where I hear Travis is giving away a Kindle Fire!!  So all you folks in the US, get over there and ENTER!!!

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Honestly, I don’t know if I have even seen ten zombie movies! That is what makes it so strange for me to write zombie fiction, because I don’t know a lot of the popular culture surrounding them. I do know that I have a huge fear of being eaten alive by anything. I seriously have nightmares of being ingested by a giant snake, so maybe that is why I am obsessed with zombies, some kind of morbid curiosity.

Anyway, without any further stalling, here is the list!

 

1.      The Walking Dead

a.       (I know, not a movie) Who am I kidding? This is an amazing show, and really inspired me to write DESOLATION. The show captures so much, it’s hard to even explain. The one thing I think it does amazingly well is portray the reality of how people would react during a zombie infestation. It is so real in more ways than makeup. These actors really act like they are in a zombie apocalypse (except for when they walk off on their own without a gun, I mean who does that?). The main issue I had (and I haven’t seen season 3) is there is no necromancers. I think necromancers fit really well in the lore of zombies, and so I had to write DESOLATION.

2.      Shaun of the Dead

a.       This made me laugh so hard. If I didn’t off myself when the zombies came, I really think this could be my group of friends and I. The scene when they are throwing records at the zombies was priceless.

3.      Zombieland

a.      Another really good movie. I love watching movies (or home videos) where someone gets conked in the head, so the scene where he hits the zombie in the head with the car door had me laughing so hard my friends had to pause the movie so we wouldn’t miss the next scene.

4.      28 Days Later

a.       This was a good movie, but it didn’t scare me the way Walking Dead Season 1 did. The idea of “the rage” was a really good twist, and made the zombies creepy as hell.

5.      Night of the Living Dead

a.       Though I can barely remember it, I know as a child the idea really scared me.

6.      Army of Darkness

a.       I didn’t realize this was a zombie movie, but Wikipedia says it is, and I am so very happy that I can add this to the list. This movie is so funny, I love every minute of it and the main character is just so charismatic and goofy you can’t help but love him, right?

7.      Serpent in the Rainbow

a.       I did enjoy this movie, up until the end when it became so outrageously unbelievable. I really want to read the book it was based on. The idea of a drug people can use to make others appear dead, and then rise days later is so compelling that it makes you wonder what else is out there, what else are we able to do?

So I think that is all the zombie movies I have seen. I even went through a Wikipedia list looking to see if there were others. Unfortunately, I have never seen Silent Hill (is that a zombie movie?) and none of the Resident Evil movies either, though I hear they are superb.

But it makes me wonder, what are some of your favorite zombie movies? I would love to her about them and why they creep you out!

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About the Author

Travis is the author of The Bonds of Blood, the first book in his epic fantasy series The Revenant Wyrd Saga. He has also written a young adult novel called A Lament of Moonlight which is book one of his pre-apocalypse series The Harbingers of Light. He is currently seeking publication for the first book of a third series, a zombie novel called Desolation. When he isn’t writing he is helping his family and trying to live a normal, under the radar life. His interests lie in cooking, gardening, green living, and human rights advocacy. He is a huge supporter of the Trevor Project and all agencies that seek to preserve natural resources and protect pets from abuse.

Contact Details

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Desolation

by author Travis Simmons

Asher St Paul thought it was just a typical zombie apocalypse like in the movies, until the necromancers crawled out of the woodwork.

Since the undead have chased the living into hiding, the necromancers are able to roam freely in a new America of their making. Asher is seeking safe harbor. The need for safety is what drove him from his home in Philadelphia Pennsylvania before it was shelled. He has searched from quarantine to quarantine, always finding them overrun with zombies until he hears of The Refuge, a military compound in Binghamton New York. With his family and lover lain to rest by his own hand, he has nothing left to lose and gives everything he has to reach the safe haven. But questions arise when he reaches The Refuge, mainly, how has he been able to sustain multiple zombie bites and not change? He thinks he has found safety in the military compound turned quarantine, but he was wrong. Even now there is a necromancer trying to make The Refuge their kingdom of the dead.

Click me to return to the Blog Tour Portal!

Click me to return to the Blog Tour Portal!

Now…. off with you.  Go buy the book!  Enter the contest!  And visit the other stops on the tour!!!