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Saturday, January 21, 2012

GUEST GENIE GABRIEL: CHOCOLATE OR HUMOR?

How does drama slide into humor? Or trauma become laughter? 


Through the magic of a writer's mind, the sugary giggles of a chocolate-induced euphoria or, in my case, one of the darkest times of my life.

Let me back up a few years. Most of my stories are dramatic, with characters who must overcome traumatic childhoods or events to earn their happily-ever-afters. Yet even these stories contain touches of humor because, quite frankly, I can only stand so much trauma and drama before I'm ready for some comic relief.

So at a time when I was wallowing in a gutter of whine, I turned once again to writing for therapy. Not the usual drama, but something funny--perhaps with touches of the oddball.

I tossed a family of quirky characters onto my computer screen. Added some misadventures. Came up with a straight man--er, daughter--to react to their follies. Sixty thousand words later, I was out of my funk. I tucked away this manuscript and went back to writing dramatic stories.


Until my publisher asked me to contribute a novella to a Valentine's Day anthology--and how about the story that started with a malfunctioning mail sorter scattering letters and bills all over the lawn? Um, sure.

I dug out the romantic comedy story, cut half the words, strengthened the motivation of the characters, and fixed the places where I hopped through six or eight changes of point of view in one scene. (Did I mention I had drafted this story while I was in the early stages of learning to write?) I got the manuscript cut down, cleaned up, and turned in by the deadline. Mission accomplished! 


I was feeling pretty good about this until the publisher suggested we do another one for St. Patrick's Day. Gah! I wasn't going through any personal trauma, so I wasn't sure I could write anything funny. 

However, once again I sat at my keyboard and wrote. A romantic comedy emerged. 


I wish I could say this made me feel like I could turn on the humor as easily as opening the door to the chocolate store downtown. That's not the case. I still have a long way to go until I feel totally comfortable being funny. 



Eating chocolate is easier.


For a taste of my romantic comedy stories, check out "Chasing Rainbows" in A VALENTINE'S ANTHOLOGY and "St. Batzy & the Time Machine" in A ST. PATRICK'S DAY TALE. Or try a drama-com story, THE LEADER OF THE BAND, a dramatic story with generous sprinklings of humor. You can also find more of my books and a sneak peak of an upcoming series at www.geniegabriel.com .


And if you want a chance to win chocolate, visit the Rogue's Angels Blog and leave a comment to be entered in two drawings--on Valentine's Day/February 14, 2012 and St. Patrick's Day/March 17, 2012--for a gift certificate from Moonstruck Chocolates . 

19 comments:

Paty Jager said...

Genie, You're always fun and have a smile and a giggle so I can imagine you writing humor.

Your stories sound fun. I look forward to visiting with you at the Moonstruck Chocolate event and buying your book.

Judith Ashley said...

Hi Genie,

Yes, eating chocolate is much easier than writing on some days! I agree, a dark, twisted tale does need some comic relief. If a story is too drama/trauma I won't read it (get enough of that in my non-writing life). I do think writing comedy is difficult because different people think different things are funny.

Thanks for guesting with us at Romancing The Genres and joining us on 02/11 for A Moonstruck Romance!

Christine Young said...

I so loved it when you finally wrote about the batty professor.

Tammy Patton said...

Your novellas sound like fun. I'll have to check them out. Humor is tricky. I write serious and lighter stuff, and I love it when someone tells me I made them laugh out loud.

Cindy Sample said...

I prefer to write and read humorous stories, so your novellas sound perfect for me. I also love chocolate and inhale copious amounts when I'm writing. I'm afraid to tally up the candy wrappers because I think they might exceed my page count.

Happy writing!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Good morning, all! And thank you so much to the Genre-istas for having me as a guest!

First of all, an apology for being so late to get to the blog this morning. I'm not a morning person anyway, but last night the wind blew over the gate of my back fence, and my adventuring dog went for an adventure. This is the little white dog who was the role model for St. Batzy in my novella in A ST. PATRICK'S TALE who went for a ride in a time machine.

Yes, my real Batzy came home last night as I knew he would. And I suppose I didn't need to tramp around the neighborhood in the rain and wind looking for him. But I'd rather be doing something than sitting. LOL! After one of my circuits around the block, he was standing by my Jeep, soaking wet and looking pathetic. Did I mention he doesn't really like being out in the rain? He spent the night in time out--after being fed (again), dried off and snuggled up in blankets--but I was so glad to see him I didn't even yell at him. Some version of this incident will probably end up in one of my humorous novellas some day. :)

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Paty! I'm also looking forward to seeing you at the Moonstruck chocolate booksigning--along with Judith and Sarah of the Genre-istas and author Lissa Manley. Thanks for your kind words. Sometimes I don't feel funny at all, but I guess it's all in the perspective. Like last night's adventure wasn't funny at the time, but today I can put a funny spin on it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Judith! Thank you for having me at Romancing the Genres. I'm very much enjoying the posts this month, and loved the link to the song in Friday's post. If any of you haven't listened to "Love of a Lifetime" by Firehouse, I invite you to treat yourself to a listen. Beautiful song! And what a romantic gesture. :)

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Chris! Yes, you can all thank Christine Young for the "Chasing Rainbows" novella in A VALENTINE'S ANTHOLOGY. She nudged me more than once to finish this story. Thank you for that encouragement, Chris!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Tammy! Yes, humor is tricky and, as Judith said, different people think different things are funny. For instance, I'm not much amused by some of the things my nine-year-old grandson thinks are hilarious. But those usually involve topics that aren't considered appropriate except for a bunch of guys watching football. :)

It is a high compliment when you make someone laugh. That's cool!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Cindy, I like the way you think--don't count those candy wrappers! LOL! I'm still convinced there's a link between eating chocolate and writing humor. And if there's not, I don't want to know!

Keep writing! (And ditch those wrappers. :)

Sarah Raplee said...

"So at a time when I was wallowing in a gutter of whine..."

Your post made me laugh more than once today! Thanks, Genie!

In her younger days when we lived in a farm town in Iowa, My German shorthair, Penny, would climb the fence and not come home until she'd fund a manure pile to roll in.

Like you said, it's funny now.:)Glad your puppy's okay.

Thanks for guesting here at RTG.

Nancy Crampton-Brophy said...

You know the old adage. Dying is easy. Comedy is hard. It sounds like you nailed it.

Margaret Tanner said...

Hi Genie,
That was a great blog. It is true than we should never throw out any of our manuscripts no matter how bad they are, because we might be able to use them some day. I have rescued manuscripts from where they have lain in a drawer for years and have revised and sent them off on quite a few occasions.

Regards

Margaret

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Sarah! I had a little terrier mix who loved to roll in sheep droppings. Ew! Every trip to my parents' property involved a bath for her. So nice to be here with all of you!

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Nancy! I had forgotten that adage. Well, hopefully I can come up with some more comedy because my publisher is wanting to put together another anthology. :)

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

Hi, Margaret! Glad I'm not the only one who salvages manuscripts. The first full-length novel I sold was stripped down to the main characters a couple times. But I liked them so well, I continued to rewrite the story. It finally paid off!

Diana Mcc. said...

Nice post! Ah-h-h, chocolate and writing, chocolate and reading, chocolate and well, pretty much anything! Glad your puppy came home.:)

Genene Valleau, writing as Genie Gabriel said...

LOL, Diana! Chocolate and anything--I like that! Thanks for stopping by. And I'm really glad my doggie came home too. :)