Thursday, October 6, 2016

A Hero with a Sense of Humor


How to Create the Ultimate Leading Man.

With Sherri Shackelford.

When creating a well-rounded hero, never underestimate the power of a sense of humor. A leading man with a sense of humor transforms your storytelling from good to great. Shared humor between the hero and heroine creates intimacy and understanding in your leading characters. 
 In my previous article for Seekerville, I discussed how humor is an emotion, and a good book will tap all of the emotions. If you plunge your reader down an emotional abyss without any comic relief, you’ve failed to give your story dimension. I won’t rehash all the nuts of bolts of that article. Instead, this article specifically targets the hero of your story, and how/why a sense of humor is a vital part of his character. 

Remember Batman vs Superman? Of course, you don’t. No one liked the movie. What did the audience complain about? Not enough humor. Audiences expect humor. They want humor. We’re not talking about slapstick or forcing a laugh, or even telling a joke--real humor is organic to the heart of the characters. 

Humor = Happiness = Pleasure. 

A hero devoted to making a heroine happy is an absolutely swoon-worthy hero. Le sigh.  Well-timed humor can be a sign of caring.  

In my book, Special Delivery Baby, the heroine is having a bad day. The hero is attempting to cajole her from her sour mood, but the heroine is not quite ready to be cajoled: 


“You’re starting to annoy me,” Thomasina said.“Only starting?” Will replied. “I’ll have to try harder.” 

The hero has shown that he’s sensitive to the heroine’s moods. He knows she’s having a tough day, and he’s trying to make her feel better. Being smart and sensitive enough to banter with the heroine during a tough time shows that the hero is invested in understanding the heroine. In turn, your reader will be invested in the outcome of their romance.

Humor Can Show That Your Hero is Vulnerable

Humor is an excellent way to add depth to the alpha male. Maybe your hero isn’t ready to show the heroine his vulnerability, but it’s time for the reader to see his soft underbelly. This dichotomy provides an excellent opportunity for the author to use internal thoughts versus external dialogue. The difference between the internal dialogue of the hero and the external dialogue reveals the secret of the hero’s feelings, and readers adore being let in on a secret. 

In Mary Connealy’s book, Over the Edge, the hero has some revealing internal dialogue during a tense situation: 


A bullet whizzed out the window of the stage and missed him by little more than a foot. Seth drew his six-gun.“Seth Kincaid you get back here and let me shoot you, you low-down skunk.”A woman.A woman who knew his name.A woman who knew his name and wanted to kill him.He’d never had much luck with women.We learn a lot about Seth in that moment. In my book, The Cattleman Meets His Match, the heroine has put herself in danger, and the hero is angry. He has feelings for her, but he doesn’t want to admit the depth of his feelings. Instead of comforting her, he shouts: “If you die, I gotta dig a hole for you!”

Poor John can’t quite bring himself to say, “I care for you, and I’d be brokenhearted if anything happened to you.” 

Later in the book, the heroine uses those same words against the hero, but now he’s in on the joke. Now he knows that she cares for him, but she’s not willing to admit her feelings just yet. A shared laugh unites characters in a positive way—and there’s nothing like a shared anecdote to create intimacy. 

Humor Creates Emotional Safety
Having your hero use humor to put your heroine at ease in a tense situation creates a sense of safety.  

Here’s an example from Keli Gwyn’s book, A Bride Opens Shop in El Dorado, California:


She cocked the hammer, took aim, and fired her first shot.“Oh!” The force caused her to stumble backward.He rushed toward her. "Are you—““I’m fine. The gun flew up farther than I expected, that’s all.”“Has a kick like a mule, doesn’t it?”“Quite.” She groaned. “I didn’t hit anything.”He chuckled. “Not a can, but I think you scared that tree back there."

The heroine is trying something new, and she’s uncertain of herself. The hero’s joke makes it safe for the heroine to fail. If the hero creates a safe space for the heroine to try something new, he can create a safe space for the heroine to fall in love in with him. 

And what’s a romance, after all, but two people falling in love? 

Humor Can Be Incredibly Seductive 

If you don’t believe that humor can be seductive, watch any of the great Cary Grant comedies. He was an incredibly sexy leading man--even when he was wearing a feathered bathrobe—especially while wearing a feathered bathrobe. Laughter releases loads of feel-good endorphins, and feel-good endorphins are excellent fodder for feel-good love scenes. 
Since this is a sweet Christian blog, I’ll keep things nice and clean…Falling in love is basically getting emotionally naked in front of another person. And who wants to get emotionally naked and have someone mock your, um, vulnerability? 

From my book, The Cattleman Meets His Match:


 “I want to court someone,” Moira said.John quirked an eyebrow. “And do I know the gentleman?”“I believe you’re intimately acquainted with him.”“I see. And what sort of help do you need?”“First off, I don’t know where to begin.”John planted his elbow on the top rail of the fence separating them. “You should tell him how handsome he is.”“He’s quite the handsomest man I’ve ever seen.”“And you should compliment his intelligence. Men like to know a woman appreciates them for more than their good looks.”“He’s quite the smartest man I’ve ever met.”’John hitched his other elbow on the fence and rested his chin on his fisted hand. “And humble, too, no doubt.”“He’s extremely modest.”“I’m starting to like this fellow.”“I’ve fallen in love with him.”

The heroine is flirting with the hero, and he’s flirting right back. By this point in the story, they’ve developed their own shorthand, and that shorthand is a sign of intimacy and love. At this point, your readers should be rooting for their happily-ever-after.

Humor Exposes Character

A hero that teases the heroine, but won’t allow any teasing in return, is not a hero. That character is a jerk and a bully. Plain and simple. You can tell a lot about a person by how they take a bit of good-natured teasing. 

In my book, Special Delivery Baby, the hero is a Mr. Darcy-type character. He’s upright and rigid, full of rules and self-discipline. But he’s also comfortable enough to take some ribbing. 


With her mischievous grin firmly in place, Thomasina winked at him. Apprehension snaked up Will’s spine. His instincts were correct once again. Texas Tom meant trouble. She flourished one hand, “For my next trick, I need a volunteer from the audience.” She sidled her horse nearer Will’s vigil and extended her arm, indicating him with a hand encased in a fringed leather glove. “How about you, kind sir? Are you man enough to take on Texas Tom?”

Trust me, our hero does not refuse the challenge. Even before an audience of his peers, he refuses to take himself too seriously. 


Giving your hero a sense of humor is about more than getting a laugh. The author is creating a character with depth and dimensions. Humor allows the hero to show his vulnerability while creating a safe place for the heroine to reveal her vulnerabilities. 
Humor should be more than a sarcastic quip to show how funny/clever/irreverent you hero might be. A sense of humor should be integral to the good character of the hero. Readers these days are smart. They need a reason for your heroine to fall in love with your hero, and it’s up to the author to provide that reason. 

Now it’s your turn. What are some of your favorite heroes with a sense of humor? 


Leave a comment today for your chance to win a copy of A Family for the Holidays or Cowboy Creek Christmas. Sherri is generously offering two copies of each. Four winners to be announced in the next Weekend Edition!
A Family for the Holidays

Her Guardian Groom 

Paid to accompany two orphaned siblings to their grandfather in Nebraska, Lily Winter is dismayed to discover the old man has gone missing. And when the children's inheritance makes them a target, buying protection is Lily's only option. Until a handsome gun-for-hire suggests another solution: marriage. 


Undercover US Marshal Jake Elder can't reveal his true identity without blowing his mission. Nor can he leave the town's pretty new arrival unguarded. But while uncovering a plot against her charges is difficult and risky, falling for Lily is all too easy. Especially once their marriage in name only gives Jake a glimpse of how wonderful Christmas—and their future as a family—could be.


Cowboy Creek Christmas
Mistletoe Bride by Sherri Shackelford 


Pregnant by a man who betrayed her trust, a mail-order marriage is Beatrix Haas's only hope. But when she arrives in Cowboy Creek and learns her intended groom has died, she needs a new daddy for the baby that's coming right away. Blacksmith Colton Werner offers the mother and child the protection of his name, but can their marriage of convenience ever lead to true love?


Sherri Shackelford is an award-winning author of inspirational, Christian romance novels for Harlequin/HarperCollins Publishers. 

A wife and mother of three, Sherri’s hobbies include collecting mismatched socks, discovering new ways to avoid cleaning, and standing in the middle of the room while thinking, “Why did I just come in here?” A reformed pessimist and recent hopeful romantic, Sherri has a passion for writing. She doesn't live on the prairie, but she can see the plains from her house. Her books are fun and fast-paced, with plenty of heart and soul.



189 comments :

  1. Sherri,

    How FUN and so true.

    And definitely on the seductive. My hubs still takes my breath away, no more so than when he cracks me up. He has the BEST sense of humor.

    Great points, including that humor should be infused to add depth to our characters.

    Thanks for being in Seekerville today!
    I'm loving this 9 theme!

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    1. I'm with you! I fell in love with my hubby's sense of humor...as well as his good looks :)

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    2. So right, KC! I remember one of the first things I fell for with my husband was his humor. We always laughed so much on our early dates! And still do. :)

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    3. I agree, KC, my hubby makes me laugh ALL the time, and I swear, I always want to kiss him afterwards!! ;)

      Hugs,
      Julie

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  2. Welcome back, Sherri. Hey I am leaving the embedded comments on. If you want it to go back to the old way, holler.

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    1. Ruthy is in shock... because she's loved embedded/nesting comments forever, but was pretty sure IT WOULD NEVER HAPPEN HERE... Oh my stars, loving this!

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    2. Well since Blogger MADE us have the captcha it's been a pain for guests and commenters to comment multiple times. This allows you to comment several times in one check in. So you can teach an old dog new tricks. Someone will hate it, so we shall see.

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    3. Another round of applause for the embedded comments.

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    4. Here's another vote for yes! I love it. I knew you could do it, TINA. Will this stay or is it just for our birthday month?

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    5. I've never had any problem with the captcha thing, I just ignore it as advised and my comments go right through.

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    6. Yay, for embedded comments!!!! So much easier to reply to each individual person. My vote is to keep it....please?? :-)

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    7. I've been having a hard time with this new format! I can't "create" a new comment, I can only reply! I don't know what I can do to just create a new comment! Anyone have a suggestion? I've tried everything I know how to do!
      Anyway, I love Sherri's books! Don't put me in the drawing for these books as I've already read them - both fantastic! I love all of Sherri's books and she knows it!

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    8. Valri, go down to the very end of the comments and click on "Add a comment". You should be able to create your own there :-)

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  3. Oh I love a hero with a sense of humor and an author who allows their own sense of humor to come through the characters! Especially when it's used to diffuse a tense situation :-) I enjoyed each scenario you touched on here Sherri, and one reason it would make me fall even more in love with the hero....I do so find a man with a sense of humor attractive!

    No need to enter my name for the books! I've read, enjoyed and reviewed "A Family for the Holidays" and am certain I'll be doing the same for "Cowboy Creek Christmas" soon! I certainly loved the banter between Lily & Jake :-)

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    1. Ah, thank you! I had some great help with examples from Keli and Mary C.!

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    2. Oh, yea, Mary knows how to infuse humor in her books!! Sarcastically witty banter gets me every time :-)

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  4. A sense of humor is a must. It adds to the witty banter & to the story.

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    1. Right? And it shows the softer side of the characters... and how it feels good to laugh with someone!

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    2. It really rounds out the characters, doesn't it? And I think humor can make the emotional highs higher and the lows lower = which is great for torturing the reader!

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  5. Sherri, I love the humor you inject into your books... humor sells. Humor bonds. Humor makes us hold that looking glass up and realize it's okay to laugh at things!!!! LOVE THIS!!!!

    And your examples are perfect. Understandable. Crisp. Clear.

    YOU BRAT

    That's all I've got to say about that, darling! :)

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    1. I just <3 you! Humor bonds...that's the truth of it!

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  6. Cake... How about oatmeal cake with broiled icing today? It's a family fave here, and yes, I can eat an entire cake, nibble by nibble, over a 24 hour period. SHAME ON ME.... Icing is coconut, butter, sugar and chopped walnuts or pecans....

    MMMMMMMM........

    I love birthday parties!!!!

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    1. My mom made that cake! I'm having a wonderfully pleasant flashback...

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    2. Ruthy, that sounds delicious! Can you email the recipe?

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    3. Wow...never tasted oatmeal cake...but sounds delish...

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    4. Ruthy, is that recipe at the cafe? And is the oatmeal instead of wheat flour? Sound delish

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    5. Ruthy!!!! Ohhh, I NEED this recipe! :)

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  7. Thank you for your post Sheri. I love humor. I love humor in books. I love humor in movies. I just plain love humor because I love the feelings it stirs in me.

    One of the things that drew me to my husband was his sense of humor. He makes me laugh everyday and that is something very special.

    The first hero that came to my mind is Rhett Butler in "Gone With the Wind", He made me laugh or at least smile more than once.

    I pray everyone will have a wonderful day and find time to laugh a little bit along the way!

    Happy Birthday Seekerville!

    Blessings,
    Cindy W.

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    1. It's so fun to hear how many people were attracted to their husband for his sense of humor! (If only Scarlett had had a bit more of sense of humor ;)

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  8. Good morning Seekerville!

    Sherri, thanks for stopping by and reminding us how important a sense of humor is. I hope you all have a great day!

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    1. Good morning, Jackie! Thanks for stopping by :)

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  9. Welcome, Sherri! I love a character with a great sense of humor. One that comes to mind is Anne from Anne of Green Gables. I loved her! "I know I chatter on far too much... but if you only knew how many things I want to say and don't." How could you not smile at that? This quote makes me think of what Mike Pence thought during the recent debate.

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    1. Laughing at the Mike Pence analogy and agreeing!!!

      I love Anne's humor too. She is so normal!!!!

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    2. I love Anne and have quoted that same line so many times as I don't say even half of what runs through my mind, I think that's probably a good thing ;)

      On the subject of Mike Pence, yes, he is a class act, I wish he was running. Where's the like button?!

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    3. There's a reason Anne is so beloved! (Is anyone going to watch the remake??!!)

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    4. Well...Mike certainly did well in his first *presidential* debate. You can definitely tell he has plans...

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    5. I am in complete agreement with Anne of Green Gables. I've gotten over the years so I think through almost every word I say. All sort of stuff, some that could just be plain annoying, is bottled up inside me.
      Oh, I can think of some things. But words just want to FLY and if I just hold it a moment, for one thing, I realize I know the answer to the question I was going to ask.

      I think that's why I write. I can just say ANYTHING there. And then...delete it with no harm done!

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    6. I'm on the fence about watching the remake, Sherri. Often I'm left disappointed. Do you plan to watch?
      Oh yes, Pence obviously has plans. :)

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    7. I will watch the remake... I remember how enchanted I was with the Megan Follows/Colleen Dewhurst version! Even if it's not as good, it will be so fun to see a new generation of kids fall in love with Anne's escapades!

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    8. I'm torn about watching the remake. I love the Kevin Sullivan/Megan Follows version, and I want to give the new one a chance, but I'm wondering about Martin Sheen as Matthew. I can't see that at all. I do love Gilbert's sense of humor.

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  10. Sherri, this is good, and something I'm going to think about for my WIP.
    K. Bailey

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  11. Good morning, Sherri! I love a hero with a sense of humor -- it CAN be tricky to get humor down on the page that all readers "get." Thanks for the great examples!

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    1. For me, sometimes the humor feels forced. That's why books like Mary Connealy's work so well - the humor is organic to the characters.

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    2. I'm just so naturally sarcastic (HEY! we could call it witty! Let's do that!)

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    3. I think the success of humor sometimes depends on the personality of the author. Mary's book humor is organic with Mary! :) I like to claim she has added about 5-10 years to my life by making me laugh every day. So thank you, Mary!

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    4. I'll call it something, all right... Connealy. :)

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  12. Hello! Sherri, love this post. Humor is crucial in any story, especially a story that I will fall in love with. Thinking back, many if not all of my favorite books have that element. I love the examples you gave too, since most of them I've yet to read. (Adding to my TBR list).

    Besides fictional, humor also is important in real life. I think well timed humor can diffuse tense situations or create a connection. Past the serious facade, the moment I see humor in my Mr. Darcy, I knew he was someone special. *wink wink.

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    1. I could not get through work without a sense of humor! Or marriage, for that matter :) I recently returned to a job, and the first thing people said is: I missed how you made me laugh. That's a big compliment for me! I brought a little joy <3

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  13. SHERRI, welcome back! Thanks for the great examples of interjecting humor into our stories, especially into our heroes. I often use kids to add humor and show the vulnerable side of the hero.

    Janet

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    1. Kids are wonderful for adding some humor and showing the characters softer side, aren't they??!! Great reminder.

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    2. Kids and pets offer fun opportunities for humor. I sometimes forget pets. Too many years with allergies. My grand dogs are vying for a spot in a book. 😃

      Janet

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    3. Janet, using kids to inject humor is such fun. There were some moments between the hero of A Bride Opens Shop and the heroine's precocious nine-year-old daughter that cracked me up. There were times I felt like young Tildy took over my job as writer. =)

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  14. Thank you to Tina and the crew here at Seekerville for making the article look great! There's a lot of formatting and extra work that go into putting up an article, and I'm incredibly grateful. (I didn't do a very good job of providing links, but they bailed me out!)

    I also didn't do a very good job of honoring the "9th" Birthday of Seekerville with 9 examples - I'm afraid the article was getting toooooo long! So I'll just say, "Happy 9th Birthday, Seekerville!" Bring me back for '10' and I promise to do better :)

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    1. The post is great as is! Thanks, Sherri.

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    2. I added some accoutrements to an already terrific post! Thanks for being here.

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    3. Tina has a way of making guests and their posts look good. She's awesome!

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    4. Oh let's go count. It's sort of CLOSE to nine. So............let's DON'T go count.

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    5. Something plus the post equals NINE... Close enough for me, darling!!!!

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  15. Sherri,
    What a fun post! Nothing is better than humor to lighten the atmosphere, make someone feel comfortable, and turn a bad moment/day, into a good one!
    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. <3 And what better way to show someone you care, than to make them smile?!

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  16. Yes, yes, yes! Laughter is good medicine and I need my meds everyday ;) To find it in a great story is such a bonus.

    I LOVED the witty banter and sarcasm in Special Delivery Baby between Will and Thomasina, my favorite LI historical. As I wrote my review I relived the story and it had me laughing all over again. So funny, so good!

    I've read A Family for the Holidays, enjoyed it and was happy to review it. Congratulations on another winner Sherri!

    I'd love to be entered for Cowboy Creek Christmas to find out what's happening next in town. With Christmas and humor involved, what's not to love?

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    1. Thank you! I had such fun writing Tomasina and Will. Those two took over their own stories! It's the best feeling for a writer when the characters take over and surprise you :)

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  17. Love this, SHERRI! Humor is an important part of what I write, and read. And my list of favorite people in the world include those who make me laugh. Once, when I had a flat tire and was a bit outta sorts, a humorous friend came to my rescue. He looked at the tire and said, "Oh, that's not so bad. It's only flat on one side." By the time I stopped laughing my mood was much improved. My husband and children make me laugh every day - truly blessed. Thank you for such a fun post!

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    1. I can tell by your bio that your stories are filled with humor!

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  18. Humor is great - when its just a little. Too much turns me off pretty quickly. Tina does humor perfectly! Great post Sherri. I really want to read both books, but especially A Family for the Holidays after reading Kav's review.

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    1. Tina is fabulous! And you tell just by talking with her that her books are going to be poignant and funny and everything we love about good stories!!

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    2. Cindy, I, too, love Tina's humor! She knows how to do just the right amount.

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    3. I love, love, love Tina's stories, too... and her independent contemps have even more of her signature humor in them. SO FUNNY!!!!! And relevant to the times/situation.

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    4. I just read Mending the Doctor's Heart, and I did like Ben's sense of humor, especially when learning to grocery shop in Paradise.

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  19. Sherri,

    Count me in as a humor lovin' gal. I adore a few giggles in fiction because so many times, fiction mirrors real life. With the right balance of humor/drama that can make the difference between ho-hum versus a page turner.

    Thanks for all the great examples!

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    1. Exactly! We're all talking about how much we enjoy the humor in the Seekerville writers - and how many of us fell in love with our husbands through their senses of humor!

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  20. I love a bit of humor anyday. And these books look awesome! Please enter me.

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    1. Thank you for stopping by! Let's all have a fun day in honor of our heroes with humor :)

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    2. I love seeing your new last name, Abigail. I'm sure you're enjoying your newlywed days immensely.

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  21. Great post! Laughed out loud at this part: "I think you scared that tree back there." And I loved Texas Tom! Gonna have to check out The Cattleman Meets His Match. I haven't read that one, but that excerpt tells me I have to! I have read Cowboy Creek Christmas and it is awesome! Going now to make sure I have humor in my works in progress. Chuckling along with the hero and heroine makes a story come alive, it pulls the reader in, makes them a part of what is going on.

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    1. Wasn't Keli's excerpt great?! Exactly the right way to add humor and make you fall in love with her hero :) (The Cattleman is my personal favorite! That story was super fun to write.)

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    2. Yes! And I can feel the fun you had in writing that story just by the part you shared! Love it!

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  22. This is an excellent post and I loved all your examples of humor! This post especially made me think of my hero Dirk who is generally a very laid-back funny character, which takes a little edge off of the fact that he is actually a trained killing machine.

    Now my Mr. Darcy-esqu character... well I'm probably going to have to find a special kind of humor for him to have considering the guy doesn't even smile or laugh (his lip just twitches). He has always been a very solemn character, but after reading this post I see the importance for even him to have a sense of humor (no matter how small it is) so I'll have to figure out how to incorporate that into his character.

    Please enter my name for the drawing!

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    1. Nicky, you can use humor as a growth area for him. How fun to see him start out with just a twitch and eventually grow to share humor with the heroine--maybe even surprising himself. :)

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    2. I'm bowing to the master! Mr. Darcy characters can be tough..but the redemption is sooo worth the wait!!

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  24. Sherri, writing humour is deceptively difficult and it takes a nice light touch to do it right. Thanks for sharing those great examples from Keli and Mary and the reminder that every hero needs a sense of humour. Even our most angst-ridden guys can use a bit of wit.

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    1. Laurie, I appreciate Sherri including Miles and his sense of humor in her post.

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    2. A sense of humor gives those angsty heroes a bit of balance, doesn't it?

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  25. Love this post! Did you know a sense of humor is the first trait in a man that attracts a woman? Looks are secondary. That's what made me fall in love with my husband...and agreed to marry him 13 days later. Crazy kids. ;-)

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    1. And they say whirlwind romances only happen in fiction. Glad you're so happy with your fun-loving guy, Barbara.

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  26. Love this post! Did you know a sense of humor is the first trait in a man that attracts a woman? Looks are secondary. That's what made me fall in love with my husband...and agreed to marry him 13 days later. Crazy kids. ;-)

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    1. Wow, Barbara! That's a speed record for sure! Obviously you crazy kids knew what you were doing.

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    2. Oooh, Barbara! That's a romance novel!

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    3. Thirteen days! Awesome. My dad proposed to my mother on their FOURTH date. She asked for a month to think about it though she says she didn't need it, she just wanted him to know she wouldn't jump so fast.

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    4. Josee, I love your mother's response to that four-week-in proposal. I'm guessing she has a good sense of humor. =)

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    5. Good for Josee's mother!!! And I love the 13 day story, Barbara Scott!!!

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    6. So fun, Barbara. :) My dad proposed to my mom on their second date. She said yes, and 50 years later, they're still going strong. :)

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  27. Sherri,

    Delightful post! Chuckled at your examples and now have new books to add to the ever-towering TBR stack!

    I'm amazed how humor bonds us to one another...even in desperate situations...such as an ICU waiting room...it seems ironic, but, laughter seems to snuggle a breaking heart and soothe a shattered spirit. I am ever amazed at how the Good Lord created us to endure...

    Thanks again for this lovely reminder to find the humor....the joy...in each moment!!

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    1. I had one of my most memorable belly-laughs at a funeral. I have no apologies! We still talk about that moment.

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  28. What a great post, Sherri! I loved those examples. You've given me a lot to think about in working with my characters. I love the idea of using humor to show vulnerability and intimacy. And I appreciate the warning not to let it be one sided, not to let the hero dish it out but not take it well. Thank you!

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    1. Plus, it's a great way to make a bad guy! Right? Someone who dishes it out, but can't take the teasing :)

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  29. Good morning, Sherri!

    The excerpts you chose had me laughing out loud this morning. It's a great way to start out the day, except for the fishy-eyed stare I got from my spouse.

    Thanks for your post. I love to weave humorous banter between my characters. It makes writing fun too. I can't wait to read your new release. Thanks for sharing with us today.

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  30. Good morning, Sherri!

    The excerpts you chose had me laughing out loud this morning. It's a great way to start out the day, except for the fishy-eyed stare I got from my spouse.

    Thanks for your post. I love to weave humorous banter between my characters. It makes writing fun too. I can't wait to read your new release. Thanks for sharing with us today.

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    1. Hello! Thank you for your kind words :) See ya' soon! I miss you :) I feel like we haven't seen each other in ages.

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  31. Glad to have you back, Sherri! Thanks for all these excellent pointers about the value of humor in a romance hero. I love it when I'm writing a scene and a bit of humor just naturally crops up. I certainly can't plan humorous moments--or, as was mentioned in a previous comment--they can come across as forced.

    The key, obviously, is to be so immersed in the character that his personality reveals itself naturally. So when opportunities for humor arise, they fit both the characters and the scene.

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  32. Hi Sherri....hmmm...I left one comment and don't see it. I won't repost that message, instead I'll just wish you a fun day on Seekerville.

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    1. Yeah - I think the system is glitchy today. I feel like I'm seeing double :)

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  33. Sherri, that was a great post, and I love the quotes. Now I wish I had your new book. Oh well, I got five in the mail yesterday to read and review...

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    1. We're gonna get your name in the drawing. You need MORE books!!

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  34. Great post, Sherri! A merry heart does good, like medicine. :-) Love you!

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  35. What a fun post, Sherri! And helpful. Thanks!

    I admire authors who have a way with humor. It adds a lighthearted element to a story. Sometimes that's just what's needed after a heavy scene. It works in life, too.

    I remember well the day soon after my father-in-law headed for heaven that I sat in my late in-laws' huge house contemplating the task of cleaning it out. I'd promised to find homes for their things. And there were LOTS of them. The task seemed daunting, and I was feeling overwhelmed.

    A friend stopped by and told me one fun story after another until I was laughing so hard that tears of joy and relief were streaming down my cheeks. God knew I needed that release and that laughter. So do our characters at times.

    For those who are interested, I thought I'd point out that the digital edition of A Bride Opens Shop, from which Sherri quoted, is free on Kindle and Nook and at Christianbook right now.

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    1. I forgot to mention that my husband has a great sense of humor. He knows just when his somewhat intense wife needs to chill and has a wonderful way of using jokes and quips to lighten things up.

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    2. OOOH! Must go share that information with the world!

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    3. I know I spent a good chunk of that speech we gave at CFRR, the reader's retreat in Nashville, sassing Ruthy to get her to stop crying.

      Looking back, that might've not been nice.

      Uh oh

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    4. Thank you for contributing, Keli! We'll get the word out about A Bride Opens Shop :)

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  36. Yes to humor! It's not always so easy to get right though. Sometimes the hero can come off cheesy, or worse, silly.

    Tina does humor really well.

    I read a book this summer (not by any seeker authors) where the hero was just. so. serious. Maybe the author was trying to portray the brooding type but he came across as just...dull. I think the author could have injected some situational humor to lighten things up a bit.


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    1. I find when I read older books (from the 80s & 90s) the humor just isn't there. Those heroes could get REALLY angst-y!

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  37. Sherri, thank you for these great ways to look at humor to develop the characters and their romance. I have trouble with adding humor to my stories, but your excellent examples will help.

    Congratulations on the two new books. I'm looking forward to both, and especially anoother visit to Cowboy Creek, Kansas!

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    1. I had so much fun working with Cheryl again on the Cowboy Creek series! I hope we can do more :)

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  38. Hey, and btw, slick trick releasing two books from the same publisher at the same time. Way to go!!!

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    1. Last year got kinda busy! When the editor says, "Can you...?" I always say 'Yes, no problem!' You never know when the opportunity will come around again :)

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  39. Yes! And speaking of Mr. Darcy, the humor in P&P is one of my favorite parts of the book :)

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    1. Totally agree Sarah, I can read that (or watch that) over and over and never get tired of the witty repartee. It's a skill (the writing, not the reading, lol)

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    2. Agreeing with Tina - that witty repartee is harder than it looks to write!

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  40. One point to add, there is a difference between 1. Running humor, sass dropped in as the story roars on along.
    Often one off hand comment....
    2. A comedy scene.

    #1 is easy for me. Sass, it's just almost automatic.
    #2 is different. A true comedy scene is complex. It's as hard of work as an action scene.

    The wedding scene in Now and Forever, when the vegetarian animal lover marries the mountain man fur trapper.

    There were eleven people in that scene, all talking, reacting, a preacher forcing a marriage, a pack of mountain men friends of the hero, making up lies to make the story of how the wedding came to be much grander....just to practice for when they sit around a campfire retelling it.
    A bride not interested in marriage....but very drawn to the hero she's just spent five days alone with.
    A hero who is very willing
    A bride's sister who thinks they should have the wedding then kill the groom. It saves her sister's reputation while solving the problem of an unwanted husband.

    An Indian woman who's almost a mother to the hero who thinks mountain men make lousy husbands....judging by her own.

    It's FUNNY but so hard to get all the pieces moving, bouncing off each other.

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    1. That takes some work! You pulled it off beautifully, though :)

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    2. one of my favorite scenes...EVER! The peanut gallery for the wedding was awesome.

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  41. SHERRI, thank you for the laughs! As a reader, I enjoy seeing how an author develops a story and the "tools' used to do so.

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  42. I enjoy good humor, especially in a story. If an author can surprise me enough to actually force me laugh out loud, they've almost guaranteed themselves a fan for life. #notaneasyfeat #internallaugher

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  43. Yes! The excerpt from The Cattleman Meets His Match is delightful. Such a fun book.

    A post about humor is a great way to start the day. Thank you!

    Nancy C

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  44. I agree, Sherri--I sense of humor is so critical in a leading man (or woman!) I think God's got a terrific sense of humor, and love when it shines through in His people :)

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    1. Fedora came back!!! Hello again. writer or reader? Tell us where you hail from, Fedora. Delighted to see you again.

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    2. Definitely reader, Tina and Sherri! I do some freelance editing, but writing is HARD! :) I'm from the San Francisco Bay Area in California, and am blessed to have a supportive husband. We're raising some more readers :D

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  45. Great post, Sherri. I'm not a natural at writing humor, but I'm working on it.

    One of my favorite hearts comes from the movie, While You Were Sleeping. I LOVE Jack's character. He makes me laugh, even after watching it umpteen times. :)

    This: "Humor allows the hero to show his vulnerability while creating a safe place for the heroine to reveal her vulnerabilities. " Makes so much sense!!

    Thanks for sharing your know-how!

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    1. I LOVE that movie! Le sigh. Jack is so wonderful and Lucy is so beautifully vulnerable. Great movie :)

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  46. I love humor in guys. A MUST for a hero, although I must admit, my DH is more known for his crusty old sea salt demeanor than humor - but he does have a good one. And the cutest laugh when he really gets tickled about something and can't stop laughing. I get to see him as he must've been when he was a little boy then. Sooo cute.

    I LOVE your books and humor Sherri - almost as much as Mary Connealy's. She still is tops on the humor in story QUEEN in my book (sorry). May I still be in the draw for your books?

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    1. Ahh - thank you! Mary is tops for us all - no hard feelings :) We'll still put you in for the drawing !!

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  47. Hi Sherri and welcome to Seekerville. What a super post on sense of homor in our characters. Loved your examples. They help us see what to do. Great job.

    In my novel, Love's Promises, most reviews expressed how much they loved the humor in the hero. His sense of humor made me love him too. smile.

    Thnaks again and enjoy your day with us.

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  48. Great article, Sherri!

    Please enter me in the drawing for a chance to win a copy of A Family for the Holidays or Cowboy Creek Christmas. They both look fantastic! I'd be thrilled to win either one.

    May God bless you and all of Seekerville!

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  49. I would like to be in the drawing for Cowboy Creek Christmas! For lots of laughs, we enjoy watching (again!) Support Your Local Sheriff with James Garner and Joan Hackett.....so funny...an oldie, 1969!

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    1. That movie is awesome!! I just watched it not that long ago...

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  50. Great post, Sherri! I absolutely love books that make me laugh and characters whose sense of humor can lighten a difficult situation. Also love when humor is used as a form of flirting. You gave great examples. Mary Connealy cracks me up. (Her writing is pretty funny, too.)

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    1. You can't give an example of humorous writing without including Mary!

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  51. Even when I was a little girl, I knew humor was essential in my future husband, and the same is with my book heroes. And I think it's safe to say that all my favorite heroes from other people's stories have a sense of humor. Even Mr. Darcy. Especially Mr. Darcy.

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    1. Mr. Darcy..he's still the tops, isn't he?

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  52. I totally agree that humor makes a hero way more loveable! One of the things I love about my husband is that he makes me laugh every day. Even better, he thinks I'm funny too ;)

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    1. Another leading man (husband) with a sense of humor! I guess we do really love those funny men :)

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  53. Sherri, I absolutely agree that humor is the way to go. I have such a dry sense of humor that I crack myself up and find, I'm the only one laughing.

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  54. RUTHY SAID: "How about oatmeal cake with broiled icing today?"

    YES!!! Just found out my cholesterol is too high and I need more oatmeal, so bring it on!!

    SHERRI SAID: "I also didn't do a very good job of honoring the "9th" Birthday of Seekerville with 9 examples - I'm afraid the article was getting toooooo long!"

    Too long???? Honey, you don't know what long is till you read a Julie or Ruthy post ... ;)

    And I agree -- LOVE Tina's humor because it kind of sneaks up on you with a one-two dry wit!

    Hugs,
    Julie

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  55. BARB SAID: "Did you know a sense of humor is the first trait in a man that attracts a woman? Looks are secondary. That's what made me fall in love with my husband... and agreed to marry him 13 days later."

    LOL ... seriously, Barb??? That is a hoot!! About you agreeing to marry him after 13 days, I mean. How much longer before you two got married???

    And I'm curious as to where you got that statement that a sense of humor is the first trait in a man that attracts a woman? You said "looks are secondary," which I guess if you don't qualify "looks" as a trait (which they aren't, I suppose), then I think you're right. :)

    Hugs!!
    Julie

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  56. Sherri, I love reading a book where humor is such a key part of the hero. Jennifer Crusie's a favorite of mine (she's contemporary romance). I've also enjoyed Tina's and Mary's heroes as far as laugh out loud funny. And as far as movies, I love screwball comedies from the 1930s. There's one movie where Jimmy Stewart hiccups in a scene with Cary Grant. Love that movie.

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  57. Sherri, If it wasn't for a comedic phrase in the movie Jaws ( "I think we're gonna need a bigger boat.") we all would have bitten off our nails. So even when the plot is dead serious a little humor goes a long way. I love the banter examples you showed between the heroine and hero. Thanks for your fun column today.

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    1. That's so true! I never thought about that line that way, but you're right.

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  58. My husband says I don't have a sense of humor. Sometimes men are from Mars and women are from Venus and we have don't think the same things are funny. Wanted to add this because some humor can lead to a disagreement too. Which can intrigue the reader's interest.

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  59. Sherri, dahling, you've been fabulous and I don't say that tongue-in-cheek!!!

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    1. You guys always roll out the welcome mat! Happy Birthday!!!!

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  60. Sheri, loved your blog post. You provided great info. I'm taking notes. Thanks for being with us today!!!

    A suspense with humor? Nelson DeMille's Plum Island çomes to mind. Even in a suspense, there's room for humor!

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    1. That's a good point about humor in suspense! I may have to go back and re-read Plum Island...you've got me in the mood.

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  61. Hi, Sherri - thanks for your post!!

    Yes, humor is so important - in both book heroes and real life heroes. The husband of one of my best friends passed away last year, we'd been friends for 37 years. He was always known for his sense of humor - people loved to spend time with him - I picture his smiling face whenever I think of him.

    There are many literary heroes with a sense of humor I've enjoyed - the one that comes to my mind most quickly, since I just mentioned him in a comment on another blog tonight: Ben from Julie Lessman's Isle of Hope series. His personality has been evolving since the first mention of him in the first book of the series, I had a strong dislike for him then. However, in Julie's new release, Love Everlasting, he is one of my very favorite characters - his comments actually making me laugh out loud!!

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  62. I am so late coming here today that it is already Friday on Seekerville. Fun post, Sherri. I enjoy humor when I read.

    Please enter me in the drawing. Love all these Christmas books!

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  63. I love reading humor in stories. And adding humor to my stories. You gave some great examples.

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  64. Hi Sherri. I absolutely loved this lesson. A sense of humor is critical in my opinion. Unfortunately, it's something that I don't always remember. And my characters NEED that to break tension and yes, add depth, too. What awesome reminders. Your samples were fabulous and I truly enjoyed reading this while learning at the same time. Love your book covers, too!! Blessings to you.

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  65. A sense of humor is a great thing to have.

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  66. Great article - good info! Humor is a must!

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  67. Great article, Sherri! I appreciate your insights, illustrated by your specific examples. I've never thought myself capable of writing with humor, but using it to round out my characters intrigues me to try!

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  68. Hello--Great Article Sherri! I would love to win either book.
    Thanks
    Becky

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  69. I have always loved my husband's sense of humor and his quick wit. I think of a funny answer LONG after the original comment or situation occurred.
    Sherri, thanks for sharing your thoughts. I've enjoyed reading them and all of the comments that have been posted.
    Connie
    cps1950(at)gmail(dot)com

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  70. A sense of humor is essential for a hero, even in a more serious genre. My husband's sense of humor keeps me sane (most days!)

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