Balancing Tension and Humour

It’s a tough thing to do: blend humour and tension. It’s something I try for in every piece of writing I do, especially the detective stories. And even in the horror stories. Horror and humour is so rewarding when you pull it off. But it’s really hard—because who knows what makes someone laugh? Everyone is different.

What makes a reader, or anyone, laugh is ungraspable. It really is a kind of magic that shifts and changes from year to year, if not day to day. There are different types of jokes that come in and out of vogue, and tones that gain or lose their humour over time, but down through the decades, crime writers have used them all.

The Golden Age was shot through with humor (every pun intended) from the very start, with Agatha Christie the queen of mannered comedy and sharp, satirical character observation. No one peeked beneath the veneer of polite society with quite the dry humour she did. This tone of observation is often described as a ‘comedy of manners’—it’s the laugh we find looking in on a world and observing its quirks, finding them amusing because the stakes are considered sky-high by the characters, yet low to nil in the grand scheme of things.

Source: Killer Laughs: The Tricky Balance Between Tension and Humor ‹ CrimeReads

Comments are closed.