A Little Trick for Adding Humor

Looking to add a little humor to your manuscript? Maybe you're writing a comedy, or maybe you're writing something more serious but just want to add a few opportunities for your readers to laugh during otherwise overly-serious moments.

I've been doing an overwhelming amount of polish edits lately before sending my manuscript off for review, and something I noticed myself doing (without even really thinking about it) is having my protagonist ask a funny question and answer it herself.

This technique works particularly well if you're writing in first person or third person close point of view.

For example, let's say your protagonist is walking out of a grocery store and sees a gruff woman slap her child in the arm and yell, "Stop hitting your brother!"

Your lead character could say something along the lines of, "Does technique really work for you? Talk about leading by example."

Now, I just came up with that off the top of my head, so I realize it's not that funny, but you still get the idea. And don't feel like you have to stick to question/answer format, either. Your answer doesn't have to be a real answer. It can be sarcastic or even a tangential type of answer.

Your turn! I want to hear your thoughts and questions. Do any of you brave souls even want to volunteer an example?

The Joys of Distractions

Lately, I've been hard at work on polishing my proposal and manuscript. If you're a writer, you know this process also entails being hard at work finding distractions! But sometimes distractions can be helpful because they allow our creative energy a chance to recharge. So, in case you need a little break from whatever it is you've been working hard on, I thought I'd share some of my distractions with you today.

1) Bubble Shack Soaps

I found these little treasures on my honeymoon in Hawaii, and I've been ordering them onlin
e ever since. You can find them at or Target's website. I recommend the Chocolate Malasada, Plumeria, and Awapuhi, the last of which is great for sensitive skin.

2) Castle

My husband and I watch this show regularly. If you haven't seen it before, the premise is that Castle (pictured on the left) is a mystery writer who hooks up with a local investigator, Beckett (pictured right). Castle gets inspiration from the cases, and his creative expertise helps Beckett solve her cases. There's a love interest that's a constant tease--just the kind of thing that makes great TV--and a lot of humorous pop culture references.

Woot is a website that sells refurbished items for super cheap. I snagged a Flip for just $75 the other day. They only sell one item per day, but the item changes every day at midnight, so check often! You can save a bunch of money this way.

4) Blue Heart Blessed by Susan Meissner

First off, I've had the privilege of meeting Susan Meissner, and she is just as graceful as you would expect. This first person novel had me from the first page, and I'd definitely recommend it. I can't wait until I have more time to dive further into it.

5) Jenny B. Jones' blog

Jenny is pretty much delightful in every way. Any time I find myself feeling overwhelmed or just in need of a laugh, I head over to her zippity blog, and I think you should too. Check it out:

So now, you tell me... what sorts of distractions do you enjoy when the hum drum of daily activities puts you in the mood for a little color? Websites, TV shows, books, anything really. I want to hear from you!


Establishing a Platform

Today I'm going to write about something I wish someone had told me earlier on... the need for a platform.

When I was at the ACFW Conference, the question of platform came up a few times, and I suddenly realized that editing a few fancy schmanzy literary journals and being an English teacher, while impressive-sounding to people, does not constitute a platform.

Simply stated, a platform means a lot of people. People who are already reading your writing in some format, who may also be interested in reading your book. And yes, I do realize that last sentence was a fragment.

Maybe you're freelance writing for a magazine, doing public speaking in some kind of arena that's related to your book (i.e. speaking to tea parties about your book on The Joys of Tazo Tea), or writing a blog that's related to the issues or target audience your book addresses. The possibilities are endless.

Don't get discouraged if you hear "no." A lot. Many magazines will already be swamped with articles to choose from, and the same goes for newspapers and other media outlets. Just keep trying and eventually you'll hear "yes."

And while you're searching... can you let me know if you find any media interested in any articles related to Southern charm? :)