I am not a funny person. Ask any of my siblings if you don't believe me. There are many choice adjectives they might use to describe me, but funny would not end up on any of their lists.
In fact, I'm often the last person in the room to get a joke. They go right over my head more often than not. I say its because my head is usually in the clouds, thinking long and hard about something else (like what my hero is going to have to do to get himself out of his current mess or why my heroine is afraid of freckles). Regardless of why I don't get the jokes, though, the fact remains that I come across as a little slow on the uptake.
When I first sat down to write, I recognized the fact that I am Not Funny. Because of that, I chose subjects and themes and tones for my writing that wouldn't require me to try to be funny. It is never a good idea, after all, to try to be something you are not.
In my first manuscript, I had to work really hard to find places that I could inject a little humor. Because I do write romance, after all, and romance should not be all dark and depressing and dour all the time. There must be a little levity from time to time. My attempts fell pretty flat.
My second manuscript, however, I decided to let run its own course in terms of the funny aspects. It wasn't as dark a tone as the first one, but still, the fact remained that I am Not Funny.
So imagine my surprise when the critiques I started to get back were filled with "LOL" or :) all over the place. At first, I thought my CPs were laughing at me, that my attempts at infusing my manuscript with a dose of humor from time to time were failing so horrifically that they were making fun of sad, pathetic me.
But the LOLs and :)s didn't stop coming. In fact, they started to come more often.
And then I realized something. I may not BE funny, but perhaps I could WRITE funny. In fact, I came to learn that I could write very funny.
Just not if I try to. LOL. If I'm thinking about it and saying to myself: This should be FUNNY, then it will inevitably be rather somber.
It was through this process that I actually discovered my natural writing voice, and the direction of my writing took a sharp right-turn. I'm not looking back.
So, in my most recent MS, I embraced the funny. And I have to say, I had a lot more fun writing it than I did writing my first two. Go figure.
What have you learned about yourself that has taken you by surprise and how did you learn it? Bonus points to anyone who can identify where I took the title of this blog post from, just because I like to give out bonus points. Not that there are really any points here. But play along for fun.