Two new books in the hopper. One is finished and edited, but is lacking a cover. I’m totally at a loss on this cover. I need a bolt of lightning to strike me and stir my creative electrons. A metaphorical bolt, please, not a real one. My brother once got almost hit by lightning and he said it was an unpleasant experience. The bolt hit a nearby pole, transmogrified itself into a ball of what looked like buzzing, white electricity, rolled down the pole, bounced across the road in a menacing fashion, bounced up one of his legs and then down the other. At this point, it rolled away for parts (or victims) unknown. He said it was an experience best avoided.
So, the metaphorical version will be fine, thank you.
The second book is currently at the north of 50,000 words mark and writing itself rather easily. This one, like the first, is humor. However, unlike the first, it is humorous fantasy (the first one is a humorous, Seinfeldian take on modern family and it is guaranteed to be somewhat offensive, but in a pleasant, comforting biscuits-and-gravy sort of way–a mixed metaphor that deserves unpacking, but which I will not unpack due to the fact that I lost the key for the lock and ate the biscuits and gravy, thus polishing off the evidence, though, it does bear pointing out that, as a mixed metaphor, the biscuit dough was well mixed).
I’ve been wondering lately why there is such a dearth of humorous fantasy. There is plenty of serious fantasy. Scads of it. Farmboy saves the world. Orphan boy discovers he has amazing magical powers and he then saves the world. Put-upon wimpy boy discovers he has amazing sword-fighting powers and he then saves the world. Ugly daughter discovers she is actually incredibly beautiful and has mad magical powers and sword-fighting powers and she then saves the world. Poor kitchen boy discovers he is actually the long-lost heir to the throne and he has amazing powers and he then saves the world.
Whoops. Got into a bit of a groove there.
The humor-in-fantasy topic came up briefly on a Kindleboards thread, but never achieved any satisfactory conclusion. Sure, there are some great humorous fantasies out there. Terry Pratchett, Robert Asprin, Terry Brooks…they all wrote a fair amount, with Pratchett being the king, of course. But the canon in general is extremely limited. What’s interesting as well is that your typical fantasy book is usually devoid of any humorous sparks. Fantasy tends to be serious in outlook. Sometimes bordering on the sludgy territory of pomposity. And quite a few times diving right into that sludge.
If you take a look at other genres, whether it be detective, general adventure, romance, etc., it’s very common to find humor. I don’t mean that the book in general is specifically and overtly written for humor, but that humor is a natural component of the story. It shows up. It’s a part of that story’s life and characters. The Dirk Pitt stories, the Stephanie Plum stories, the Father Brown stories, the Travis McGee stories, the Jack Reacher stories, etc.
Fantasy, on the other hand, tends to be…well, perhaps dour is the word. I realize that the apparent paucity of humor in fantasy vs the evidence of it in other genres isn’t anything ground-breaking or all that important. However, I wonder if it’s a limiting factor, in any small way, in terms of attracting new, potential fantasy readers. Everything helps, of course.
Granted, even though I’ve never been able to detect a single, limp molecule of humor in George R. R. Martin’s Dances with Incredibly Violent and Rapacious Smurfs series, that lack has not affected his popularity in any way.
In my new book’s case, I’m going totally overboard with the humor. Overboard as in scuba gear and plumbing the depths of the Marianas Trench. I might not find any readers down there, but I might find some interesting monsters. Maybe one of those freaky fish with the dangling light pole growing out of their foreheads, wavering in front of them and attracting foolish little fish to swim near, whereupon they are gobbled up. That, also, is a metaphor that shall probably not get unpacked. After all, who packs luggage when they’re visiting the Marianas Trench?