Humor, a spoon-full of sugar to help the drama go down!

Humor is often an underappreciate element in entertainment. Whether it be movies, television, or books, all entertainment that’s labeled as humor is taken less seriously.

In Fantasy, the focus is on creating deep worlds filled with curses and creatures facing the ultimate doom. It’s all about the drama, and cheapening it with slapstick makes your story little more than fluff.

In Sci-Fi, you’re expected to nail the technology, get that part right or it isn’t worth reading.

And yet huge fandoms have developed around those very genres where humor has been employed with panache. Diskworld, Princess Bride, Harry Potter, The Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Doctor Who, just to name a few.

Humor in its own genre is used to induce the most laughs possible at any expense. And it can feel cheap and lacking of substance when done to excess. But even then, we all have our guilty pleasures; entertainment we turn to when we need that laugh.

The ability to induce laughter is a tool like any other in our arsenal. Too much horror, drama, or sappy love, etc…can sink a story as quickly as humor. An author’s goal is to entertain. To do so means striking a delicate balance between the ranges of emotions you want readers to feel. Humor, employed purposefully can create elegant emotional beats. It’s all about the timing.

Look at Guardians of the Galaxy. James Gunn employed seemingly cheap laughs with precision to break up the tension. This created emotional pauses that allowed the audience a breath of fresh air, before the next wave of mounting tension. We can’t all have a dance-off to save the universe, and as absurd as it sounds, you have to admit that level of well-timed humor punctuated the scene perfectly. Following that palate cleansing chuckle, you were emotionally ready for what came next.

Firefly, a Space Opera series – that deserved more time than it got – captured viewers with its perfect blend of science, fantasy, and absurdity. That series’ fandom grew rapidly and – despite not being on the air for more than a decade – still dream of a reboot. Joss Whedon’s mastery of sarcasm and wit made the characters feel real. Natural speech is filled with multiple levels of humor. Sarcasm, dry wit, ironic one-liners, snarky comebacks. All those punctuating points are essential to capture. People connected with those characters and overlooked any technological discrepancies. A huge feat in the Sci-Fi world. When those characters were faced with impossible odds, and had do whatever it takes to stay alive, they did, but not without all that delicious snarky commentary that had viewers laughing along with the characters. How many of you out there know the words to the Hero of Canton? The man they call Jayne!

There are so many instances of humor adding just the right flair, but let’s not overlook stories that sit heavily inside the genre of humor. Princess Bride is my absolute favorite. It had everything you could want combining elements of comedy, adventure, fantasy, romance, and fairy tale. This laugh-a-minute tale delivered everything with such precisions that despite its age, it remains a beloved classic. To devalue its entertainment value because of is comical base is simply Inconceivable! It has stood the test of time, because the humor was weaved tightly into the plot.

As powerful as it is, humor must be handled with care. It can easily become cheap and slap sticky. That’s when humor loses its appeal. However, if done right, I believe it amplifies the entertainment value of any story.
 
In the case of my Agents of A.S.S.E.T. series, humor is the tool I employ to soften the blows as Sage (the main character) is thrown to the wolves in the new magical world she finds herself in. It’s terrifying and deadly; all the while being utterly fascinating. There are many emotions to work through as the plot becomes darker. But, as I’ve said above, a well-timed dose of humor, if you’ll indulge me, can be the spoon-full of sugar to help the drama go down. In the hopes of capturing just that, during Sage’s journey, I called upon the lessons I’ve learned from the greats:

“Never ignore coincidence. Unless, of course, you’re busy. In which case, always ignore coincidence.” ~ The Doctor (Doctor Who)

“The name is the important thing for inspiring the necessary fear. You see, no one would surrender to the Dread Pirate Westley.” ~ Westley (Princess Bride)

“Have fun stormin' da castle.” ~ Miracle Max (Princess Bride)

“I just want you to feel you’re doing well. I hate for people to die embarrassed.” ~ Fezzik (Princess Bride)

“Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!” ~ Wash (Firefly)

“You want weapons? We're in a library. Books are the best weapon in the world. This room's the greatest arsenal we could have. Arm yourself!” ~ The Doctor (Doctor Who)

“Aim to misbehave.” ~ Captain Malcolm Reynolds (Firefly)

“There's no point in being grown up if you can't be childish sometimes.” ~ The Doctor (Doctor Who)

Life is not fair. Our author isn’t either. Be glad you got a starring role in her book! #Character #Confessions



SAGE: Looks around cautiously before sitting down.
“My name is Sage Cynwrig, and I’m super excited to finally have a chance to speak without the Grand High Poohbah looking over my shoulder.”

GREY: Sneaks up behind Sage.
“Don’t let Ava hear you say that. Or wait, please do. I’d love to see her string your newbie-ass up.” 

SAGE: 
“First off… Rude! And second, I might be new but I’m not stupid enough to talk crap about her. I was referring to our author.” 

GREY: 
“Do you have any girl friends?”

SAGE: 
“What is that supposed to mean?”

GREY: 
“Just an observation. You don’t seem to get along with women.” 

SAGE: 
“Says the man who has no friends what so ever.”

GREY: *shrugs* 
“Liabilities.” 

SAGE: 
“What are you doing here anyway? This is supposed to be my show.”

GREY: 
“Do we really need to revisit the incident with the vampire?” 

SAGE: 
“You mean the vampire you sent to kill me?”

GREY: 
“I was referring to the one you invited into your apartment!”

SAGE: 
“One in the same there, buddy. Do me a favor, you’re killing my screen time here, just sit there and look pretty. Let me finish my interview.” 

GREY: Adjusts his fedora and winks.
“Every time I let you out of my sight you find some new and creative way to get yourself killed. I really don’t want to have to deal with that paperwork. Go ahead, continue this idiocy.”

SAGE: 
“Back to what I was saying.” 

GREY: 
“Which was?”

SAGE: 
“One more word and I knock that stupid hat off your stupid head.”

GREY: 
“You said you liked my hat.”

SAGE: 
“You said you’d be quiet.” 

GREY: 
“Never actually spoke those words.”

SAGE: 
“Okay just ignore him or we’ll never get to today’s topic. Which is evil authors. Seriously. My author must work for Disney or something. What is the first thing she does? Kill off my mom. Page-freaking-one. Before you all could see how absolutely bad-ass she was, Mrs. Evil Author just offs her. Off screen no less. I didn’t even get the chance to say goodbye.” 

GREY: 
“Complain, complain, complain. You see what I have to put up with all day?”

SAGE: 
“Says the man who ended her existence.” 

GREY: 
“Your mom was gone long before I dispatched the thing that reanimated her body. And if I hadn’t removed her head when I did, you’d have lost your own. I believe the words you’re looking for are, thank you Grey, for single-handedly saving my life.”

SAGE: 
“When did your parent die again? How many hundreds of years ago? Give me a break here the wounds are still fresh.”

GREY: 
“Your mother died in service to A.S.S.E.T. She was revered as one of the best among our kind. Honor her memory by serving the agency in the same fashion and her legacy will live on through you.” 

SAGE: 
“Are you reading from a card?”

GREY: Shrugs*
“I could just tattoo it to your forehead, as many times as I’ve had to say it to you.” 

SAGE: 
“Touché.” 

GREY: Tips his hat.

SAGE: 
“But, I stand by what I said. Our author is evil. She not only kills my mom off, but doesn’t even tell me about my family’s legacy. I mean, c’mon at least give a girl a heads up before throwing vampires, trolls, and ogres at her.” 

GREY: 
“I thought you liked Devon.”

SAGE: 
“He’s the best personal trainer money can buy. Seriously. PX90 has nothing on an ogre’s workouts. But what I mean is, don’t leave your MC in the dark. Help a girl out. If our author had given me even the slightest clue of what our family is, I’d have freaked out less.”

GREY: 
“It’s our way.”

SAGE: 
“It’s our way because our evil author wrote us that way. She could have written us differently, and let our family tell us about the magical world and how we fit within it.”

GREY: 
“Leave it to you to find the negative in having a magical legacy. If your mom had not been killed.”

SAGE: 
“Murdered.”

GREY: 
“Fine. If she had not been murdered, you’d have never known about magic. Our connection to the magical realm is only activated when one of our kind die. You’d have lived an entirely human life, had kids, a dog, whatever, and never known about magic if your mother had lived on.” 

SAGE: 
“Plot hole! How would my mom have lived on as an immortal without me noticing?”

GREY: 
“You don’t read the manuals do you? ASSET Agent contract, addendum 57 article C. Agents with living relatives must surrender their identity, fake their death for the layman, when it no longer becomes believable for their service to continue in their active duty station.” 

SAGE: 
“I may have missed that section. I didn’t really get a good chance to look at the contract. You guys rushed me through processing and all. But I will.” 

GREY: 
“Life is not fair. Our author isn’t going to be either. Be glad you got a starring role in her books.” 

SAGE: 
“Kiss ass.” 

GREY: 
“I know how to play the game, and keep myself from being killed off.” 

SAGE: 
“Says the man who hates games.” 

GREY: 
“The games you play, yes. Pretending to cast spells and kill dragons. You live this shit every day at work. Why in the Mother’s name would you want to play it with a bunch of humans?”

SAGE: 
“Because in that world, I can actually cast spells.” 

GREY: 
“Negatron strikes again.” 

SAGE: 
“Did Grey Maddox just make a joke?”

GREY: 
“I’ll try not to let it go to my head.”

SAGE: 
“Good because your dad-jokes aren’t that funny.” 

GREY: 
“Can we get back to work now? This is taking forever.” 

SAGE: 
“I still stand behind my point. My author… our author is evil. She purposefully puts us in positions to fail. She kills off people we love without giving us a chance to say good bye.”

GREY: 
“This is me playing the saddest tune on world’s smallest violin.”

SAGE: 
“And she writes me a partner who has the emotional depth of a puddle evaporating in the desert heat.” 

GREY: 
“Hold on. I think I hear the waaaaaambulence.” 

SAGE: 
“I’ll leave it to you guys. Read the Agents of ASSET series, A Weapon of Magical Destruction and A Taste of Your Own Magic. You’ll see. Katie Salidas is the evilest of all authors. Even now she is penning our next massive FUBAR assignment Magic in Disguise. The levels of her cruelty know no bounds.” 

GREY: 
“Are you finished?”

SAGE: Smacks the fedora off of Grey’s head.
“Yep. All done. Let’s go! 
Happy Reading Y’all!”




3 Sanity Savers for Work Life Balance - Author Edition



I’ve got three awesome kids, and since they were all very little, mommy has been an author. My oldest, now in her teens, has grown up with mommy clacking away at the keyboard as I’ve penned more than twenty novels. I’ve always written stories, but I haven’t always been a published author.

It’s a different sort of writing when you know there are deadlines and readers waiting for you to finish that next work. And kids, no matter how many times you try to make them understand that mommy is working, will always demand mom’s attention. Especially my two littles.

I wish I could say that in the eight years since I transitioned into being a published author, I’ve got this time management thing figured out. I don’t. I still scramble for quiet space and stay up well beyond my bedtime to work on these books.

But, all that said, I do have 3 TIPS to share today, that I use, to make the process feel like it is going smoother.

1.    The kids are day shift. Writing is night shift.

When you work out of the home you have defined times to clock in and out. The same applies to writing as work. You have to have dedicated time for it, like a job.

Do I always clock in and out on time? No. But the act of setting myself that schedule helps me to remember where the balance should be.

During the day, I’m mom. That’s a full-time job already. It starts, despite all my protests, at sunrise, so in a perfect world, bedtime is 8pm. Once the kids are washed, read to, and tucked in, I clock in for work. Because I look at this as work, I’m pretty militant about clocking in on time. During the normal school week my writing hours begin at 8pm (kids bedtime), and I block out a four hour shift for this work. That means a midnight bedtime if all goes well. Weekends are my off days (but I still write then too.)

In a perfect world I could count on a guaranteed 4 hours of daily writing time. More often than not however, my two shifts bleed into each other. That’s life. I’m lucky that, right now, I’m able to be here with the kids, and write. When life gets too hectic I remind myself of this.

Hectic as it may be, using this scheduling template, I’ve been able to write at least 3 books a year.

2.    It’s okay to write bad…sometimes.

I know what you’re thinking. Hold on. Why the hell am I going to read an author’s work when they just said they are okay, and even admitting to writing bad?

Let me explain. First drafts are where most people get stopped up during the writing process. They want to write perfectly. Well that ain’t how this writing business works. Perfect writing is the result of revisions, editing, and final proofing. Multiple eyes have looked at the book by the time it reaches readers.

But we’re jumping ahead of ourselves here. The first draft should be the easiest thing to write. It’s where creativity gives birth to new characters and worlds. It is the place where an author can play with ideas. It’s often the place where would-be writers give up, because they demand perfection from something that cannot possibly be.

Allowing yourself to write a bad first draft is a simple way of saying, “Just get the story out of your brain.” You have the freedom to create during this phase.

You can’t edit what hasn’t been written, and you can’t find a plot hole in a story that doesn’t exist. Trying too hard on round one to be perfect is impossible. By accepting imperfection, and allowing yourself to put pen to paper, ensures you can complete a draft. Once that story is written the real work begins.

When I block out a 4 hour shift for my writing work, I don’t have time to stare at a computer screen all day. I have a limited amount of time to work. By letting myself free write I maximize my creative time so I can get the words in to meet story goals.

3.    Set easy to reach word count goals.

When I’m in story writing mode, especially at the beginning of a new book, the 80k word count goal can sometimes feel like staring up at a mountain I know I’ll have to climb. Most novels in my genre Urban Fantasy range between 70-90k words. That’s a lot of words, and looking at it from that vantage point feels impossible. But, a change of perspective can make all the difference. If I set myself smaller goals the pressure disappears. My regular word count goal, during the story writing phase, is 1k words per night. I set different goals for the revisions and final editing phase, but for the purpose of this tip, let’s just stick with the words.

One thousand words is easy to accomplish (I usually write more than that.) By setting the smaller goal I no longer have to look at the huge 80k word target; reducing that initial pressure. It also has another effect. By reaching daily goals, I can feel accomplished each time I sit down at the computer, and I can also pat myself on the back for going over it. Everyone like to feel like a winner. That small perk can motivate you more than you realize.

So there it is, the three sanity savers that help me through the crazy that is trying to make a career of writing while being mommy at the same time.

How do you manage work/life balance as a WAHM? Post your tips in the comments below. 
I’d love to learn a few new tricks myself.

And if you'd like to check out my work, be sure to click the series links above, or check out my Amazon Author Page!

Mythical Books: Humor... the spoon-full of sugar to help the drama go down!

Mythical Books: making her wishes come true - Everything You Know ...: GUEST POST

Humor... the spoon-full of sugar to help the drama go down!



Humor is often an underappreciate element in entertainment. Whether it be movies, television, or books, all entertainment that’s labeled as humor is taken less seriously.



In Fantasy, the focus is on creating deep worlds filled with curses and creatures facing the ultimate doom. It’s all about the drama, and cheapening it with slapstick makes your story little more than fluff.... (Continue Reading)