Vinnie Tesla (vinnie_tesla) wrote in circletpress,
Vinnie Tesla
vinnie_tesla
circletpress

The LOLs

Sex is funny--few would dispute it. From the noises and contortions of the act itself, to the indignities and embarrassments we subject ourselves to in pursuit of it, there is plenty to laugh at in sex.

But is humor sexy? That's a harder sell. The essence of a lot of the best erotica is in the building of mood, of atmosphere; it casts a spell. The essence of most of the best humor is spell-breaking--exposing the undignified, the absurd, the pompous in what you had taken for granted the moment before.

On the other hand, there are fundamental kinships between humor and erotica. After all, in how many genres of literature is success describable in terms of a distinct physical reaction in the reader? And isn't pleasure of all kinds potentially sexy? Pleasure in food, pleasure in power, pleasure in a job well done.

Anyway, honestly, I don't really have a choice. On a very serious day, writing on a very serious subject, I can write maybe two pages without including a joke. Most days, even that is beyond me. There are, however, different kinds of humor.

In my naturalistic sex stories, by and large, the characters are in on the joke. Most of the humor in, say, This is Not A Story About Andrew or Four Condoms is the characters making jokes or the protagonist commenting on the situation. My goal, other than simply to entertain, is to make the characters more vivid and likable.

Ontological Engine used a different model. Though the characters do make jokes, most of the humor is stuff that the characters themselves don't think is very funny. Hopefully, they're wrong.

In Victim/Victorian I used humor to yet another purpose--the story plays with some potentially dark and heavy themes, most obviously incest and non-consensual sex. In a serious, realistic universe, I would feel like I had an obligation to deal with the serious, realistic effects such events have. The broad humor of the V/V series helped free me to include them as erotic and narrative devices. much like Elmer Fudd's shotgun is a very different kind of prop than an ostensibly similar weapon in a crime drama would be.

Can humor enhance a story's heat, or is it the kiss of death? What kinds of humor are incompatible with sexiness?
Tags: author chats, vinnie tesla
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