If I'm completely honest and immodest, I can be hysterically funny when I let my inner bitch out of her cage for a stroll. At least, my sister thinks I'm funny. And my dear friend, Mary.
I often wonder why I don't let her loose in a book, but then I remember a promise I made to myself. I would valiently try to avoid hurting people, even if it's really, really funny.
The first version of this blog is in the trash because it crossed that self-imposed line. (Many, many times over.) But there is a way to do that kind of humor without being a jerk. I know there is. I've read examples.
I just finished a hysterical book, "The Alto Wore Tweed" by Mark Schweizer. In it, he manages to scewer just about every Christian religion out there. (His protagonist, aside from being a detective, is the church chior leader and organist.)
When I asked the author how he managed to poke fun at so many organizations without being mean, his response was "Ah, you've got to love them."
If you think chocolate sounds like a silly weakness, you should find out what hysterically horrible situations Elsie winds up in because of her cravings.
These authors make it sound so simple, and they do it so well, but I assure you that it's a precise art form to write snarky characters that don't turn the reader off.
I highly recommend both series, and you can learn more about Mark Schweizer's Liturgical Mysteies and L.C. Tyler's humorous novels by clicking on the links.
What cranky characters have you read that manage to keep from crossing the line into offensive? How do you think the author accomplished this? How do you accomplish this? I'd love to know.