Friday, November 1, 2013

Quick-Wit and Humor: Off-The-Cuff Ingredients for Devouring Chick-Lit Romance

The other day, I received an email from a family member featuring actual conversations between elementary school children and their teaches. The quick-wit these youngsters had is downright hilarious. I loved their replies because, being a mother of two young girls, I can appreciate the literal sense of their innocents thoughts, whereby making them natural stand-up comedians with little effort and without their knowledge.

Truth be told, I admire quick-witted people, because frankly, I am NOT one of them. I have several friends that are amazingly witty and they always seem to have a knack for spitting out those great "one-liners." Two of my favorite authors who never fail to keep me laughing with their quick-witted humor are Kristan Higgins with 
TOO GOOD TO BE TRUE and THE NEXT BEST THING, and Margaret Ethridge with her After Happily Ever line: CONTENTMENT.

Nonetheless, I can portray quick-wit when I want to, particularly in the books I write under my Gracie Lee Rose pen name. Because I have all the time in the world to ponder the "right thing to say" as I'm writing, I can appear to be one of those ingeniously clever authors.

Take this scene from THE START OF SOMETHING GOOD for instance. Jamie and Joseph, (my adorable hero and heroine who are next door neighbors) are having a conversation over coffee one morning after he wakes up with a serious hangover, from a long night of drinking with the guys. This is the first time he steps foot in her apartment and what follows when she invites him in.

“I appreciate the compliment, but I’m not an interior decorator.”

“What do you do?” he asked, meeting me in the kitchen. He leaned across the island, his biceps bulging above the right angle of his arms. I tried to keep my focus on the technique of pouring two cups of coffee. As easy as that sounded, today it was a difficult task given how close he was to me. If I shifted a little to the left, his hand would graze against my forearm.

I cleared my throat and my terribly imaginative mind and poured creamer into my cup. When I scooped a huge dollop of whipped cream to top it off, he came off the counter.

“Whoa, whoa,” he said, raising his hands. “What are you doing? You’re ruining a perfectly good cup of coffee.”

“I take it you like yours black?”

“I like mine the way Juan Valdez intended.”

I recalled the vintage 1980s Columbian coffee commercial. I hadn’t heard that name in forever, but I could still see the early riser slipping into his boots after the crow of a rooster and heading to the fields to pick the richest coffee in Columbia.

I handed him his mug and took a quick sip of mine, the cream settling on my upper lip. My tongue, licking it off, caught his attention. His eyes lingered on my mouth, but as soon as he realized I saw his drifting gaze, he looked away.

“So, what do you do again?” he asked, clearing his throat.

“I own a coffee shop on Fountain Square.” I gave a wry smile. “I ruin hundreds of cups of coffee on a daily basis.”


I hope you enjoyed that cute little excerpt of mine. And now, I give you the true geniuses of the trade; the quick-witted children of the world. Happy Friday! 

TEACHER: Maria, go to the map and find North America.
MARIA: Here it is.
TEACHER: Correct. Now class, who discovered America?
CLASS: Maria.

TEACHER: John, why are you doing your math multiplication on the floor?
JOHN: You told me to do it without using tables.

TEACHER: Glenn, how do you spell 'crocodile?'
TEACHER: No, that's wrong
GLENN: Maybe it is wrong, but you asked me how I spell it.

TEACHER: Millie, give me a sentence starting with 'I'
MILLIE: I is..
TEACHER: No, Millie..... Always say, 'I am.'
MILLIE: All right... 'I am the ninth letter of the alphabet.'

TEACHER: Donald, what is the chemical formula for water?
TEACHER: What are you talking about?
DONALD: Yesterday you said it's H to O.

TEACHER: Winnie, name one important thing we have today that we didn't have ten years ago.

TEACHER: Glen, why do you always get so dirty?
GLEN: Well, I'm a lot closer to the ground than you are.

TEACHER: George Washington not only chopped down his father's cherry tree, but also admitted it. Now, Louie, do you know why his father didn't punish him?
LOUIS: Because George still had the axe in his hand....

TEACHER: Now, Simon , tell me frankly, do you say prayers before eating?
SIMON: No sir, I don't have to, my Mom is a good cook.

TEACHER: Clyde , your composition on 'My Dog' is exactly the same as your brother's...Did you copy his?
CLYDE: No, sir. It's the same dog.

TEACHER: Harold, what do you call a person who keeps on talking when people are no longer interested?
HAROLD: A teacher


Arlene said...

I love Kristan Higgins, too. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is another great one for humorous dialogue.

Dialogue is actually my favorite part of the novel to write. I tend to be dialogue-heavy in the first draft, and then go back to add in more details later.

Constance Phillips said...

I loved the excerpt!! Going to have to add this to my TBR pile.

Melissa Keir said...

As a kindergarten teacher I can assure you that what they say will surprise you... what they do will shock you!

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Arelene: I will have to check out Susan Elizabeth Phillips. Thanks for sharing! I too love to write dialogue!

Constance: Thanks so much for adding my book to your TBR list!

Melissa: I so know what you mean. I taught Pre-school for 13 years after X-ray and it was amazing the things kids will say - and do! haha

Marianne Stephens said...

Love your quick wit as Gracie. Only a coffee shop owner could respond like that.
As a former teacher, I can smile at all those comments from kids because I've heard similar ones!

Sarah Hoss said...

Those are so cute! Thanks for sharing and I loved the excerpt!

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

Marianne: Thanks darlin! And as a preschool teacher, I too heard some similar ones. Kids are too funny!

Sarah: Thanks babe! I appreciate you stopping by.

Becky said...

I can't believe I haven't heard of any of these books. I have to add them to my TBR list. They look great! I am always on the hunt for a great book. This is perfect timing. I just finished reading Edith M. Cortese's latest book, "A Thousand Years of Johnny Von," another fun romantic comedy- yet different from most that I have read- the book is full of romance but the main character ends up alone and content. I kind of liked how it sent out the message that women do not have to be with a someone to be happy. Anyway, I have been looking around for something new to read. Looks like I hit the jackpot! Thanks for your review on these wonderful looking books!

Renee Vincent / Gracie Lee Rose said...

You are most welcome, Becky. I'm glad I could put you in touch with some of my favorite authors, especially the ones that tirelessly make you laugh.

Happy reading!

Becky said...

Thanks Renee. Looking forward to some good laughs!

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