Humor and laughter are balms for the soul. Many a times people have found their darkest days just that little bit more bearable following an honest laugh. Writing comedy can be one of the most rewarding and difficult tasks for an author. Comedy can and has served a variety of purposes in literature whether simply humor for humor’s sake or for pointed political commentary.
There are no hard and fast rules for trying to be funny, as humor can often be subjective. In some cases we laugh purely due to how a joke or funny story is told. That said Xlibris Publishing wants to share some suggestion and tips on writing comedy, so as to give your humor the best impact upon readers.
Before writing humor into your book, consider the tone you want for your book. The tone of your book can shape the humor you use. Whimsical jokes and comedy might not be appropriate to a book with serious and somber tones. The saying, ‘there is a time and a place for everything,’ applies quite well to humor, rampant absurdity might be suitable in a comedy movie like Who Framed Roger Rabbit, while well-timed and dry wit might be suitable in a heist movie like Ocean’s Eleven. The same applies to written stories as well.
What Has Made You Laugh and Why
What jokes have sent you rolling on the floor laughing? What stories have made you snicker in amusement? What have been the funniest moments you have read? Think about the answers to these questions, the why and the how you find those things funny. It is a sad truth that no one can make everyone laugh. You can however take what you find funny, your sense of humor, and share it with readers. Some readers might like witty banter while others might like dark macabre humor. Whatever you find funny it is likely there are others who do so too.
Timing often plays a vital role in comedy. Poorly timed humor falls flat while well-timed humor can send a reader into a laughing fit. Most comedians will agree that timing plays a crucial role in their acts, delivering the punch-line at just the right moment for maximum effect. Watch stand-up comedians and reread parts of stories that made you laugh. Study and practice of these materials can help you in understanding comedic timing.
A common trope with humor is playing against and with expectations. When a normally stoic character laughs full-heartedly, that can be a source of humor. When a bureaucracy acts more bureaucratic, requiring obscurely numbered forms signed in triplicate and etcetera, such can be a source of humor. When certain things have been established as expected by plot or society, you can play on those expectations for humor. Playing with expectations is an intricate part of many key forms of humor, including parody, satire, and irony.
Writing comedy can be tricky, but few things can be as rewarding as knowing your work makes people laugh and smile. There is a lot to discuss about comedy and its implementation, far too much than can be discussed in a blog article, but we of Partridge India hope this entry has been helpful nonetheless.
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By Ian Smith