Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Happenstance and Other Things That Make You Laugh

I gravitate towards humor. Those side-splitting, gut-wrenchingly funny books are my favorite. Janette Rallison's books always make me laugh.

And I've found that I love to write that way . . . but MAN! Not so easy (I'm still aspiring to it).

So for any others out there who may be interested in writing humor, here are some ways to inject humor into your book.
  1. Slapstick: Have your MC run into a pole, or trip over their own two feet. Putting several such instances in a series of events is even better. Good old three stooges comedy.
  2. Wordplay: Humor with words can come in many forms---self-deprecation; witty, sarcastic comments; and you know how you come up with the most clever comebacks about five minutes too late? Let your MC use them, and bonus, your brilliance is no longer wasted.
  3. Embarrassing situations: Remember that dream with you at your High School  pep rally wearing only your underwear? Make it real for your MC. OR just take your own most embarrassing moment ever and make your MC suffer it, too. (Note: A cheerleader sliding down a mud hill and landing in a muddy puddle at the bottom while the whole boys basketball team watches---not that that ever happened to me---may not work if your book is set in medieval times. Maybe a dairy maid could fall into a mud puddle while the blacksmith's son [who she's secretly crushing on] watches. You get the idea).
  4. Happenstance: Who hasn't seen the bus drive through a mud puddle soaking the poor man at the bus stop who was just having the worst day ever? Total happenstance situation. 
  5. Puns:  You know, when your MC is deciding if they should really knock on the door of Apt. 2B where their crush lives, and they say to themselves: "2B or not 2B . . ." Punny, punny, punny.
  6. Some things are just inherently funny: A fat lip. The word Aardvark. Dodos. Monkey brains. A talking cucumber. Road signs that say "Men Working." Etc., etc.
So do you write humor? What sort of humor makes you laugh hardest?

22 comments:

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I love love love books with witty characters. The Vampire Academy books by Richelle Mead are my favorite.

It's my goal with my current wip to have more wit, but it definitely isn't easy.

Tracy said...

I don't write humor. I'm more of a slightly darker paranormal type, but I love having one or two characters who see the humor in life and inject that into their personality. Keeps things from getting too serious all the time.

You literally made me groan with the "2B or not 2B". *shakes head*

Joanne said...

Heck, I had a few good laughs here, just reading these ... Like not wasting our 5-minutes too late brilliance, the 2B pun, and just thinking of the 3 Stooges, well, thanks for a fun start to the day :)

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

I don't write humour intentionally, but love books with a bit of snark/witty characters. I think it's the dry, British humour in me. :)

P.S. Thank you for adding my contest to your sidebar. Hugs.

Tere Kirkland said...

I love a good comedic novel, but I can never write funny myself. I stick to self-deprecating humor and witty reparte. ;)

Thanks for the entertaining post this morning!

Patti said...

I have such a hard time with embarrssing situations. It's one of the main reasons I can't watch the office. It makes me squirm.

Christopher said...

I love being funny. I try to put a bit of humor into everything I do. There isn't much I don't look at with a sarcastic and comical eye.

Elana Johnson said...

I am so not a humor writer. I've tried it, and I sucked (to put it mildly). I'm much better at angst, and I really admire those who can do the whole funny thing.

Lisa_Gibson said...

I love books with humor and try to interject some into my ms always. I have a incorrigible smart a$$ in my current wip and he's quite funny. :) Great post and I love the pic of the little dude. Sweet.
Lisa ~ YA Literature Lover

Lydia K said...

I put bits of humor in my writing and these would totally come in handy!

Angela Felsted said...

I wish I wrote humor well, but it's hard for me. My humor has a tendency to be subtle, so not everyone gets it.

Chris Phillips said...

One liners!

A.L. Sonnichsen said...

I try. Sometimes I make myself laugh, but that doesn't mean anyone else is laughing.... I really enjoyed DIARY OF A WIMPY KID for the humor. I will never forget the haunted house with the blow-up pool filled with half a bottle of ketchup. My son and I laughed about that for days.

Amy

Victoria Dixon said...

I love books that make me laugh. Usually the humor seems to be manly men funny stuff. (Go figure. I know.) Conversations full of innuendo, winks, etc. Alas, I don't write that well. I don't write HUMOR well. LOL Sigh. I could definitely do embarrassing situations. I've had enough to pick and choose. ;D

Shannon O'Donnell said...

Humor is a definite area of weakness for me. I want to be funny; I'm just not. :-)

Medeia Sharif said...

People comment that the teenage voices of my manuscripts are funny. It's not always intentional. I work with teens and they are hilarious.

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

I write grittier stuff, but my characters almost always use humor as a way to get through the dark stuff. These are some great tips, girlie! but yes, no cheerleaders in medieval times! Ha!

Amie Kaufman said...

I write humour, I can't avoid it. Not so great at taking things seriously! I often gravitate towards jokes that are based on things being ridiculously out of place, but I love slapstick too. I know kids are meant to be all over slapstick, but I seem to love it more, the older I get!

My own personal slapstick moment: falling off a treadmill at the gym in front of an ENTIRE football team. They all just stared down at me in horror. Then eventually, one of them said in a hushed tone: "That was epic...". Ladylike, FTW.

Amie Kaufman said...

I write humour, I can't avoid it. Not so great at taking things seriously! I often gravitate towards jokes that are based on things being ridiculously out of place, but I love slapstick too. I know kids are meant to be all over slapstick, but I seem to love it more, the older I get!

My own personal slapstick moment: falling off a treadmill at the gym in front of an ENTIRE football team. They all just stared down at me in horror. Then eventually, one of them said in a hushed tone: "That was epic...". Ladylike, FTW.

Christina Lee said...

Great tips--I wish I was better at it! My humor is more dry and sarcastic.

Vicki Rocho said...

You KNOW I gravitate toward humor, too. I'm not a fan of slapstick or physical humor. I like finding the ridiculous in everyday things best. If you're around kids, they are the best humor there is!

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