Top 5 – Humor pt 1


Top 5 ways to add humor to your writing. I know I’m saying top 5, but I’m really lying. There are far more than 5 ways to add humor, and each on varies depending on your style. Not everyone likes the same humor when they read, and not everyone is great at the same humor when they write. These examples, and the next 5 I intend to post next week, are just a few options for adding humor and while they might work for some, they won’t work for everyone. Find your inspiration and have fun, because you can’t find things funny if you aren’t having fun.

1 Strange normalcy

Treat the very strange as completely normal. It’s the whole “straight man” concept. The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy is a perfect example of this type of humor. I’ll give you an example you might hear from your eight year old.

Dan walked into a bar with a frozen turkey under one arm.

“Hello Dan.” John said, eying the chilly bird. “What’s with the turkey?”

“I got it for Mr Gobbles. He’s been lonely for days now, and the pet store was out.”

“You staying for a drink?”

“Nah. I’ve got introductions to make.”

John nodded. “Ah, lovebirds.”

2 Word choice

Crapola, hodgepodge, titmouse.  These words are funny. If you make amusing word choices, the scene will be that much funnier.

So, from now on: He’s not fat, he’s corpulent. It’s not a ridiculous story, it’s a cockamamie tale. You’re not shocked, you’re flabbergasted.

3 Be different

Switching up old cliches or metaphors can add humor. Change the beginning or the ending. Try mixing two together and see what can happen. Have fun with it. You never know when you might strike gold.

“He’s obviously a few sandwiches short of a speedboat.”  “A bird in the hand is worth an apple a day.” “An idle mind keeps the doctor away.” “The early worm catches the bird.”

4 Repeat yourself

If it’s funny, don’t let it go until it’s not funny anymore.  Scrubs, Friends, and several other long running comedy shows have a lot of running humor gags. If done well, running gags can really up the funny. You could choose to mention a strange normalcy again and again. You could continue mixing cliches or metaphors. Anything that’s funny.

Dan nods at John as he heads through the throng of writing twenty-year-old kids, all doing their own renditions of an old man with his back thrown out.

“So, how did Mr. Gobble like his new girlfriend?” John handed Dan a beer.

“You know what they say, a turkey under the arm is worth two in the bush.”

“Of course.” John said, lifting his own beer for a drink.

5 Look again

Don’t be afraid to go back and add humor. Those of us who aren’t a laugh a minute, and even those who are, could stand to up the funny in our funny scenes. Adding more later doesn’t mean you’re not funny. It’s just a great way to ensure that there’s something funny for everyone. Besides, it never hurts to add humor… Well, except when your stomach hurts, your eyes tear, and you nearly pee your pants. but that’s the best kind of humor.

Those are my Top 5 ways to add humor to your manuscript. Now, go forth and spread the funny.

Robin Delany

Heat, Humor, and Heart,

Whatever the Century.

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