Author Archives: robindelany

Top 5 – Humor pt 2


Top 5 ways to add humor to your writing. I know I’ve said this already, but 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 previous 5 I posted last 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 Break the Wall

Breaking the 4th wall can be very funny. It’s like when Bugs Bunny looks at the screen and says “Screwy ain’t I?” Book characters shouldn’t know they are in books. They shouldn’t know it’s a story. When they do, it can add a definite laugh.

2 Add the ridiculous

Starting with the normal and adding something over the top ridiculous can be very funny, especially if it’s given like stereo instructions.

Permanent weight loss is easy. Diet + exercise + limb removal (or liposuction) = permanent weight loss.

3 Laugh at yourself

Or have your main character laugh at themselves. Humor can be confrontational. You can’t make fun of races, creeds, body types, etc, without looking like a total jerk. Instead, your main character can poke fun at their own strengths and shortcomings, like super long toes, freakish knowledge of the history of yard gnomes, and their ability to guess a person’s name just by looking at their butt.

4 Take yourself seriously

This is the antithesis of number 3. A character who takes themselves very seriously, so matter how silly they might be can be hilarious. The character passionately defends their super long toes, freakish knowledge of the history of yard gnomes, and their ability to guess a person’s name just by looking at their butt.

5 Try out gags

Let someone (better yet, lots of someones) read your story and see if they laugh/smile/etc in the right places. I always tell my critique partners that if it makes them feel an emotion while they read, I would like them to indicate it. I need to know when it works and when it doesn’t.

When I see a LOL or a 🙂 where I want the reader to laugh, and an Oh no, or 😦 where I want the reader to be sad, I know I’m on the right track. If I don’t see enough LOLs in a funny scene, I will usually revamp the humor to punch it up and try again. Remember though, everyone’s idea of humor is different, so don’t expect everyone to laugh at every joke. The way I look at it, majority rules.

I hope my little list gave you a few chuckles and a few more ideas.

Robin Delany

Heat, Humor, and Heart,

Whatever the Century.

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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.

Top 5 – Before Submitting


Top 5 things to check for before submitting to agents, editors, critique partners, and even your Mom. (Though she will love it either way.)

I always remember these with this simple acronym – RRSRT… Okay, so maybe that’s not so easy to remember. All right you can think of that sound people make when they… No, that doesn’t work… Oh, just read the list. *pout*

1 Reread

Be sure you have looked over your wrok. You don’t want too frustrate those you depend on most for your writing carrier with simple mistakes, and chance loosing them

2 Repetition

Delete repetitive words, because repeating words can feel very repetitive when reading the words that are repeated.

3 Show

Hannah sat on the couch,crossed her legs , and rested her laptop on her thighs. She typed in the first line of chapter 7, then grimaced. Clenching her teeth, she hovered a finger over the delete key. She’d broken rule number 3 on Robin Delany’s top 5. She hit the delete key, removing the offending sentence. “Jane felt angry and frustrated.”

4 Research

James Hainsworthy, third Earl of Jarwood, paused before jumping down from the carriage. He leaned against the cool wood of the door. He hadn’t spoken to Keesha in weeks. Several deep breaths later, he pulled his jacket lower over his pants. The door opened at the first squeak of his sneakers on the stairs, and he smiled at his lady love.

“Forsooth, milady, thou lookest beauteous this morn.”

“You look hot too, baby.”

(If you don’t know what’s wrong with this passage, you should be researching right now. Yes, you should research even if you don’t write historical romance. Don’t make me write another example, ’cause I will. I’ll get all example-y on your hinders.)

5 Think

Author A – I love how your heroine hates dolphins. It’s such a great quirk. Oh, and that little doll she keeps in her room is so interesting. What does it mean?

Author B – Mean? The things in the story should mean something?

Author A – Not necessarily, but I’m sure you are trying to tell the reader something, or hint at your heroine’s past, right?

Author B – *stare’s blankly*

Author A – *wincing* Give an interesting contrast to her personality?

Author B – What?

Author A – You do know about your story world, don’t you? Your character? Her life?

Author B – Why would I need to know about my story world? And who cares about the character’s life? Why would I need to know those things?

Author A – No reason, I guess. *eyebrows rise and Author A begins to whistle*

Those are my Top 5 things you should do before submitting. I hope you enjoyed them and maybe even found them a little helpful.

Robin Delany

Heat, Humor, and Heart,

Whatever the Century.