Writing 101: Funny Business

It's a widely-accepted truth that people like to laugh. Even sad stories -- especially sad stories -- need to give readers a chuckle now and them. If you aren't naturally a funny person, it's really hard to write funny. That's why some writers need to master certain tricks to do it. Once you do, the business of being funny isn't so hard after all.

Funny Characters

One of the simplest ways to add humor to a book is to do it through a funny character. Have someone in the book deliver your one-liners, and you can drop a little comedy into any part of the book that feels too serious and heavy. Being funny gets a little easier if you craft a character that’s around just to be a clown. Now, all you need to know how to do is write a clown.

  • The sarcastic character: Sarcasm can be humorous, when applied correctly. Add a smart-mouth character to your book so they can roll their eyes and deliver lines that start with “yeah, right.”
  • The dumb character: One of the simplest ways to inject humor into a book is to inject a slightly idiotic character in there. It’s okay to do this as long as the dumb character is sort of in on the joke. In other words, don’t poke fun at them -- just have them show up, get confused and say something that you just have to chuckle at. It’s all in good fun.
  • The quick character: If you do have a sense of comedic timing, it won’t be too difficult to write that quick, bright character that can inject a cute pun or funny line seamlessly into the conversation. This character’s got a quick answer for everything, and that’s where some of the best comedy lives. Since you have the option of taking as long as you need to take to write the lines, your character can be quick even if you aren’t.

You don't have to be a clown to write a clownish character. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to be funny to write a little humor. Stay true to the funny character you create, and you’ll find it easier to craft funny lines. Know the character, model them after a funny person you know, and work out their lines until they give you a little laugh. The more you write funny characters, the easier the business of being funny will become.

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