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How to Include Humour in Your Writing

Writing gives us as authors lots of leeway to tell our story in the way we want to. We want to use humour as a way to engage our readers. We can weave the funny stuff throughout our story to lighten any piece and make our readers smile or even laugh.

Humour comes more easily to some of us than others, but we all have the potential write funny episodes. Try it and see how you get on. Find the voice you want to use. It might be your main character or a subsidiary one who you may have created to provide humour.

Comedy creates narrative arcs that peak with a funny climax: this will usually be a punchline. If you build that carefully and know when to finish it your reader will be rewarded by a smile or a laugh. Be deliberate when writing humour rather than littering your piece with funny words to force a laugh from your reader.

My novels are crime fiction but I have created various characters who lighten the thrills and crimes of the main story with their comedic words and observations. When including humour in your writing, don’t try too hard. Good comedy can be overt, like slapstick, but it can also be subtle, with funny moments or comments throughout a story. Use your own natural sense of humour, timing, and rhythm, and also your characters to help you work out when a funny moment fits into your story. Slide funny comments, humorous stories, and one-liners into your text where it feels right.

Much of the funniest writing is based on universal experiences that your reader is familiar with. It often works well if you incorporate observations of the world with a slightly different point of view to highlight their absurdity. Even the most mundane elements of everyday life can be turned into funny moments in your writing.

It is important for many reasons that writers know and understand their target audience. Also we all know that a good joke that works for one reader might not work for another. Humour is subjective. Your funny stories and humorous lines should be about subjects your target audience can relate to. Make sure that you integrate jokes into your story and don't let them dominate your work. Keep each setup short or your readers will lose interest and the joke will fall flat if you take too long to tell it.

Bear in mind that good comedy writing relies on the unexpected. So you want to combine incongruous thoughts. One standard pattern of humor writing is the rule of three. This is where each that has three beats. The first two are the setup which establish a logical pattern of thoughts. The third beat is the punchline, which breaks the pattern with a completely unexpected statement. This will catch out your reader and make them smile or laugh.

Lastly, most of the time, for writers, using clichés is often taboo. However, clichés can create humour when they’re exaggerated, subverted, or presented out of context. For example, “They lived happily ever after... until she met her real soulmate.”

With that I bid you happy and humorous writing with lots of smiles and laughs.

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