Six Tips to Including Humor in Your Writing

Laughing Owl by Kollor93/flickr_alt_Including Humor in Your Writing

Harry Potter's Owl

We have all heard how important it is to connect with the reader. We as authors try to do that through all kinds of ways. One of the most successful is through humor. Here are six tips on how to make the reader laugh by inserting humor into your writing.

I stole some of  these ideas from humorist and author of “Is your Glass Laugh Full”, Ronald P. Culberson, MSN. ESP.

1—Keep a humor journal

     Whenever you hear or think of something funny, write it down before you forget it.

2—Take notes from around your life

At the end of the day think about what’s been happening, look for the funny parts. Write them down.

3—Write funny material and make it funnier

Insert opposites, exaggerate, and add ridiculous images. Use strike throughs.

4—Write serious material and make it funnier 

Remember in Harry Potter, when the giant spider was going to eat the wizard child, by a wave of the magic wand he suddenly got roller skates on all his feet and started flopping around the floor. Scary to hilarious with just a magic word!

  5—Watch funny shows

     Watch shows like Jon Stewart and Comedy Central, and movies with Charlie Chaplin, Eddie Murphy and Groucho Marx and other funny actors in them. They will show you what’s funny to you and others and when you stop laughing dissect the funny parts and see what made them funny.

 6—Read Humor writers

David Sedaris, Bill Cosby, Paul Harvey, Allen Klein, Art Buchwald, Al Franken, and Steven Wright come to mind. Read cartoons and comic strips. What tickles your funny bone with these characters? Can you duplicate it? Read a newspaper that is all comics called the ‘Funny Times.” Look for their web page at www.funnytimes.com.

Humor is one of the basic ways authors connect with the reader. If an author can use emotion to appeal to the reader you are one step closer to getting him to suspend disbelief and continue to read your masterpiece.

What are some ways you have used humor to connect with the reader? What are some tips and tricks you have used to find humor in your life?

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About ClaraBowmanJahn

Journal writer. Author of "Annie's Special Day" And coauthor of Edmund Pickle Chin, A Donkey Rescue Story." Proud mother and grandmother of wonderful kids. Wife of brilliant husband. Servant of two cats. Member of Pennwriters and SCBWI.
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18 Responses to Six Tips to Including Humor in Your Writing

  1. Humor is definitely fun – something I always appreciate as a reader for sure! It’s hard to do, though! Things that seem funny to one person aren’t always funny to another and it’s hard to judge whether humor you’ve written is going to come off the way you intend. Do you have tips for that? 🙂

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    • clarbojahn says:

      No I don’t. It’s so easy to be misunderstood on the internet and on the page because the reader can’t see the non-verbal communication like posture and facial expressions. It’s very hard.

      I like your friendly voice in your blog posts and your good sense of humor comes through. 🙂

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  2. suzicate says:

    Laughter is always fun, but as long as you write with emotion you will engage your reader.

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  3. I would also say, in your first draft, to include every joke that comes to you, even in very serious scenes. The jokes may not last the second draft, but you can always use it somewhere else. But you may decide to keep them too. Sometimes readers need somewhere to take a breath when they are reading something sad or scary.

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  4. Ollin says:

    Great tips! I like the idea of turning scary to funny. For me, I just think about what makes my friends laugh and I go with that. What I have found with humor is that you’re not going to get everyone. Some people will just not get the joke. So you just try your best with what you think is funny.

    Also, not being afraid to bomb terribly will help you become a better funny writer. Thanks for sharing these valuable tips!

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  5. Great post, thanks for the tips. I’ve not heard of funnytimes so will check it out. I think laughter is such a life affirming, healing thing to do. None of us laugh enough. More laughing, I say!

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  6. I seriously need this. Thanks for the tips. I am not — no, I’m rarely funny. I don’t think funny. I know this is something I need to work on more. Will bookmark your page Clar.

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  7. pattyabr says:

    In order to remember interesting facts or funny things I always wanted a dictataphone type of device. Now that I have the new IPhone with the Siri feature I can dictate a list for the grocery store or other lists to remember. That is about as organized as I get right now. You are so organized. Very impressive points

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    • clarbojahn says:

      I wish I were as organized as I appear. It’s great that you have the Siri Feature on your phone that helps you. I’m not as advanced as that. We only have standard cell phones. Maybe you can use it for saving humorous tips along the way as well as your grocery list.
      If I had that feature I would use it for everything. lol.

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  8. krpooler says:

    These are great tips,Clar. Life is tough enough so finding the humor in our life challenges and events can really liven up and lighten our life and our writing. And I agree humor is a great way to engage our audience. Life is too short to take too seriously. A good laugh is good for the soul and I appreciate the reminder to find the humor around us! Thanks for sharing.

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    • clarbojahn says:

      Your welcome, Kathleen. I wish I were half as good at finding humor around us as these tips indicate. I hope I can incorporate some of these tips myself. I would love to take life less seriously. 🙂

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