Laughing is good for your health. It’s scientifically proven. Making people laugh can be a rewarding experience. If you’re thinking about trying your hand at humorous writing, you’ll want to keep several tips in mind. Remember that you can incorporate humor into almost any genre, even a story that otherwise has a serious plot or overtone.
Forced humor usually backfires. If you want to make readers laugh, you’ll want to aim for a natural flow of humor in your writing. By keeping several tips in mind, you may just find that you have a knack for giving readers something to laugh about.
Choose one or two characters to channel your humor
When trying to work humor into a story, it’s best to avoid overkill. If you try to make every character say or do things to get a laugh, you run the risk of having the whole book come across as twaddle. Instead, decide ahead of time which character or two will be the “funny” people in your storyline.
Practice writing funny exchanges between them or developing scenes where one or the other does or says something humorous. It’s helpful to conduct a character analysis before deciding which characters will channel your humor. Get to know your characters and develop their personalities in your mind. Ask yourself who (if they were real people) is more likely than the others to be funny.
Know when the timing is right for a funny line or event
As you write funny scenes or lines into your story, allow it all to unfold naturally. Imagine that everything that is happening is real. In a particular conversation or during a specific scene, what strikes you as a moment where something funny might happen or someone might say something in a laughable manner?
The more you practice writing humor, the easier it will be to “feel” when the timing is right to add a punchline or whimsical situation that will naturally make readers giggle.
Keep your target audience in mind
If you’re writing a story that is geared toward an audience over age 55, the things they find funny will no doubt be a lot different than something that would strike the funny bone of a 16-year-old. For this reason, it’s important to know who your target audience is before you start trying to add humor to a story.
For instance, readers in the senior citizen age group might think jokes about wrinkles or body aches or memory loss are funny. Teenagers—not so much; however, this younger crowd might laugh out loud over jokes about parents or fashion or school topics.
Practice writing funny things
As with any writing skill, learning to add humor to a story in a way that naturally makes readers want to laugh and doesn’t feel forced takes practice. It’s also helpful to ask for feedback by letting others read your funny stories, even if it’s not something you plan to publish.
Having others read your writing is the best way to discover what makes people laugh and which topics are most funny to which reading audience. Laughter brings people together, boosts mood, lowers stress and creates an overall sense of well-being. The world could use a few more funny books, and maybe, just maybe, you’re going to write the next one!