Take a look at the wildly popular Snowflake Method—ten battle-tested steps that jump-start your creativity and help you quickly map out your story.
Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and download free character development worksheets! Leigh Anne Jasheway January 26, A man walks into a bookstore. Our inherent desire to laugh motivates us to share funny YouTube videos and respond to text messages with an LOL or the iconic smiley face.
This guest post is by Leigh Anne Jasheway.
She has an M. She also teaches comedy writing and stand-up and is a part-time faculty member at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. Follow her lajfun and accidentalcomic.
You may think that when it comes to writing, humor is best used only in fiction or satire. Both of these are also excellent reasons to incorporate humor in your nonfiction.
As a communication tool, effective use of humor can humanize you, cementing your bond with readers.
It can also help your work stand out in a crowded market. Trying to find the funnier side of things reduces the loneliness, rejection and stress of the writing life—and it boosts your creativity by challenging you to approach your craft in new ways. Even if your subject is a serious one, the subtle use of humor can both ease tension and provide a respite from difficult moments.
Click here to Tweet and share it! The authors felt I could make the subject less uncomfortable for readers by lightening things up here and there. Read on to find out. The goal is to improve your writing by using all the tools available to you, including comedy.
Words with the k sound Cadillac, quintuplet, sex are perceived as the funniest, and words with a hard g guacamole, gargantuan, Yugo create almost as many grins. This may be because much of what makes Americans laugh today has roots in Yiddish humor, the language of which includes many guttural sounds—and the k and hard g are as close as English comes.
This tool is especially handy in crafting attention-grabbing titles or subheads.
Consider this memorable section heading in the book You Staying Young: Roizen and Mehmet C. One simple way of doing this is to pair two like ideas in a list and then add a third, incongruent, idea. Losing weight is simple: Eat less, exercise more and pay NASA to let you live in an anti-gravity chamber.
This is one of the most flexible ways to naturally incorporate humor into your narrative. Let me predict a few things that will happen in the next year. Brad and Angelina will add another baby to their brood.
And the variable-interest rates—on your savings account, mortgage and credit card—will go up. I try to pull it down and it snaps right back up like a window shade. To craft a comparison joke, simply brainstorm metaphors and then choose the one that is funniest and makes the point well.
Then, simply choose the comparison that makes you laugh. I will always, always have your back. I have no life other than to serve you. When Your Money or Your Life authors Joe Dominguez and Vicki Robin wanted to demonstrate the importance of changing the way we think about money, they did so by telling the story of a young girl watching her mother prepare a ham to bake for dinner.
As the mother cut both ends off the ham, the daughter asked why. Mom replied that her mother had always done it that way. When the daughter still insisted on knowing why, a quick call to grandma revealed the reason: Many nonfiction writers find the best places to integrate humor are in titles, sidebars, visual illustrations or cartoons, and anecdotes to illustrate their points.
Have someone read your manuscript and then give you a candid critique with this in mind. When using humor in writing about a difficult subject—your own illness, for example—your first responsibility is to give your readers permission to laugh. Find subtle ways to let them know that not only is it OK to laugh, but you want them to.
This humor style may work in some arenas, but many readers find it hurtful and mean, and because it often relies on tone, it can be especially hard to pull off in writing.
Sarcasm is a tool most of us pick up at a young age as a way of feeling better about ourselves by putting others down. I recommend leaving it there.The Most Wished For book in the Fiction Writing Reference category on Amazon is Writing Fiction for Dummies, the complete guide for writing and selling your novel.
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The more I explore fiction writing, the more complex and multi-layered it becomes. Through the processes of brainstorming, outlining, researching, writing, and revising, I have discovered countless details that authors have to consider as they set out to produce a viable work of fiction.
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