Humor is one of the fundamental ingredients in any story. From horror to drama to epic fantasy – no matter the genre, there’s always time to lighten up the tension with a healthy dose of humor!
Humor can be a genre in itself, as well – Douglas Adams and Terry Pratchett are two masters who use sci-fi and fantasy, respectively, in order to showcase brilliant wit and insight about human nature.
They don’t use slapstick comedy, opting instead for dialogue-based and narrative humor. What I mean by narrative humor is
The humor I enjoy is the kind that surprises me. That’s the kind of humor that I tend to write — I take situations that should be familiar to my readers (tropes, clichés and so on and so forth), and I spin them around in a way that is clever, bizarre or even outrageous.
Write what you find funny, write what makes you laugh. Then check it and double-check it; don’t underestimate the power of analysis. Having someone read your writing later and weighing that person’s reaction is a sure way to discover whether something is funny. If you’ve got a few loyal readers– even better!
For those of you who prefer everything neat and tidy, you might like Scott Adams’ six elements of humor:
These elements can offer a lot of information, but they won’t magically help in crunching out tomes upon tomes of humorous writing. They very much aid analysis, however. Here’s a simple piece of advice on writing them!
Set your complicated jokes up early on, lay a strong foundation and build them up. That way, the payback is all the sweeter!
And don’t forget — always, always, always surprise your audience!