Last month I wrote about why funny books mattered. This month I’m following up with my top tips to writing funny:
Things going wrong can almost always guarantee a laugh. And the more disasters, the better. Think about your teacher losing the keys to the classroom down the toilet and then having to stick their arm up the u-bend trying to retrieve them only to find their hand gets stuck because your headteacher has just done his morning poo. The more embarrassing the disaster, the better in my opinion. But remember to put across the funny side. You wouldn’t want anyone to feel bad about laughing at a character in a potential situation of distress.
Funny fiction stems very easily from unique characters. Some of the funniest characters are those who don’t fit a mould. Extraordinary individuals can start all sorts of fun – think of all those fantastic and unusual characters from the Roald Dahl books. The more madcap and quirky a character is, the funnier their stories can be.
Don’t try too hard
If you find yourself crowbarring a joke into your text, it’s likely your reader will notice that and it won’t be funny. Read back over your writing, preferably out loud, and if you are laughing along, chances are you are on to a winner.
Your observations of the world will ring true with your readers, so if you notice something and find it funny it’s worth writing it down. Your voice will be what makes your observations of the world sound original. It’s something observational comedians have been doing to make us laugh for centuries and centuries.
My final tip is to have FUN. Be silly with your characters and have fun with your words.