Over the years, hundreds of entertainers have made us laugh with their crazy antics and hilarious dialogues. From old Hollywood’s Charlie Chaplin, Moe, Larry and Curly of the Three Stooges, to today’s comic geniuses Kevin Hart and Adam Sandler. These entertainers have, in one way or another, made us roll in the aisles of our seats using one of life’s greatest pleasures – laughter.
On the other hand, using humor when writing a book is a completely different package. Humor is a complicated element to capture in literature. Writers have to create an image in the reader’s mind that will elicit laughter from them. Most people have very different preferences when it comes to humor. Consequently, authors often make an effort to avoid humor altogether in their works for fear that its interpretation may take a turn for the worst.
Using Humor when Writing a Book
You do not have to be a particularly funny person in order to use humor when writing a book. You only need to understand the basics of humorous factors that often draw laughter out of readers. Successfully using humor when writing a book involves so much more than simply writing a few funny lines. You need to know how to position humor in your work. Here are some tips on invoking humor that can help you bring out a chuckle in your readers:
The first thing you need to do to use humor in your book is the obvious – just write. If you spend so much time scrutinizing every single line you write and wondering how much funnier it could be, you will never finish your book. Do not make a fuss about the quality of your humor. Simply put your ideas on paper knowing that you can always come back and make improvements. If you are trying too hard to be funny, then you are doing something wrong. Just let your creative juices flow. You are bound to come up with a few naturally funny lines along the way.
Surprise your readers
Surprise is one of the most important elements of humor when writing a book. If you want to make your readers laugh, you need to surprise them. Lead them down one path before hitting them with something unexpected. Of course, the manner in which you execute surprise will depend on the type of humor you are trying to achieve. Whether it is observational humor or something more physical, try not to let them see it coming.
Focus on the People
Delivering humor about objects or concepts is very difficult. The best humor often revolves around people’s habits, actions, and reactions. As a writer, not only is it much easier to squeeze the humor out of your story through your characters, but it also provides you the perfect opportunity to carry out character development. You might be surprised by the nuances you can inject into your characters through the funny thoughts they have and lines they deliver.
Use Description Wisely
Description is both the friend and the enemy of humor. When writing a book, you cannot afford to lose your readers within endless paragraphs of description. This tends to kill the momentum of any humor you might be trying to generate. A scarcity of description can also have debilitating effects on humor. Unless you can build a vivid image of your scene in the minds of your readers, you are going to have a hard time getting your jokes to land. The key is to make effective use of metaphors and similes. The right metaphors and similes can make any sentence funny. Use colorful adjectives that portray movement that can paint a funny picture for the readers. You just need to get creative.
Let Your Readers Work
A book isn’t like a standup comedy show. You are not a comedian standing on a stage and essentially telling your readers every line of your joke from start to finish. You are an author writing a book, and writing involves allowing your readers some space to think. A lot of jokes in books fall flat because authors just present them whole. Don’t tell the reader that something is funny. You need to let your readers connect the dots. Give them clues, set the scene and allow them to read between the lines.
You cannot force humor when writing a book. Readers can tell when you are trying too hard to generate laughs. Do not inject humor into scenes that do not call for it. When used improperly, humor can backfire terribly. Try being yourself and using personal experiences when possible. When you get people laughing through authentic means, you can make a genuine connection with your audience.