Tag Archives | writing humor

Writing funny is serious business.

Some books crack me up. Others that are meant to be humorous – fall flat. Some aren’t laugh out loud funny but make me smile. Others are serious with just enough humor that I’d call it a funny book.

I’d love to be able to write a brilliant post explaining how to be funny, but I don’t think there is a formula. And I keep reading that once you try and dissect funny, it’s not funny anymore.

I’m going on a journey. When I read a book that is funny, I’m going to spotlight it here on the blog and share why I thought it was funny. I’ll spotlight two this week. And maybe we’ll figure out how to inject some humor into our own writing.

To get us started here are some universal ways to be funny:

  • exaggeration
  • ridicule
  • hyperbole
  • surprise or reversal of expectations
  • word play
  • juxtapositions of opposites

So much of it comes down to the tone, the writing, and how it’s presented. And as with everything when it comes to writing – knowing how to be funny and actually writing funny are two different beasts.

What books pop to mind when you think of funny? And are there ways you inject humor into your writing?

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Bring on the funny girls.

Okay, you’ve all heard of the rockin’  blog, A Fuse #8 Production, right? So, this blog post is a direct product of this post here. Go and read it and then come back. I’ll wait with a cup of coffee. I promise.

Floored, right? I kinda was. Especially when not even her commenters could come up with one funny main character girl, preferably middle grade, written by a male. There are some funny side kick girls, but that’s not the same thing.

Wow. This just made me think. And I’m still thinking about it.

Funny girls. Read most agent websites and they want funny. Funny is great. Funny is hard. Funny can’t be forced the way some emotion can.

A girl sense of funny is totally different than a boy sense of funny. I’m a girl, so I’m speaking on good authority here. I want funny with lots of heart to back it up. I love physical humor, but I want more than that. Wit. Sarcasm. Dry humor. Situational humor. Hyperbole. Suprises. All of that kind of funny makes me smile and sometimes laugh out loud.

Many of the realistic mg for girls that I’ve read are about moving and new friends and losing friends. (And that’s okay because some girls like to read about that stuff to know they are not the only one to lose a friend. sniff sniff.) And there might be some funny situations but not as many funny girls. And there is a difference, don’t you think?

Clementine is a funny girl. How she interprets the world and her relationships are funny. Plus, there are humorous situations in the book. But, it’s written by a girl, Sara Pennypacker. Sigh.

Okay, Jon Scieszka, (why do authors have such tough names to spell? What happened to authors like John smith or Ray Grant. Come on.) I think you’ve been given a challenge. But I doubt he’ll be interested since he’s all about getting Guys to Read. But who knows, maybe some day…

Oh, and here’s a post from WriteonCon by Rachel Hawkins about her funny writing and don’t be afraid to ‘bring on the funny’!! I think just about every post I have, I could link back to WriteonCon. Seriously.

So, what’s the funniest book you’ve read? What do you find funny? And do you know any boys that write funny girls? Or girls that write funny boys? How different is a boy vs girl sense of funny. (See this is just a sampling of all my thoughts created by one blog post – kinda cool.)

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Written words and songs on stage and humor.

 I attended Jennifer Carson’s book signing last fall. Huge event. Crowds. Cookies. And on the table where Jennifer signed the book were three little vials. I’m sure one of them said, love potion. More on that later.

On Thursday, I had the unique and great pleasure of watching her story on stage. At our local theater. It was packed out. In case you’ve forgotten, here’s the book:

Jennifer spent a lot of time over the winter writing the script. I know. Pretty incredible. The playhouse hired a professional puppeteer and a song writer from NY. So cool. I have to say. I loved it!

But I want to focus on the part of the story that had the kids laughing the most. As many of us try to inject humor into our writing in hopes that kids will laugh (without bribing them).

Part way through the story, the squire, Mortimer, on his quest to find a wonder, stops at the cottage of a rather muddled wizard. Here’s what made the kids laugh:

Puns. When the wizard misheard Mortimer’s words and Mortimer grew frustrated.

Unexpected surprise and role reversal. The wizard demanded Mortimer’s help before answering his question. So Mortimer held up the frog prince, the wizard poured a potion over the frog, and . . . the frog prince fell in love with Mortimer. So funny. The kids and adults were laughing. They just weren’t expecting it.

Hyperbole and extending a funny situation. The play carried this aspect one step farther and had the frog prince dance with Mortimer and the wizard too.

It was fun for me to watch Jennifer signing and selling books afterward. 

Can you envision your story on stage or as a movie? Could you imagine trying to write the movie script! What book would you love to see as a movie?

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