Bone Up On Your Humerus Writing

29 Aug

One of the hardest parts of writing is knowing how to “write funny”. Unless you’re writing scientific articles for a medical journal, you’ve probably tried writing in a humorous manner in the past. If you have, you know how hard it can be. Writing material that’s funny is much harder than just being funny in conversation. One of the reasons for that fact is the way humor is conveyed – when you’re speaking, you can make expressions, use voices that lend effect to your jokes, or pause at appropriate times. When you’re writing, you can’t do any of that. Your reader will read it at the pace he wants, in the way he wants, in whatever voice he hears in his head – so being funny in writing is no easy thing.
However, there is one huge caveat – the basic rules of humor stay the same. What people find funny, at a very basic level, is still the unexpected. In addition, people are amused by things they can relate to. Keep these facts in mind, and try to write accordingly – the humor in writing is less about making the right faces at the right times, and more about knowing how to address your reader in a way he can relate to.
Finally, and most importantly, the number one rule of being funny always holds true – be yourself. Your jokes should be things you find funny, not funny things you’ve heard others say. For example, my sense of humor is very word-oriented. I love puns and wordplay, taking a word and using an alternate meaning for it to change the structure of a sentence. I could talk about two people having a fruit drink, when they notice that the juice is nearly done. Thinking quickly, one of them quickly snatches his cup and fills it to the brim, beating him to the punch. So when I write, that’s my brand of “writing funny”.

English: I can't vandalize... ...but I have go...

English: I can’t vandalize… …but I have got a sense of humor! Upper Bilson Street, Cinderford. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Give it a little thought. Decide what kind of humor you would write best and see how you can fit it in. Write in whatever way best suits your nature, and make your nature your friend. Your nature-ally, as it were.

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5 Responses to “Bone Up On Your Humerus Writing”

  1. Lorna's Voice September 2, 2013 at 11:36 pm #

    I’m much funnier in writing than I am in conversation. Interesting…

    • nesherehrman September 3, 2013 at 1:29 am #

      The one huge advangtage you have in writing over speaking, which I did not mention here is the fact that you have a) as much time to think as you want, do it’s not ‘live’, and b) you’re also running the whole show, so you dont have to play off other people’s conversation like you do when speaking to people. Different styles, different types of humor, same basic rules.

    • Lorna's Voice September 3, 2013 at 3:19 am #

      Very true. I’m not a quick thinker or reactor. Writing gives me time to craft exactly what I want to say.

  2. A.D. Everard August 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm #

    I have one character who tells his own jokes. The surprising thing is, it catches me out completely because I – the author – have never heard the jokes before. He makes me laugh out loud, so I keep his jokes in. It’s perspective that’s doing it, I believe. I put on his character and allow him to be his own person, so he flows. :)

  3. Frank August 29, 2013 at 5:21 am #

    Of course, it’s hugely dependent on who the narrator is. When writing in first person, it’s the character interacting with the reader; in third person, it’s… the author?

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