Adding humor in the pages of your novel is one of the key things that turn an average novel into a great one. After all, everybody loves to have a good laugh. Humor attracts readers towards your work, exposes deep truths from a different perspective, helping your readers connect with you. We hunt humor in our everyday lives – it simply aids in releasing the tension we gather. Making other people feel tender, sad, touched is easier than making people laugh out loud. However, it isn’t always an easy task, although it certainly can be a very entertaining one. The following tips will help you to include humor in your writing.
1. Humor as conflict
Conflict is what happens when the protagonist isn’t able to complete a goal she/he has, whether it’s getting information from another person, or just buying flowers. Whether in dialogue, or not, initiating conflict through a funny situation in a scene lightens the mood of the scene. The funny situation doesn’t even have to include other people – put your protagonist into a stress-inducing, but a ridiculous situation and you’ve struck comedy gold. The protagonist is still frustrated and anxious (which helps move the plot of the story forward), but the reader is having fun at their expense and wants to read more.
2. Use in dialogue
Using humor in dialogue is a perfect method for showing the relationship between characters, instead of telling. Even if the characters are discussing something serious, or arguing with each other, if they’re being funny with each other, it shows how close they are. It can turn a parent – child relationship into a special connection, or show how two people are the best of friends. But, humor also aids in writing dialogue that’s memorable and amazing, therefore ensuring that the characters, the situation and the words that were exchanged remain in the reader’s mind for a long time.
3. Character signature
There is always room in a work of fiction for the signature funny character, because they always make people laugh out loud. When a character has a very good sense of humor, and makes both the readers and the other characters smile (even if they don’t want to), it immediately adds another layer, or a dimension if you will, to the character. They might be using humor as a self-defense mechanism, or as a way to avoid tension, and it immediately brings up the question of why they’ve become like that, and avid readers love to ponder character backgrounds, especially if the funny character is not the protagonist but a best friend or a relative.
4. Beware of sarcasm
Sarcasm is a special style of humor, and for those who like it, highly entertaining. However, not everybody likes sarcasm. In fact, when faced with too much sarcasm, readers tend to get tired – because sarcasm does have the ability to amplify tension, and too much of it can actually anger the reader instead of make them laugh and relax. Many readers might find it hurtful, mean and feel bullied. Of course, sprinkling sarcasm very sparingly into a novel can be done, but as a way of showing the psychological state of a character, or if a character is sarcastic by nature (which isn’t recommendable, a funny character is a lot more likable than a perpetually sarcastic one). When it comes to sarcasm, less is always more.
5. Lighten the tension
The previous points were targeted towards writing fiction – but, that doesn’t automatically mean that humor shouldn’t be included in non-fiction work. For example, if you’re writing a self-help book, or another book on a serious topic, it wouldn’t be bad to lighten the mood with a little bit of effective, maybe even subtle, humor. It helps with diffusing the negative feelings towards the topic at hand. Feeling good and chuckling when thinking about something serious makes the problem discussed in the book a little less frightening and easier to deal with.
Image credit: Francisco Osorio on flickr and reproduced under Creative Commons 2.0[author] [author_image timthumb=’on’]http://writingtipsoasis.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/12/photo.jpg[/author_image] [author_info]Georgina Roy wants to live in a world filled with magic.
As a 22-year-old art student, she’s moonlighting as a writer and is content to fill notebooks and sketchbooks with magical creatures and amazing new worlds. When she is not at school, or scribbling away in a notebook, you can usually find her curled up, reading a good urban fantasy novel, or writing on her laptop, trying to create her own.