The serious art of writing humor
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The serious art of writing humor
by: Thejendra BS
It has often been said that everyone likes humor and laughter on our planet.
Well maybe not everyone, but almost every person who is normal will like humor
provided someone else makes them laugh. And you can always enjoy reading a funny
article or book written by somebody. But have you ever considered writing a
funny article yourself, or maybe even write a funny book sometime? Even if you
know how to write regular articles and books the very thought of writing
something funny and showing it to others can turn your blood cold or make your
hair stand straight. There are plenty of writers on our planet who can write
countless topics in a serious, straightforward manner. But very few know how to
add one magical component into their writing to make it more palatable and
enjoyable. And that magical component is humor. If you want your writing to be
enjoyed by your intended audience then you must add an acceptable dose of clean
humor into it. It is the lack of humor that makes most articles and books
tasteless even if it contains useful stuff. Writing about any serious topic you
are familiar with is perhaps easy, but adding humor to it is very difficult and
sometimes even dangerous if you take too many liberties. Hence you must learn
some basic rules if you want to write humor and make your stuff enjoyable. And
those top secret tips are outlined below.
- The first rule for anyone who want to write humor is to become bold.
Contrary to what most people think humor writers are actually very brave
people. You need to develop a thick skin, nerves of steel and become brave
slowly day by day. You cannot be funny if you are scared to poke fun at
things, issues, people, etc. And you can't be funny if you're afraid of
embarrassing yourself or lampooning a famous personality. Verbally anyone
can be funny, but it takes guts to put the same in writing and let the
public read, and maybe the entire world see it. So humorists need a lot of
courage to write and publish something funny about an issue, person or a
- A humorous person has no limit on what he or she can think or write
about. You must be able to think in atrocious, ridiculous, crazy, illogical
and nonsense terms. Modern management consultants call this thinking out of
the box, but I call it old fashioned creativity and humor that has existed
- What is important is that you should make your readers think what you
have written is funny. But as a person who writes humor you need not look
funny, act funny or make goofy antics. You should become a person that
nobody would suspect of writing funny and witty stuff. You can be a serious
type of person and yet have the ability to write fantastic humor. This adds
more spice and an aura of mystery to your personality.
- Most people think writing humor is simply about saying and writing jokes
about other people. But this is only partially true. Top humorists mainly
make fun of themselves and not about someone. The best humor is always self
directed. Direct the humor towards yourself that way you will not annoy
anyone. People will laugh if you make fun of yourself, but they may be
outraged if you make fun of them. The most important thing about writing
humor is to allow your readers to laugh at you and with you, and then
optionally at themselves.
- Unless your article is for MAD magazine or a pure humor or satire piece
with no restrictions, there are various do's and don'ts that one should
follow when writing humor. Don’t use bad language. Don't make fun of
religion, caste, race, physical disabilities, gender or language of anyone.
Humor in these areas can start riots on the streets or even start a war.
Don't use real names of people, friends, relatives, co-workers, etc. You
will never know how they may get offended. But no one will be offended if
you focus on yourself.
- When writing humor surprise your readers. That is, don't tell or
announce upfront about your funny intention. Don't tell the reader that they
will experience something funny. Let the reader discover that for himself.
Use concise, direct and simple words that everyone can understand.
- It is not funny to be always funny. There is a time to be funny and
there is a time NOT to be funny. And this is something you need to observe
and learn. Something that is extremely funny in one place may not be
understood at all in another. Something that is funny on a rowdy football
stadium may sound offensive inside a religious place. And in some situations
or circumstances you should not indulge in anything funny no matter how
irresistible it is to write something hanky panky.
- 8. A piece of writing can never be final and fully funny in one go. Like
a diamond it needs to trimmed, improved and polished as much as possible.
You need to review it in terms of using a better sentence, a more
mischievous word, rearranging the sentences, modifying to a completely
different angle or deleting something that does not seem right, etc. After
you think you have finished writing a humor piece revisit it after a few
hours or a couple of days. Suddenly you can discover new and better ways of
writing the same article that can seem vastly superior to your previous
- Think wild, think crazy but at the same time be moderate so that it does
not put anyone, including yourself, in trouble. Often in your enthusiasm
words and sentences can flow like a mad river and you may write something
horrible that you momentarily think is funny or harmless. But it could be
laced with trouble when reviewed carefully. So take care to frequently pause
your writing to view it from different angles and from the reader's
perspective. Then you may need to give your writing a haircut and then
- The final piece of advice is writing humor takes time. To excel in humor
is a lifetime job, and is not something that you can learn in a day or two.
Don’t think you can read a joke book and start writing funny stuff an hour
later. You will have to teach yourself how to be funny. The process is
mostly by trial and error, observing other people's comical situations,
mistakes, laughing and applying it on yourself, etc. No one can teach you
exactly how to write something funny, but the possibilities of creating
humor on anything and everything are limitless.
Thejendra BS is an IT manager and author from Bangalore, India. He scribbles
mild and wild articles on technology, business management, self improvement and
wacky humor that get published on many reputed websites and syndicated through
various RSS feeds around our planet. He has also published diverse books like
Disaster Recovery & Business Continuity, Practical IT Service Management,
Corporate Wardrobe-Business Humor Series and Life-365-A Year's Supply of Wisdom,
Tips & Advice. Visit his web cave www.thejendra.com for his free articles and
details of his books.
Published here on: 19-Jul-09
Classification: Communication, Creativity