Saturday, 16 April 2016
6 things about writing humorous novels.
#1 you need a plan. Jokes just don't happen. They need a set up, the incident and the punch line. It may sound a bit boring but without these three things the audience will not 'get' it. The set up is laying the foundation so that the joke is off the wall, not expected or is totally relatable because we know the characters flaws and foibles. ie. mention the need for glasses, she cant see anything without them, she cant find them. ..then when she can finally see something clearly it is evident to the audience and it is a surprise to her.
#2 The reader needs to be in on the joke. It is delicious to know what is going to happen or think you know as you read the book and then the protagonist goes and gets into trouble. We can see it coming. Anticipation is the custard pie effect. We can see it. We can almost visualize it. When it happens it is great, because it didn't happen to us.
#3 empathy. If you feel for the character then when you think they are in a tight spot you will feel that you can laugh at them and still like them. The empathy gives you the 'shared' feeling that it could have almost happened to you.
#4 Jokes come in several guises. The set up. The prat fall. The unexpected. The obvious. When you write the joke scene remind yourself what the objective is all about. Most of the time I write from the perspective that the reader will see it coming, but the character doesn't so we are in on the joke but they are not. Irony :a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions is clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
#5 character traits are important. They are the set up so that when the joke happens out of character it is from left field. Get to know your character and then you can play with their mind!
#6 physical jokes in a book work well. The main thing to remember is that less is more. Don't over describe the banana skin.
Of course there are more techniques. Some subtle, some like a sledge hammer, but the above are a good start to writing humour. And heck, if you laugh at your own jokes...its a start.