author, creative writing, writing

Novel Writing: Adding Humour to your Story

Morning all,I hope you are all having a wonderful day. (And a wonderful Easter, if you celebrate it!)

Today is apparently National ‘Reading is Funny’ Day’ – I mean it, it’s not an April Fools joke!

So, I thought it was the perfect day to speak about adding humour to your story, and making your novel funny. This is NOT a subject that has come naturally to me. I struggle to add humour into my stories, even though I think I have quite a good sense of humour in my real, day to day life. But as I push through this struggle of making readers laugh, I have come up with some tips and advice, that I hope you will find useful.

Don’t forget to comment below or message me here if you have any advice, questions or stories.


 

1. Use the right character
I think the most important thing about adding humour to any story, is ensuring it comes from the right character. Some people simply don’t have a sense of humour, and if this is the case than that is quite an interesting and telling character trait. If that humourless character starts popping out the jokes, then it won’t feel authentic.

Other people are naturally funny. So, if you’ve a character who is lighthearted and silly, intelligent and witty, or dry and sarcastic you can keep the humour in their hands. Using the right character is so essential here.
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2. Don’t force it
Don’t look back at your story and think, wow, there is no humour here, and try to force some in. At the end of the day, not all stories have to be funny. Most of the fiction I choose to read doesn’t make me laugh. I do believe, however, that humour can fit into any genre at suitable times, but only if it is natural and feels real. Forcing yourself or your characters to be funny will likely result in random jokes that make people cringe rather than crease!
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3. Play to your genre/atmosphere
As mentioned above, some stories simply aren’t meant to be funny. I also said that any genre can embrace humour if it is done well. Still, the type of humour will vary depending on your genre and the atmosphere of your story. In a romance, for example, there are lots of ways that you can make people laugh; things going wrong, something embarrassing happening, snorting milk out of their nose on the first date…perhaps because situations like these are relatable to many people.

But even serious stories can include a little light comic relief. Perhaps someone always says the wrong thing at the right time, perhaps some irony, or sarcasm in the face of fear and horror – it can be done!
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4. Consider your audience 
Equally as important as the above. Consider the audience you are writing for. Writing for children, for example, obviously requires a different sense of humour to writing for adults. You need to consider what is appropriate, what is silly, what is cheeky. Writing for teenagers/YA is a tricky one to crack, but again, you need to consider what is appropriate humour and what that age group are likely to find funny. Always be careful not to use inappropriate humour that may be found offensive.
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5. Make notes when something makes you laugh
In your day to day life you probably (and I hope you do!) laugh a lot. Be it something you see happening, a friend or relative making you giggle; there is always room in the day for laughter!

When something makes you really laugh, note it down. I don’t mean if someone tells you a joke or a funny story of their own. More the naturally, unavoidable; trips, accidents, witty remarks and funny quips that just seem to happen. This should help inspire you to inject natural humour into the story, without it seeming forced, and with a genuine aspect to it too.
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What do you think about adding humour to stories? Does it come naturally to you? Or do you find it hard?

Comment below, or contact me anytime, to share your thoughts.

Until then,
Keep writing,
M
x

 

12 thoughts on “Novel Writing: Adding Humour to your Story”

  1. Good guidelines. Humor has always come naturally to me, but I know it doesn’t to everyone. You can also include humor via non-humorous routes. The person who says something and doesn’t notice it can be misconstrued (“Whose been in my drawers?”). And my grandmother was a person who didn’t understand humor at all, certainly not suggestive humor, but most humor in general. However, she did learn to laugh at jokes when others did, but then would go home and pester my grandfather to explain them to her. By the time he got done trying to do that, the jokes weren’t even funny to him anymore.

    Like you said, some characters are just naturally ones who would joke around and find humor in life, whereas others are naturally more serious and less likely to say funny things. Not because they don’t have a good sense of humor but just that it isn’t their personality.

    Have a laughable April Fool’s Day!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. For me, I feel like some of my story writing can be quite sarcastic sounding, which does give me a little giggle when I read it back😂
    I think its really important to make sure you use the right character though! I’ve actually read a couple books where its as if jokes have been thrown in with a very dry humourless character and its like.. What? 😅 Thanks for this post M! It was a very interesting read and gave me a few things to think about!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! Humour is THE hardest thing to inject into my WIP. It’s a serious story, but bangs the reader on the head a little too much with sombre moments. But, I’ve been getting a few lighthearted moments in by using the perspective of a 5 year old protagonist as the story opens – seeing situations from her childlike eyes, which seems to be resonating with beta readers.
    Thanks for the other tips – I particularly like the last one about noting what makes us laugh during day to day life.

    Liked by 1 person

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