I’ve been told that I write funny but if you ask me to give you a set of rules on how to write humour, my mind would go blank and my fingers would freeze in mid-air over the keyboard. The only principle I could spout off-hand is Exaggeration. Period.
My favourite humour-writers are Erma Bombeck and Kevin Cowherd. I used to flip first to Erma’s Light Housekeeping column in the Good Housekeeping magazine. She had a knack for making mundane things funny. The Star used to run Kevin Cowherd’s syndicated articles several years back. I cut out the ones which I liked and studied how he wrote. I had also printed out articles from the Internet on how to write humour.
But when I sit down to write, I don’t have a check list to guide me. I have a rough idea of what I want to write and I’ll knock out the first draft which usually turns out dry and disorganized. It is only in the rewriting that ideas come and funny connections materialize out of the blue. On dreary days when my mind needs a dose of creative steroids, I’d start surfing the net on how to write funny. Today is one such day. I’m linking the how-to articles here so I can easily access them when I need booster shots in future. You may find some gems in there to help you come out with LOL lines.
- Dave Barry on humour
- How to Write Funny Fast! By R.A.Murphy
- How to Write Funny — It’s All About Timing by Sarah Smiley
- Using Humour in Your writing by Jennifer Stewart
- Dilbert on Writing Funny
- Seven Steps to Better Humor Writing By Jan Hornung
- eHow to write humour
To a certain extent, humour lies in the mind of the reader. What a ten-year old finds rib-tickling may be unfunny to a twenty-year old. What a Harvard scholar finds amusing may puzzle someone with a secondary education. Having said that, I put it to you that the humour that cuts across strata is the type that pokes fun at the familiar. Lat’s cartoons for instance.