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So how does one exactly craft a truly humorous book?

Discussion moved to this forum by Amazon on Nov 25, 2012, 6:21:36 AM PST.

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Showing 1-25 of 108 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 11, 2012, 2:20:44 PM PST
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Posted on Jan 13, 2012, 5:45:41 AM PST
[Deleted by the author on Jan 13, 2012, 10:36:06 AM PST]

Posted on Jan 24, 2012, 1:51:19 PM PST
Yonderlander says:
Most of all, be funny.
Cross Draw: A Crucial Fiction of Record

Posted on Jan 25, 2012, 4:11:57 PM PST
Yonderlander says:
Write funnily!
Cross Draw: A Crucial Fiction of Record

Posted on Jan 27, 2012, 12:58:24 PM PST
Be honest with what you write. If you write something "shocking" have a reason for it. Have someone read your book, if they're smiling that's good. If they laugh, you have a funny book.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012, 2:39:03 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Aug 4, 2012, 6:11:59 PM PDT]

Posted on Jan 28, 2012, 7:39:39 PM PST
norm cowie says:
If you sit in jello, you feel. funny. Makes it easier, but you have a mess to clean up later.

Posted on Jan 28, 2012, 7:46:02 PM PST
norm cowie says:
I was just funning with my last post, but there are essentially two ways to write a book, following a carefully crafted outline or spontaneous. A lot of my friends are disciples of outlines, but I think the true genius of humor comes from when the author is surprised by his own writing. So I say, you sit and write. And when you edit, ask yourself, is there a funnier way to put that? Works for me.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2012, 12:35:39 AM PST
Last edited by the author on Feb 11, 2012, 12:39:11 AM PST
Mike Cyra says:
You know how many of those little jello boxes I would have to open to make a big enough splotch of solidification for me to sit in it?
I mean, I'll do it! But um, I was...Have you actually done this? Does it really feel funny?
Don't get me wrong man, I'll do it, for sure if it's funny, I just wanted to, you know, make sure and all.

Am I supposed to insert a product code here?? Cause I'll do it man, you know if it's funny and all. I'll do funny man. You know?
Emergency Laughter

Posted on Feb 13, 2012, 9:49:55 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 13, 2012, 10:27:23 AM PST]

Posted on Feb 13, 2012, 6:53:51 PM PST
LH Thomson says:
When I write, I always write with a "character voice" narrating each part in my head, usually some movie star. Maybe this works with comedians. Well, that and weed.

Posted on Feb 23, 2012, 3:38:06 AM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Nov 15, 2013, 12:51:19 AM PST]

Posted on Feb 28, 2012, 7:17:46 PM PST
I find (and this is just my personal experience) that the best humour comes from dialogue.
I can describe a scene to make it as amusing as possible - when doing this I try to use timing to maximum effect, and the shock value of the occasional swear-word,as in:
I opened it - inside could be the answer!
All my hopes and dreams, everything I could ever want -
But it wasn't.
It was green.
They'd sent the wrong one... again.
The bastards!

I know, not crazy funny, but just an example of how to use timing to create a similar effect to a comedian delivering his punch-line, and a slight shock to surprise the reader into (hopefully) laughing! I made this up on the spot (quite clearly!) so please don't judge my work by this exercise!

But my favourite tool for comedy is dialogue. You can put words into a character's mouth quite easily, and fine tune them to perfection. But you need a foil - another character for them to play off, like the supporting cast in a movie. It's hard to get a laugh from what one person says alone - even the best 'one liners' rarely cause someone to laugh out loud. You have to build it up in an exchange of dialogue, getting the characters to build up the two roles in the joke - they have to have opposing views on the subject of course, as comedy, like drama, is based in conflict.
"You do it."
"No, YOU do it."
"I'm not doing it!"
"Well I shouldn't have to do it!"
"Okay, I'll do it."
"Really? You're actually going to do it?"
"YES! Alright? I'm doing it. See?"
"Ah. Um, you probably shouldn't have done that..."


Posted on Feb 28, 2012, 9:36:23 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Feb 29, 2012, 12:39:16 PM PST]

Posted on Mar 5, 2012, 7:34:25 PM PST
Stephen P. says:
Carl Reiner once said "If you can't write it with a straight face, it isn't funny." I find this to be true, just as a standup comedian who laughs at his own jokes isn't usually funny (there are exceptions to every rule).

Posted on Mar 7, 2012, 1:15:59 PM PST
writerdick says:
Rely on the reactions of others or seek the counsel of truely funny authors like Christopher Moore. His book Lamb is, in my opinion, the funniest thing ever written. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal
Reading funny books generally helps as well. The last one to make me laugh was just recently, My God Can beat up your God by J.S. Dick. My God Can Beat Up Your God

Posted on Mar 10, 2012, 5:38:47 AM PST
Juggy says:
Write what's inside. Be real and it'll come out :-))

Posted on Mar 10, 2012, 6:09:31 AM PST
Funky Fred says:
I like using scarcasm to help add humor. But that means that you must have a character who uses a lot of scarcasm and is just like that person who always has something scarcastic to say about everything. That is what i do anyway. IDK if that helps at all but good luck

Posted on Mar 11, 2012, 4:43:58 PM PDT
R. Ballister says:
I think the downfall of a lot of humor writer wannabees is that they try TOO hard to "be funny." Just write about what happened, in your own style. Use descriptive words, and try and capture the dialogue. If it was funny then, it can be funny again, but don't overdue it.

And for crying out loud, lay off toilet humor. So overdone, and usually gross.

My two cents. Best of luck all.

Oh, almost forgot...


God Does Have a Sense of Humor

Posted on Mar 13, 2012, 9:29:29 PM PDT
Andrew Kelly says:
First off? I'm a New Zealander - so use British English?
So nope! I'm not dislux ... dyslex ... I can spell stuff, okay? Just in my own country's way.
My first post here: If'n you want to write humourously? [See that spelling?] Then ... write about stuff that makes 'you' laugh.
That's it I reckon.
No ... really I do.
Reckon It's about that easy - and that d"mned hard!

Posted on Jun 7, 2012, 12:28:32 PM PDT
I'm with Tony. Dialogue and banter can bring a book alive

Posted on Jun 7, 2012, 6:10:32 PM PDT
Maura Stone says:
I'm with several people who already gave terrific advice. There's one other thing I learned while growing up amongst jokers (professional comedians): comedy has a beat, a rhythm, a timing, a cadence that you have to feel. Otherwise, it'll fall flat. And yes, comedy is damn hard.


In reply to an earlier post on Jun 7, 2012, 9:09:14 PM PDT
Set it up so the reader is guided toward a predictable, mediocre punch line then surprise with the unexpected.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012, 9:15:49 AM PDT
Hooray! Someone agrees with me! I might have to make a note of this in my diary :0)
I think dialogue drives most books - not all of course, especially if there's a particular reason for a book being dialogue-lite - but by and large, the dialogue of a story is where we learn to love (or loathe) the characters. What better place that to stash the comedy - put it in the mouths of your characters, to make them seem funny rather than you as the omniscient narrator. Well, maybe?
And I know it's a cheap shot, but I use swear-words.
Preferably loads of the buggers!
Always puts a smile on my face.
Like a magic marker.
That'll put a smile on anyone's face.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 8, 2012, 2:53:36 PM PDT
I'm not allowed swear words. (Actually, my published did allow a 'bl**dy' thorough, but he did see that a cracking joke would be ruined without it.)

I've been accused of over use of dialogue, but a lot of my readers love it too
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Discussion in:  Meet Our Authors forum
Participants:  51
Total posts:  108
Initial post:  Jan 11, 2012
Latest post:  Nov 25, 2012

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