The Secrets Of Writing A Funny Novel

By on May 19, 2016

Injecting some humor into your novel, whatever genre you are writing in, can be a great way of engaging your reader, evoking an emotional response and drawing them further into your story.

You don't have to be writing a satire or comedy in order to add humor into your book. It works well in almost any kind of novel, providing light relief in thrillers or horror stories, adding another layer to romance novels, and making us warm to characters in almost any story.

However, writing humorously can be tricky. There is nothing worse than trying to be funny in your book, but falling flat. If this happens readers will be confused and distracted, and the 'funny' lines will stick out like a sore thumb. Remember, you don't have to write the cleverest, most hilarious book ever. You goal is not to have your readers in stitches, but making them smile, or even chuckle will help bring life to your book. So start slow, and follow these tips to understand the basics.

Funny writing is about making the reader feel comfortable, making them follow a pattern, and then misdirecting them with a clever punch line. Once way of doing this is known as the 'rule of three' where you put two similar, acceptable ideas together then add a third that is completely incongruous.

Use comparison to make your readers smile. A comparison joke is one where you use a metaphor for comedic effect. For example if you are writing about trying to lose weight you could compare loosing weight to being as tough as...[insert funny metaphor here].

Tell a story. We have all had funny things happen to us in our lives, use these experiences in your writing to make your reader laugh. Think about the way good comedians tell stories or anecdotes when performing and follow that style. Anything where you were embarrassed,  ended up in a ridiculous situation, or overhead or observed something that made you laugh - share this with your reader, or weave it into your story and you are sure to get your readers giggling too.

Use humour subtly. Every second line doesn't have to be a joke, instead use humour carefully, strategically and sparingly in your story. The focus should be on the fantastic story you have created so only use humour here and there to engage your reader and get their attention.

If you find it funny, chances are your readers will. Make it obvious that you are trying to make your readers laugh, show them it is OK to do so, so they are in no doubt about your intentions.

Our job as writers is to keep our readers entertained, and using humour is a great device to help us. So start out slowly, and give it a go - you'll soon get the hang of it and add a new dimension to your writing, one which will make your readers love you even more!


Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

Bethany Cadman -author of 'Doctor Vanilla's Sunflowers'

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