My theme for the Blogging from A to Z challenge is Creativity. Today we have a laugh courtesy of creative Jesters.
Please note: I’m heading out of town for the weekend for my god-daughter’s wedding. So I may not get to comments on other blogs for a couple of days, but will try. Have a great, fun and laugh-filled weekend!
We all love and need a good laugh as often as possible. And writing jokes or writing humor takes creativity. Delivering a joke, doing improvisation, performing skits (a la Saturday Night Live) takes a creative personality—and in many cases, training.
Many people may be funny at times, but it’s difficult to write humor.
In his blog post Four Commandments to Writing Funny, Joe Bunting says, “When I write, my core goal is not to be funny; my goal is to tell the truth in an entertaining way.”
I’ve often read that honesty is an important element to writing humor. (Of course, in all writing, an underlying truth is key.)
Alex Shvartsman is the editor for Unidentified Funny Objects, a sci-fi and fantasy humor anthology (have to admit, I haven’t seen much of that genre!). In this blog post, he gives five tips on writing humor. The first tip is that “Voice Matters.” (If you’re a writer, I’ll bet you’ve had this pounded into your brain, and may still be trying to figure it out.) For writing humor, Shvartsman says, “You can’t rely on the premise for all of your funny. Can’t let your characters be the comedians with humor confined to dialog, either. You have to let the narrative voice do much of the heavy lifting.”
He also discusses how humor is subjective. Like art, humor is a personal thing. What you think is funny may not tickle another’s funny bone. This one I came across made me laugh, maybe because my husband and I work in the tech industry:
Reaching the end of a job interview, the Human Resources Officer asks a young engineer fresh out of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, “And what starting salary are you looking for?” The engineer replies, “In the region of $125,000 a year, depending on the benefits package.” The interviewer inquires, “Well, what would you say to a package of five weeks vacation, 14 paid holidays, full medical and dental, company matching retirement fund to 50% of salary, and a company car leased every two years, say, a red Corvette?” The engineer sits up straight and says, “Wow! Are you kidding?” The interviewer replies, “Yeah, but you started it.”
I have some favorite comedians—Robin Williams, Jon Stewart and Steven Colbert (and their TV shows, to name a few—and one of my all-time favorites in Bill Cosby. Here is an older clip “Chocolate Cake for Breakfast” featuring his imitations of his five kids and his wife. It’s 9-1/2 minutes, but worth watching, IMO!
Do you have a favorite joke? Do you think writing humor is a natural gift or something that can be learned?
Humor in writing is important to me, whether I’m reading or writing. I can handle heavier material and even enjoy the serious and edgy, but humor adds a lot to a story.
Medeia, how are you at writing humor. I think I can be funny “live” but writing humor is another story for me! Thanks for reading and for your comment!
I agree, writing humor is difficult and an art in many ways. Can’t be forced or I stop reading. But when done well, it makes any story much more enjoyable. Thanks for the tips here, Linda.
Silvia, little humor can help round out characters, too. Thanks for your comment!
I get told that I have a funny way of saying something, when I say it. That gave me the idea that I could write humor. Was I ever wrong. Humor only comes to me by accident, and I know if I tried to be funny, I’d fail. I’m not sure if it’s something people are born with or if it can be learned, but I think it would be the hardest thing to write. For now, I’m sticking with something a little easier. 🙂 I love reading humor, though, because I love to laugh.
Debi, forced humor, whether in writing or live, just doesn’t work. I see that in some comedians when I’m watching stand up. Thanks for your comment and for the good wishes! 🙂
Forgot to mention– have a great time at the wedding.
Some of my favorite books are ones that add a little humor to them. Nothing over the top, but enough to make me laugh.
Patricia Lynne, YA Author
Patricia, I agree, I don’t like “over the top” humor in books. Then it seems forced. But then, one children’s writer Bruce Coville really knows how to write humor for kids. Thanks for reading and commenting!
Hope you have a wonderful time at the wedding! 🙂
Thanks, Michelle! 🙂