017: How to Write Funny

How to Write Funny

Is Laughter Really the Best Medicine?

September 16, 2016

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IS LAUGHTER REALLY THE BEST MEDICINE?

I don't know, but I do suspect that laughter is a great way to get published. If you spend much time listening to acquiring editors or librarians or agents, you'll soon discover that humor is very much something they desire. Kids love books that make them laugh. Humans, in general, appreciate humor, even in the darkest times.

Unrelenting horror or pain is hard to survive, so being able to step outside it, even a little, to laugh can be life-saving. And readers will appreciate a story that allows them to do that. But for an author to find the way to do that takes a little understanding of how humor works.

In Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land, the alien character tries to understand laughter and comes to the conclusion that it's about pain and wrongness. In some ways, there is truth there. But, as a writer, I'm looking at humor as a technique and "pain" isn't really a helpful answer for me. So I began to look for what really makes something funny. What is a basic foundation of written humor that I can build on to lighten up my writing?

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Comments

Russ
October 18, 2016

Excellent informative podcast.

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