3 Things All Writers Can Learn From… Comedy

The latest in my “3 Things” series – this time the humorous genre.

1) Er… how to be funny

Yeah ok, I know this is obvious – but as I’ve mentioned in a previous full blog post, I think all stories no matter their genre or subject matter can benefit from humour. Even if it’s only a little bit. If your story is unrelentingly grim, your audience may find it too hard to finish. Not only that, humour is everywhere in real life, even in the most extreme and traumatic situations. It’s one of the primary ways we cope with dark times. And humour comes in so many different forms that you should be able to easily weave it into your tale. Whether it be a sarcastic line, a funny description, or a mountingly odd situation, there’s always a way to put the funny in your tale.

2) How to handle to the absurd

Comedy often revolves around extreme situations. Run-of-the-mill characters finding themselves in circumstances that most definitely aren’t run-of-the-mill. Comedy writers have to handle these circumstances with care. Push it too far and it’s outside the realms of credibility, don’t push it enough and you’ll miss that laugh-out-loud moment the reader will be telling all their friends about.

3) How to make a statement – without shouting

Big, important books that have “things to say” are great – but they can sometimes miss out on readers who’d appreciate the message if only the delivery was a bit less heavy-handed. Comedy, on the other hand, can be the perfect Trojan horse to get across subversive ideas and political commentary. Served up with a smile, your reader will get a laugh first and stop and think second. If used correctly, comedy can make profound points about the world that linger far longer than more serious works drama – think of “Gulliver’s Travels” or “Catch-22”.

So those are 3 things writers can learn from comedy – do you have any to add? If you enjoyed this, check out the rest of my “3 Things” series.

Related reads

3 Things Writers Can Learn from… Fantasy

Why You Should Write Outside Your Comfort Zone

Learn About Writing Stories From Super Mario (No, Really)

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