In the words of Cosmo Brown:
MAKE ‘EM LAUGH.
With all of the sadness, negativity, and struggle that you put your characters (and YOUR READERS) through, please, make them laugh–or, as Joss Whedon said, “Make it dark, make it grim, make it tough, but then, for the love of God, tell a joke.”
Laughter in fiction is a bonding agent. Think about your closest friend, dearest family member, and remember what made you both so close. Did one of you tell a joke or release a snarky comment, and the other laugh? More often than not, people have come together because of humor and wit. People love to laugh, they love to feel happiness, and we as writers love to give our readers such comforts (after we rip their souls out, of course).
Giving your readers funny moments in the text serves the same purpose as Cosmo Brown in Singin’ in the Rain, as Xander Harris in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, as Ron Weasley in Harry Potter. You can manifest this humor in a witty sidekick, in a snarky narrator, in a barrage of circumstances that are too hilarious to be handled. Think about a fictional character who’d make a great best friend–choose from fiction, movies, television, comic books. Who tops that list? Why? BECAUSE THEY’RE HILARIOUS.
Below are some cool articles, websites, and recommended books to share. Being funny isn’t easy, but when you craft the right character for the right story, their own personalities fly off the page.
- Psychology Check: The Science of Laughter from Psychology Today
- The Guardian: Highest Functions of Brain Produce Lowest Form of Wit
- In other words, you need to be smart to understand and produce sarcasm!
- HowStuffWorks: How Laughter Works
- All Indie Writers: Make Your Writing Funny: Creating Humorous Fictional Characters
- Stand Out Books: Writing Funny Characters That Actually Make People Laugh
- Writers Write: Seven Steps to Better Writing: Humor
- Huffington Post: 46 Hilarious Books Guaranteed to Make You Laugh Out Loud
- Note: Some of these books are nonfiction/memoir, but funny’s funny, right?
- Vivien Recommends: Anything written by Gail Carriger. From the Parasol Protectorate to the Custard Protocol and everything in between, Gail is HILARIOUS.
- Vivien Also Recommends: Warlock Holmes: A Study in Brimstone by G. S. Denning. I was laughing within the first minute of reading. An EXCELLENT read.
- Also check out the funny tag on Goodreads!
A Final Bit of Advice:
Read and write–then read and write some more. (Standard practice for any writer worth his/her salt.) The more humor you enjoy, the easier it’ll be to put it on paper. And keep it simple–what makes you laugh will likely make others laugh. Is your sense of humor hard to digest? Then it’ll accompany the character you craft with that sense of humor. The fact that a character is unfunny can be funny. (Is “unfunny” really a word?!)
Just remember Cosmo Brown: MAKE ‘EM LAUGH!