Humor. Ah, yes, that little word that can be scary for some people.
When it comes to humor in fiction, it can be either a hit or miss. Like people have varying taste in humor that not everyone will get. But humor is subjective in that manner.
Still, when it comes to adding comedy in your stories, you can either have people burst into tears from laughing too hard or make people confused or even hear the sound of crickets.
Then there are some people whose stories don’t have a shred a humor and takes itself too seriously. Why is that?
Then there are other stories where there is humor, but it is tossed in at the “wrong” time and place when there was no need for it.
For me when it comes to humor, I do not know how to handle it properly. I am not as funny as I think I would be and not everyone will get my sense of humor. Plus, it is hard to add humor to my fiction because I need to figure out if my characters have a sense of humor that is totally different from my own. That is a slight topic for another day.
Anyway, I find that adding humor and making people laugh is something that I can’t really do well especially in fiction. Not everyone can crack a joke that they find good or pull a silly yet funny prank that will cause other to burst out laughing.
Humor can be hard for some writers to do. I should know because I am one of those few.
What do you think? How do you execute humor in your fiction?
How good are you at making people laugh or even snicker?
Lend me your thoughts.
If you don’t have a great sense of humor, how will you give your characters one?
That’s just my writing style lol. My characters are pretty sassy and are used to the situations they get thrown into so the “ugh here we go again” thing and taking the piss out of fantasy stories in general works for my stories. If I had characters who were in this situation for the first time and weren’t a bit pessimistic and were obviously terrified instead of deflecting with humour, the entire tone of the story would be VERY dark. Despite the dark plot points still being there, the humour just adds a little more personality. It’s subtle but it’s there and it works.
Overall, it really depends on the tone of the story, how your characters react to things, their personality. Sometimes humour works, other times it just doesn’t fit with the story.
That would come down to genre, style, plot, characters, intended audience, etc. There’s no one “proper” way novels are being done. There’s lots of different things you can work/experiment with.
I once wrote a book that was intended to be nothing but a silly, ridiculous farce about the middle ages. I needed to write it for my mental health because the book before that had been almost traumatizing to write, and I needed something to bleach my brain. ﾍ( ´Д`)ﾉ
Whether anyone else would like it I have no idea, but don’t really care. It was something I needed to do at the time, and I may revisit it in the future and write a sequel if the need ever arises again. ¯\_(ﭢ)_/¯
But I wouldn’t put humor in every single book since it would be out of place in some of them. (♯^.^ღ)
I’m generally a good, humored person and I have a really hard time not being humorous. Even when talking/writing about my own tragedies, I always try to find the comedic shine to it, to the point that some may find it disturbing (“why would you laugh about something like that”). It’s only when I can’t laugh at something that things become really serious.
So, with this in mind, it’s actually harder for me to put a serious or gruesome tone onto tragic situations. Most of the time it’s written in a comedic tone, even if what’s happening is anything but funny.
As with people’s opinions on it, it’s not something I worry about. Humor is subjective, some people won’t like it. That’s fine by me. I know someone out there will share my humor, and those are the ones I want reading my stories.
But tbh, adding any kind of humor to a story tends to be a good addition. The humorous back-and-forth in Game of Thrones, for example, was an epic light-hearted relief in between scenes of absolute brutality and sadness. But there are some stories that work without humor that come to mind.
IMO, my tip for introducing more comedy in your story (if that’s something you want to do) is to try to see how others apply comedy to similar works. What were the jokes they used? How were they applied? What do you like about it, and what don’t you like?
I try to do it as naturally as possible. Sometimes I even use it unintentionally. The thing about humor is that it’s possible to be funny without intending to be funny, and that’s one thing I like to use when writing: writing funny situations when the characters themselves have zero intention of being hilarious.
I personally find this kind of humor easier to execute than characters telling jokes or pulling one-liners. When characters tell jokes and stuff, it can come off as forced, plus I’m not much of a joker myself.
I’ll give an example. So for context, the characters below have been literally dragged to a forest by a strange force, and are unable to get out without being dragged back. This scene describes one of their first reactions after coming across a creepy, abandoned building that was behind them the whole time.
The paragraph above got a lot of laughing reactions. Of course, the character wasn’t trying to be funny at all. But was it funny? It is according to some people.
I can’t judge myself accurately. I mean, my family has described my humor as “intellectual”—a nicer way of saying “boring”—and corny. However, judging from the reactions I’ve gotten so far, I guess I’m not too bad at it. Sometimes people laugh at passages I’ve written that I had no idea were hilarious, and other times they don’t visibly chuckle at situations I found funny.
Give them a personality. Or an attitude. Probably both I don’t have the biggest sense of humor but I have one character who does: a literal talking book that can teleport and is forced to obey its owner’s every command. I just gave it a personality instead of making it a doormat for my main character to boss around, and not only do people find it funny, but it’s actually become an audience favorite.
I’d say, worry less about being funny and focus more on how your characters act in your books, because there could be a funny scene in there that you haven’t realized.
For some of my stories, I go full-out, bonkers, ‘what the actual fuuuuu is going on’ humour, which I love. A bit like if Douglas Adams wrote HitchHikers on psychedelics. In a couple of stories, it’s more subtle, Wodehouse-type word play.
But when my stuff is serious, it’s serious! ~angry face~
Of course I do humor in my stories–well toned down, usually.
The thing is that humor is subjective. My “most avid reader” is my husband, and he mostly is amused where I put traces of my own humor, so I know it isn’t falling apart with “the intended audience”, on any given day. But to be obvious humor for the masses, it’s got to be a lot more “timed”.
So, it would probably be better for me to grab humorous moments with their set-up to try to explain what’s going on, and that really gives away too much of the story sometimes.
My writing humor is very confrontational and self-deprecating. I execute it through banter-type dialogue, exaggerated real-life scenarios, and a whole lotta weird metaphors and similes. A lightness that comes with not taking humor seriously needs to shine through; otherwise, it feels forced. But I enjoy writing funny moments, lines, and stories very much!