Humorous writing style

Humorous writing style

Also called a comic essay or light essay. White—among countless others. Share Flipboard Email. Richard Nordquist. English and Rhetoric Professor. Richard Nordquist is professor emeritus of rhetoric and English at Georgia Southern University and the author of several university-level grammar and composition textbooks.

Updated March 26, There must be something in it that prompts the readers to smile, chuckle, guffaw, or choke on their own laughter. In addition to organizing your material, you must search out the fun in your topic.

That's Funny! Quill Driver Books, "On the basis of a long view of the history of the humorous essayone could, if reducing the form to its essentials, say that while it can be aphoristicquick, and witty, it more often harks back to the 17th-century character 's slower, fuller descriptions of eccentricities and foibles—sometimes another's, sometimes the essayist 's, but usually both. Fitzroy Dearborn Publishers, "Because of fewer constraints, humorous essays allow for genuine feelings of joy, anger, sorrow and delight to be expressed.

In short, in Western literature the humorous essay is by and large the most ingenious type of literary essay. Every person who writes humorous essays, in addition to having a lively writing stylemust first possess a unique understanding that comes from observing life. Joseph C. Davis and J. You need a story, not just jokes. If your goal is to write compelling nonfictionthe story must always come first—what is it you are meaning to show us, and why should the reader care?

It is when the humor takes a backseat to the story being told that the humorous essay is most effective and the finest writing is done. The humorous essay is no place to be mean or spiteful. You can probably skewer a politician or personal injury lawyer with abandon, but you should be gentle when mocking the common man.

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If you seem mean-spirited, if you take cheap shots, we aren't so willing to laugh. The funniest people don't guffaw at their own jokes or wave big "look at how funny I am" banners over their heads. Nothing kills a joke more than the joke teller slamming a bony elbow into your ribs, winking, and shouting, 'Was that funny, or what?

humorous writing style

Dinty W. Writer's Digest Books, Finding a Title for a Humorous Essay "Whenever I've written, say, a humorous essay or what I think passes as a humorous essayand I can't come up with any title at all that seems to fit the piece, it usually means the piece hasn't really congealed as it should have.

The more I unsuccessfully cast about for a title that speaks to the point of the piece, the more I realize that maybe, just maybe, the piece doesn't have a single, clear point. Maybe it's grown too diffuse, or it rambles around over too much ground. What did I think was so funny in the first place? Writer's Digest Books, Morrison has a warm, engaging and humorous writing style. Reading The Craft is like having an intimate and meaningful conversation with Morrison herself. She writes in a way that informs, ultimately inspires and without a single word wasted.

The Craft is bursting with little gems of knowledge and wisdom such as:. We have to be able to think, concentrate and focus.

We must reply on the creative flow. I learned some new things and gained an even deeper understanding of somethings by reading The Craft. No matter who you are or what experiences in The Craft you have, undertake all activities and exercises in the book. I undertook all activities and exercises and they all benefited me. Each of the activities are designed to encourage personal growth and learning.

The only thing The Craft missed out is any reference or explanation of what a Book of Shadows is. It is an excellent reference book for moon phases, sun phases, days of the week, times of day, pagan festivals, plants, herbs, trees, magical tools, dream symbols, stones, deities and the Book of Law.

It is one that I will read again and reference regularly. Review soon, Antony I aim for posts on this blog to be informative, educational and entertaining. If you have found this post useful or enjoyable, please consider making a contribution by Paypal: Share on Social Media:.A man walks into a bookstore.

Our inherent desire to laugh motivates us to share funny YouTube videos and respond to text messages with an LOL or the iconic smiley face. This guest post is by Leigh Anne Jasheway. She has an M. She also teaches comedy writing and stand-up and is a part-time faculty member at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications. Follow her lajfun and accidentalcomic. You may think that when it comes to writing, humor is best used only in fiction or satire.

Both of these are also excellent reasons to incorporate humor in your nonfiction. As a communication tool, effective use of humor can humanize you, cementing your bond with readers. It can also help your work stand out in a crowded market.

humorous writing style

Trying to find the funnier side of things reduces the loneliness, rejection and stress of the writing life—and it boosts your creativity by challenging you to approach your craft in new ways. Even if your subject is a serious one, the subtle use of humor can both ease tension and provide a respite from difficult moments. Click here to Tweet and share it! The authors felt I could make the subject less uncomfortable for readers by lightening things up here and there.

The goal is to improve your writing by using all the tools available to you, including comedy.

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This may be because much of what makes Americans laugh today has roots in Yiddish humor, the language of which includes many guttural sounds—and the k and hard g are as close as English comes. The K Rule is a good convention for naming things and making word choices that will subconsciously or subtly amuse your readers. This tool is especially handy in crafting attention-grabbing titles or subheads. Roizen and Mehmet C. One simple way of doing this is to pair two like ideas in a list and then add a third, incongruent, idea.

This is one of the most flexible ways to naturally incorporate humor into your narrative. Now What?

humorous writing style

Let me predict a few things that will happen in the next year.Using the unexpected is the most common and easiest way to create humor in a mechanical level with words and sentences as well as on a story level. Below are ten examples I have used in presentations on humor.

Much of humor relies on context, background and style. However, these were all pieces that worked for me. Juxtapose two unlike words or say the exact opposite of what the reader expects, or misdirect to create a surprise.

I like this one because it shows two different ideas that I already like to make fun of: Fifty Shades of Grey and the concept of the writing being poor and grammar that is bad. Putting those two seperate but equal things together in a different context takes something familiar and makes it novel. Okay, so maybe I like this just because it has the Colin Firth version of Mr.

For me it is unexpected to compare Mr. Darcy, the fantasy hero of any romance I imagine in my mind to be compared with eco vampires.

Definition and Examples of Humorous Essays

Take this sentence apart. Either part on its own doesn't lend itself to humor.

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However, those two unlike ideas put together make it odd and odd often equals funny. The other thing that works well is how the two ideas are seperated.

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I like this because it's clever. The use of words create a double meaning and that is what creates the surprise. For me, it is hard not to smile. Here is another one that uses the element of surprise. The idea is opposite of what the reader expects. Sure, I like this because the Beatles and Star Trek is familiar. It is also clever because of the malapropism used.

The two unlike things put together in a novel way are what makes it funny for me. This one is cute and something we can relate to a parent having that talk with a kid but presented in a new and unexpected way.

It is not what I would imagine to match up with that picture either. This tells a story.We writers all have our heroes. Depending on your genre, personal taste, and even reading experiences that go back as far as grade school, your writing hero might be Edgar Allen Poe or Tolkien, Hemingway or Jane Austen, Mark Twain or James Patterson. My first being hitting my head on the top bunk bed until I faint.

She made it look so easy. The inside story, though, is that there was a carefully crafted method to her writing. Among other tips, she suggests three simple steps:.

With that as my foundation, I mapped out a schedule for turning out one column or blog post per week. Spread out over six days, I worked in time batches, which gave me some intermittent distance, which is so important to me.

And all writers agree that walking away from your work-in-progress is the only way to keep it fresh. One catches my eye and I start to write it.

How to Write Humor

A big fat waste of time. This is the most time consuming day. Schedule this day for when you can set aside some uninterrupted writing. Write to your desired length, get the flow right, compose it as close to a final product as you can. Write the bones and then put the flesh on. Write what you know. Make good use of exaggeration.

Be unpredictable. Now I focus on my lead.

humorous writing style

I already have one, because I wrote it on Day 2, but I experiment with new ones. If my original lead is decent, I try to make it better. Because this is the most important part of your piece.

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In addition to making it phenomenal, your lead must be funny. It absolutely has to be funny. You have to bring humor to the initial handshake. Henry Syndrome. I blame my background in newswriting, which taught me an inverted pyramid style writing, where there was no ending.

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So for me, Day 4 is tough. More often than not, I simply fail at writing a good ending quip and what I end up with is easily forgettable. But I keep trying. I go through the piece and I look for missed opportunities to make people laugh. Every sentence should either be laugh-out-loud funny or a lead-in to an outstanding punch line. I search for ways to use humor writing techniques like the rule of three, putting the punchline or funny words at the end of the sentence, exaggeration, antithesis, and just flat-out jokes.

Your readers will be too distracted, worrying about where the next mistake is. Before you publish, accessorize. Choose a photo to go with your blog post, write a short summary for promos, update your bio boilerplate to reflect the topic of this particular post, and construct a couple of social media lead-ins to your post link.A couple of years ago, I posted a portion of this list on my old WD blog around the same time we ran a great quote feature on 90 tips from bestselling authors in the magazine.

Recently, someone asked if I was still collecting quotes. And why? It cannot be done. Such is the basic goodwill contract made the moment we pick up a work of fiction. This has been a main point to my literary thinking all my life. Shakespeare has perhaps 20 players. As you get older, you become more skillful at casting them. Or, if proper usage gets in the way, it may have to go.

When not writing or rewriting, read. I know of no shortcuts. King, WD. There never have been, nor can there ever be. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story. The essence will not be, of course, the same thing as the raw material; it is not even of the same family of things. The novel is something that never was before and will not be again.

If they are not realities in your own mind, there is no mysterious alchemy in ink and paper that will turn wooden figures into flesh and blood. Get rid of every ounce of excess fat. This is going to hurt; revising a story down to the bare essentials is always a little like murdering children, but it must be done. What Rembrandt or Van Gogh saw in the night can never be seen again. You can do that in 20 minutes, and 15 inches. The story was short, mostly about the issue.

But Bearak had a fact that he withheld until the kicker.Humor comes in many flavors, any of which may appeal to one person but not to another, and which may be enjoyed in alternation or in combination. Here are names and descriptions of the varieties of comic expression:. A related type is broad humor, which refers to unrestrained, unsubtle humor often marked by coarse jokes and sexual situations.

Burlesque : Ridicules by imitating with caricature, or exaggerated characterization. The association with striptease is that in a bygone era, mocking skits and ecdysiastic displays were often on the same playbills in certain venues.

Farcical : Comedy based on improbable coincidences and with satirical elements, punctuated at times with overwrought, frantic action.

It, like screwball comedy — see below — shares many elements with a comedy of errors. Movies and plays featuring the Marx Brothers are epitomes of farce.

The adjective also refers to incidents or proceedings that seem too ridiculous to be true. Hyperbolic : Comic presentation marked by extravagant exaggeration and outsized characterization. Ironic : Humor involving incongruity and discordance with norms, in which the intended meaning is opposite, or nearly opposite, to the literal meaning.

Not all irony is humorous, however. Not to be confused with morbid humor see above. Parodic : Comic imitation often intended to ridicule an author, an artistic endeavor, or a genre. Screwball : Akin to farce in that it deals with unlikely situations and responses to those situations; distinguished, like farcical humor, by exaggerated characterizations and episodes of fast-paced action. Self-deprecating : Humor in which performers target themselves and their foibles or misfortunes for comic effect.

Stand-up comedian Rodney Dangerfield was a practitioner of self-deprecating humor. Situational : Humor arising out of quotidian situations; it is the basis of sitcoms, or situation comedies.

Situational comedies employ elements of farce, screwball, slapstick, and other types of humor. Slapstick : Comedy in which mock violence and simulated bodily harm are staged for comic effect; also called physical comedy. The name derives from a prop consisting of a stick with an attached piece of wood that slapped loudly against it when one comedian struck another with it, enhancing the effect.

The Three Stooges were renowned for their slapstick comedy. Stand-up : A form of comedy delivery in which a comic entertains an audience with jokes and humorous stories. A stand-up comedian may employ one or more of the types of humor described here.

Seven Steps to Better Writing Humor

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MW Dictionary has noun form, only! Great List! Excellent and timely article. I just completed an humorous anecdotal essay I rarely write humor [intentionally, anyway] but this was a special occasion. Due to that essay this list came in very handy. This article provides great descriptions of basic humor. Concise and precise. I got acquainted with humour and its different types that were so advantageous for my thesis. I do appreciate it! Say, like: My dog hates to go for walks with me, he keeps falling off the treadmill.

Not a good example.