I have always found humorous writing difficult. When I first read the Redwall series by Brian Jacques, my attempts to replicate his comic songs and characters resulted in unimpressive sludge. Even today, when I read Gillian Bronte Adam's delightfully light-hearted posts, I wish I could write like that.
So how does one write winning humor?
Given that I'm not all that successful at it, my opinion may be unhelpful, but I believe there may be some small merit in "experience by failure." With that said, here are three ways to approach writing humor.
Greetings, and welcome to the Dr. Fiction Show! I’m your host, Dr. Fiction, and today our guest is Punctuation Society’s favorite: Comma! Welcome, Comma.
Thanks for having me. I must say, I am gratified at the number of times you used my services in your opening comments.
Well, I have a reputation to maintain. I understand you do as well.
I used to have a decent reputation. It’s getting tarnished these days. I must be picking up some of the bad habits of my cousin, Apostrophe.
Can you give an example of what you do—at least, what you are supposed to do?
Welcome to the Dr. Fiction Show! Today we are interviewing a representative from the Punctuation Society: Apostrophe! Welcome, Apostrophe.
Thanks for having me, Doctor.
Apostrophe, I understand that your appearances lately have included both legal and illegal performances. Can you tell me a little bit about your legal work?
Dr. Fiction interviews the Invisible Man from H. G. Well's story, and discusses the unique psychological advantages of a villain whom no one can see.
Question: Why do you think unseen villains are effective in creating a sense of horror and suspense?
Dr. Fiction interviews the Witch King of Angmar from the Lord of the Rings, and discusses the strategies for increasing a villain's creepiness factor: disfigurement, masks, and other props or features.
Question: What do you think increases a villain's creepiness?
Dr. Fiction interviews two villains from the School of Schmoozers, a style of villainy that uses charm and attraction to deceive the heroes.
Question: Why might this type of villainy be effective in a story?
Dr. Fiction interviews Loki of The Avengers, who represents a school of villainy in which the villains have relatable vulnerabilities--unhappy childhoods, secret fears, and more.
Question: What makes a vulnerable villain so effective?
Dr. Fiction interviews Count Rugen of The Princess Bride, and discusses the philosophy of the decorous villains who are calm and controlled under all circumstances. Villainy is, as Count Rugen puts it, still a "gentleman's sport."
Question: What other popular villains exemplify this control?
Dr. Fiction interviews Cinderella's Stepmother, who believes in the movement to "refine villainy."
Question: What advantages are offered by creating a villain who, rather than reveling in ugliness and darkness, craves beauty and comfort?
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