The writer who can turn out stories or articles that make people laugh, or even simply bring a smile to the reader, are more in demand today than at any other time. If you are fortunate enough to have a natural ability to make people laugh, then put it to good use.
For the writer who feels he or she can contribute to the sum of human happiness, here are a few pointers on how to make a success of it.
1. The first thing to remember is that humour is subjective. What is funny to one person may easily leave another cold. This depends on both style and subject matter. There are two approaches you can take here. (A) Write stuff in your own style that makes YOU laugh, because if it amuses you then there will be a whole crowd of people out there with your sense of humour who will plug into what you're offering. Alternately (B) write humour that will appeal to a wide range of readers by choosing subjects that have universal appeal. For instance think of the trials of life: growing up; the childhood and teenage years with their growing pains and foolishness; married life; growing old. All have a wide appeal.
2. Humour is grounded, believe it or not, in the serious things of life and in those universal truths of life. Take, for instance, sit-coms like 'My Family', 'The Royale Family', 'Frasier'. They all deal with real, if exaggerated, life experiences. Bill Bryson has made a name for himself by writing humourously about his travels in both the US and England. He has taken his real life experiences and brought out the funny side.
3. When writing humour into stories remember that your reader should not be laughing AT your characters but with them. Taking your characters though embarrassing, unfortunate, even dangerous episodes requires that the reader feels sympathetic towards the character whilst at the same time laughing at the situation they are in.
4. When writing a story make sure you vary the plot by bringing in scenes of tenderness, pathos and seriousness every now and then. This will add a dynamism which takes the reader from the heights of hilarity (we hope) to the more down-to-earth and thoughtful scenes. Make the humour emphasise the pathos and vice versa. A story that goes from gag to gag from start to finish will lack the highs and lows that any story needs.
5. What makes people laugh the most? Someone slipping on a banana skin is practically top of the list. Or someone sitting on a deck chair which collapses. In such cases the observer, or reader, should be laughing at the comic element of the situation rather than the unfortunate person. Your humour needs to reach that spot in the heart and mind of the reader that makes them say 'That could have been me'. As well as making the reader laugh try to make them feel sympathetic and compassionate as well.
Whatever style of humour you have, there is an audience out there waiting for you, so go for it. Just watch where you're walking!
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