If you’ve ever witnessed a comedian bomb during a stand-up comedy routine, then you’re aware of how difficult it is to write and execute comedy well. It’s not easy to pull off comedy, whether through a live performance, film, or literary work. 

If you are an author with a unique gift for interspersing comedy into your writing, that is wonderful. Most writers, however, are challenged when attempting to interject a comedic bent and an element of surprise into their writing. To learn more about using comedy in writing, read on!

The Importance of Comedy in Literature

Who among us couldn’t use a little levity in our lives? That’s why a cleverly written comedic book, whether it’s fiction or nonfiction, can be so refreshing. It gives readers license to laugh their heads off, and just takes the harsh edges off of reality for a bit. A witty author can combine their oddball musings with just the right mix of words, cadence, and a sense of humor to tickle our funny bones and brighten our day.

Consider Helen Fielding’s highly successful Bridget Jones’s Diary comedic trilogy. The books, written in a diary format and loosely based on Pride & Prejudice, showcased the romantic misadventures and career mishaps of a slightly overweight single gal residing in London. The humble antics displayed by the fictitious protagonist spurred guffaws and giggles around the world. We love to read comedy because it allows us to laugh at ourselves and everyday life.

How to Write Comedy Into Your Book

Alas, to actually write comedy is not an easy feat. Hopefully, these helpful tips can get you started on your comedic literary project:

Know your Audience

First, you must consider who your reader is. A five-year-old and a thirty-five-year-old will have vastly differing opinions about what they think is funny. Knowing who your target audience is allows you to write comedy that resonates with and entertains them. When you’ve identified who your reader is, it also informs you of their expectations, which gives you the perfect opportunity to throw them curveballs and surprise them.

Develop Comedic Characters

Learning how to write comedy starts with creating a hilarious character and then placing them in situations that are bound to result in all sorts of silly escapades. Make your character multi-faceted by giving them a serious, compassionate, or scary side in addition to their humorous side. Add some flaws or defects and now you have an intriguing, endearing main character. 

Create a Hilarious Plot

Remember to first identify the comedic premise when formulating a plot for your book. What situation or event does your protagonist find himself or herself in that invokes laughter? Then use subversion to throw the reader off track, challenging their pre-existing expectations. 

Don’t attempt to write non-stop comedy, as that would get old fast. Instead, balance the comedy with some dramatic twists. Structure your plot using three basic elements: Introduce the characters and the problem, add some intensifying mayhem and confusion, and then provide a resolution. 

Comedy Writing Exercises

When you set out to insert some comedy in your writing, try these writing exercises to get the creative juices flowing:

  • Wordplay. Create a list of homophones, homonyms, and puns, and use them to write a short story or a scene.
  • Joke Writing. Create a list of set-ups and punch lines, and then use those as raw material to generate as many jokes as you can come up with.
  • Improv. Set a timer for five minutes and then write a scene without stopping or editing. Then, read it out loud to see if it’s actually funny.
  • Parody. Choose a well-known story or character and write a parody version of it.
  • Observational humor. Go people-watching and make some notes of any funny behaviors, quirks, or things you overhear them say. Use these observations as inspiration for your comedic writing.
  • Character voices. Choose a few unique character voices and write a scene with dialogue between them.
  • Cross-genre writing. Combine two genres that don’t typically go together (e.g. horror and romance or sci-fi and comedy) and write a short story or scene.

The Art of Comedy in Writing

Using comedy in writing effectively is most definitely an art form. In fact, well-executed comedic writing definitely ranks as masterpiece material. Successful comedic writers understand that for a story to work it must include the following elements:

  • Attention to timing and pacing
  • The use of irony and satire
  • The power of exaggeration
  • The role of surprise

Self-Publishing Comedy

If you have a knack for humor, satire, or a sly wit, why not take a stab at writing a comedy book? Whatever the genre — a memoir, a self-help book, an offbeat romance, or even a mystery — your readers will appreciate any excuse you give them to laugh. 

Fortunately, self-publishing comedic literature is a breeze. Finish your manuscript, do some self-editing, pass it off to a professional editor, have a book cover designed, and upload it to a bookseller platform…Voilà!

Work with Gatekeeper Press Today

Remember, you are not alone in your self-publishing journey. Partner with the editing professionals at Gatekeeper Press to receive support and guidance through the entire self-publishing process. Contact us online or schedule a free consultation today!