Writing Humor

Not all funny bones are created equal. Some prefer situational comedy or farce; others like puns or wordplay; for others, high comedy with its witty satire is the way to go.

For the past six months, I've been writing humorous fiction for the most part, and it's been a fun change of pace. Getting back to my roots, in a way. The first novel I ever wrote was Double Murders Are Twice as Bad, with Westward, Tally Ho! following close behind. After wrapping up edits on my Interdimensionals trilogy earlier this year, I shifted gears, taking a break from dark, speculative fiction to focus on my medieval comedy Uncommoner: A GrimFarce. I had a blast with that one and plan to release it in eBook, paperback, and audio early next year. Next up was Murders at the Manor, with more subtle humor. I've passed the 50K mark on that one, which was my goal from the start, and I'm working on the final chapter this weekend. AGROTHARN the Interstellar Semi-Barbarian is far from subtle; it's full-blown farce taken to the level of gonzo madness. I've passed 50K on that one as well and should have the first draft done at around 80K by February.

So, how do I go about writing humorous tales? Pretty much how every episode of The Office was written: put quirky people in awkward situations. Like all of my stories, I start out with well-defined characters, dump them into a complex plot-pot full of the unexpected, and turn up the heat. Then I let them play off each other and see what happens, always with the goal of furthering the story—not just connecting the dots from one hilarious gag to the next; that kind of comedy bores me, and my readers deserve better.

Do I succeed? For those who get my sense of humor, yes indeed. For those who don't, not so much. As with anything, you can't please everybody. But that's okay, because this world would be far less interesting if we all had identical funny bones.
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