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As a big fan quirky funny books such as The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Universe or any of the late great Sir Terry Pratchett novels, I would love to be able to write humorous fiction. But writing funny stories is a lot harder than it looks and there is a bunch of interesting mechanics behind it. To learn more, check out the post by Jim Hardison at Writer’s Digest.
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This guest post is by Jim Hardison. Hardison has worked as a writer, screen writer, animator and director in entertainment and commercials since graduating from Columbia College of Chicago in 1988. He is the author of The Helm, which YALSA praised as one of 2010’s best graphic novels for young readers. He co-founded Character LLC in 2000 and has given story advice to many of the world’s largest brands, such as Target, Verizon, Samsung, McDonalds and Walmart, and has even appeared on NBC’s “The Apprentice” as an expert adviser on brand characters. Hardison lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife, two kids and two dogs. Fish Wielder is his first novel.
1. Know your genre well enough to play with it.
The genre of your story can be a rich source of humor writing. Knowing your category will give you endless material to parody and poke fun at. Start by making a list of the conventions, clichés and tropes of your genre so that you can choose which ones to turn on their heads in your story. You can even find readymade lists of clichés on the submission guidelines pages of magazines and publishers where they note things they don’t want to see ever again. For example, the scifi and fantasy magazine Clarksworld has a list here: http://clarkesworldmagazine.com/submissions/ that includes talking cats and swords.