How to Write Funny

Janet Evanovich is one of the few authors that has written a book that has made me laugh. And she has written several, some more laughable, some less, but her writing is still entertaining to read, and sometimes snort-out-funny. Reading her works made me think; what makes it funny? Is it the characters? is it the plot? or is it the scene and setting that makes it funny? the dialogue?

I don’t remember which book of Ms Evanovich’s many, but one piece of dialogue stuck with me: (I’ll try to remember it as accurately as possible, because I haven’t got the books here with me now)

“Maybe the second button doesn’t explode it. Maybe the beaver sings a song or something.”

“The button says BANG!”

“It could be mislabeled.”

It might not be that funny taken out of context, but it had me doubled over when I read the book. There are different sorts of funny of course. I wouldn’t put Douglas Adams Hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy and Janet Evanovich’s books in the same fun-category. Evanovich’s is more character-do-or-say-funny-stuff-or-behave-clumsily, while The Guide is more wittily (is that a word?) funny. If you could combine them, would you create a self-combustible novel that cracks everything up? or would it be a flat fall? Obviously you CAN try too hard at being funny. But where’s the line and how do you do it?

I’m currently trying to write a sort-of-funny novella or short story (don’t know how long it will be yet) called Off-piste, you can read it here (so far only two parts are up.) The premise is:
Jessica’s friend bought her a trip to the Alps as a birthday gift but unfortunately Jess is less than average on skis. Getting help from the skiing instructor is not really something she wants to do, especially not when he’s so cute and she is more prone to go freight train down the slopes rather than slalom.
Please tell me if I’ve failed. :S

I found this on writetodone:

Humour is a delicate balance of implausible and plausible.

Mathematically it looks like this:  [ T(x) = ½ Be!2×2 ]


T = the god’s Truth;

B = the belief system by which the Truth is made invisible;

e = the existential quotient discovered by Jack Kerouac in a Mexican cantina;

x = is what we don’t know (although Arthur Black claims to know it).

Oh, yeah, and the “!” is a graphic reminder how serious this is.

Head over there and read about How to Write Funny.