How Amusing!

Is there a trick to writing humor? Yes, but I don’t know what it is. I can write humor but I don’t think I could ever teach someone how to do it. Either you were born with the ability or you weren’t. Or maybe you can teach yourself. Chances are if you have a sense of humor it will come out in your writing at one point or another.

The only bit of advice I would have is this: in order to be effective and actually make the reader laugh, humor needs to be unexpected. It needs to come out of left field. Maybe the reader is expecting one thing to happen and something opposite or off-the-wall happens instead.

I don’t write comedy, but all of my published stories so far have an element of humor that surfaces from time to time, usually in connection with a character that has a sense of humor. I love to create spunky heroines who blurt out whatever pops into their heads. Or sometimes it’s just their thoughts that are funny.

I didn’t set out to write humor; it just sorta happened. My wonderful critique partners would sometimes put smiley faces or LOLs on my pages when they critiqued them. And I thought wow, she thought that was funny? Cool! I often make myself laugh when I’m writing, but I wasn’t sure other people would. And like I said, it wasn’t intentional, just a side benefit as I was entertaining myself.

I have always enjoyed making people snicker and I do tend to have a dry sense of humor sometimes. But again, my focus isn’t humor. I love to mix it up and have everything in my stories including suspense, sexy heat, action and adventure, very romantic moments, emotional (tear jerker) moments, and humor. For me, that balance of elements makes the story more real.

One thing I love doing is combining humor and sensuality. Some people think this is impossible, but sex and humor can go well together if you handle it the right way. I just make sure my humor doesn’t diffuse the tension. I was happy to see that the reviewers for my novella, Kilted Lover, enjoyed my interweaving of sexiness and humor.

The Night Owl Romance reviewer said: Scott was really the perfect male hero and Leslie's actions and words sometimes had me laughing out loud as I read.

The LASR Whipped Cream reviewer said: The novel is filled with comedy (those wild car rides and the friendly advice) as well as snippets of imagined eroticism and finally, wild lust-filled sex that had me switching from a good laugh out loud to biting my nails in anticipation.

BookWenches: In this story, Ms. North gives us a hero and a heroine who are both entertaining and sympathetic. Leslie strikes a humorous chord from the beginning with her reaction to Scott, all but drooling over him at the Scottish Games, wondering if he wears underwear under his kilt, and daydreaming about the correlation between the size of his hands and feet and that of his sexual equipment.

Do you enjoy reading (or writing) humor? What is your favorite type and do you have any tips?
18 Responses
  1. Danica Avet Says:

    I love, absolutely love, humor in a story. When I find writers who mix the sensual with humor, I get all of their books.

    My problem is I crack myself up...constantly, but what I think is funny and what others think is funny...well aren't always the same. It's hard to make sure you're on point, but so worth it, I think.

  2. Carly Carson Says:

    I don't write humor on purpose, but I was surprised when my first book came out. All the reviewers mentioned the lol moments. I agree that it would be hard to teach "writing funny" but there are books out there that at least attempt to do so. I love authors who can be funny in a quick-witted way and I love heroes with a good sense of humor.

  3. Nicole North Says:

    Danica, I'm so glad you love humor. I do too. Some of my favorite authors have a slightly humorous tone to their voice. That's also true that there are different "senses of humor." My husband and I are that way. We don't always laugh at the same things, but sometimes we do.

  4. Nicole North Says:

    Carly, same here. LOL I didn't try to write humor. It just happened. Yes, heroes with a good sense of humor are wonderful.

  5. Lu Says:

    I don't write humour on purpose, but my cp's invariably comment on things that made them grin - gives me a thrill every time.

    I particularly like a bit of humour in the love scenes. I think it keeps things from being too heavy, and it makes the scene more real. I trust I'm not the only one who's laughed whilst in the boudoir?

  6. IMHO, humor must have a place in a well-rounded story. I love the ones that make me laugh out loud even as they make me keep turning the pages. My stories are set in Ireland and have Irish characters. Enough said. The slang alone makes me chuckle when I add it in.

  7. Nicole North Says:

    Lu, yes, it is a thrill when someone laughs (in a good way) at something we write. Humor in bed can be the most fun!

  8. Nicole North Says:

    Pat, that's true about the well-rounded story. What really gets me is when a book or movie makes me laugh and cry at the same time. Steel Magnolias did that to me and freaked me out because I didn't know it was possible. LOL! Yes, Irish characters are always entertaining.

  9. Maeve Says:

    IMHO, nothing's better than a juicy romance that not only stirs my heartstrings but surprises me by making me laugh out loud. I don't know that you can "tell" someone how to write such a thing. I think either they've got it or they don't. And I pray to the mighty writing gods that I've got it! :)

  10. I always enjoy finding humor in stories or when the author can take a situation and turn it on its side and catching you offguard. One thing I have never forgotten was Julie Garwood having her heroine on a boat and consider the crew as her staff. And it's been years since I read that story. That is what I would like to give to my readers - when I am lucky enough to have them. I do have a sense of humor and I know it comes out in my writing. Hadn't thought about those smiley faces my CP's put in there notes as compliments of humor.

    Great post, Nicole

  11. Great post, Nicole. I don't set out to write humor either, but I love to write sexy banter between my characters and it often ends up funny.

  12. I love humor in a story, no matter how serious the subject of the plot. There's always room for a touch of humor somewhere IMO.

  13. Nicole North Says:

    Maeve, I agree, juicy romance and humor go a long way in making a delicious story. I'm sure you do have it! :)

  14. Nicole North Says:

    Paisley, I agree. If an author makes me laugh until I have tears in my eyes, chances are I'm going to remember that scene or that instant of humor for a very long time. A laugh or snicker is like an author giving you an extra treat because it feels so good to laugh.

  15. Nicole North Says:

    Natasha, thanks! Oh yes, I love sexy, fun banter too!

  16. Nicole North Says:

    Caroline, absolutely! It seems that balance is needed in most cases, and adds to a story.

  17. You're not my teacher at the moment so I'm not really kissing up when I say this, but what you said to me in answering my post shows me how brilliant you are. :) Exactly as I feel when I find the humor. I'd so much rather smile, chuckle or out and out laugh than cry. Like Nicholas Sparks makes me cry and friend Anne-Marie said but he brings out the emotions - not the kind I want when I read... I've had enough of the sad kind and would rather spend my reading time smiling, chuckling or out and out laughing.

  18. Nicole North Says:

    Paisley, wow thanks!! Absolutely about NS. I was depressed for 2 weeks after watching the movie The Notebook. While I thought it was beautiful and well done, I never want to watch another of the movies based on his books and I could never read one of his books. I'd have to go on antidepressants. LOL

    There are times, however, when I do like to put emotional moments into my stories, like at the dark moment, but they're generally not sad and depressing. Just emotional. And of course I always need the happy ending!

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