Have you ever wondered how to get ribs tickling and bellies shaking with laughter from your writing? Luckily for you, Mr Gum author Andy Stanton has shared his top 5 tips for comedy writers, as part of a series of features from Farshore authors for NaNoWriMo.
Andy Stanton’s top 5 comedy writing tips
1. Learn how ‘funny’ works
Read as many funny books as possible. Try to figure out why some are funnier than others. It’s hard to say exactly what makes something hilarious – but if you do your comedy homework it should give you some clues.
2. Find strange ways to describe stuff
Saying ‘Frank had a very painful headache’ is boring. Saying ‘Frank felt like there was a tiny angry pixie inside his head, whacking his brains over and over with a sledgehammer’ is way more fun, right?
3. GRAPEFRUIT! SNOOKER TABLE! OINK!
Some words just sound funny. Use words that sound bizarre. Or try making up your own. I’m always inventing weird words like ‘flurp’, ‘tungler’ and ‘nibblehead’ for my books. I don’t know what half of them mean – but they feel right.
4. Go extreme
Got a rubbish doctor in your story? Make them the worst doctor ever, covered in blood and completely hopeless! Or how about a story full of humans – but the town policeman’s a cat? Or even better – an ant? Imagine an ant trying to stop a bank robbery! Don’t be afraid to push your ideas to the edge.
5. Funny isn’t everything
Humour is just one tool a writer needs. Don’t forget about the other things: strong characters, a good plot, emotional bits, etc. The trick is not to make everything funny – but to work the funny stuff into a story that the reader can really care about. Do that and you’ll really be laughing!
About Andy Stanton
Andy Stanton lives in North London. He studied English at Oxford but they kicked him out. He has been a film script reader, a cartoonist, an NHS lackey and lots of other things. He has many interests, but best of all he likes cartoons, books and music (even jazz).
One day he’d like to live in New York or Berlin or one of those places because he’s got fantasies of bohemia. His favourite expression is ‘Good evening’ and his favourite word is ‘captain’. Andy has now written more than one book, but less than twenty.
You’re a Bad Man Mr Gum by Andy Stanton is currently the featured book in the fantastic Tom Fletcher Book Club, exclusive to WHSmith. Mr Gum himself has written a special blog post all about ‘Why Books is Completely Stupid an’ a Total Waste of Time‘ for WHSmith, and while we can’t say we agree with him on that, we’re sure his blog post will make you giggle.
Find out more about Andy Stanton and the wonderful Mr Gum books on the Mr Gum website.
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), is an annual, online creative writing project that takes place every November. Around the world, people of all ages try to write a 50,000 word manuscript between 01 and 30 November, while gaining support from other writers and NaNoWriMo participants. Find out more on the NaNoWriMo website.