How To Write Comedy – By Tanya Butler

Are you keen to get your audience giggling? Do you feel you have a lot of jokes to tell, or
hilarious situations you want to share with your readers? If you’re new to this genre and need
some useful pointers sit back and consider the below:
The Characters
Are all your characters joker types? are they all comic relief in some way or another? If so
you need to remember that story comes from conflict, if your characters share the same trait
then there cannot be appropriate conflict and the story falls flat. Look at polar opposites, are
there any opportunities to have a serious character or someone who just never gets the joke?
try your punch lines out to a friend or family member and see how they react, make notes
along the way.
The Setting
A goose working in a shop or a nightclub that solely plays nursery rhymes? If you were to
look at successful TV comedies, for example, they are typically created in believable, normal
settings. The idea is to create the boundaries and then the characters run amok. Too far the
other way and then you must exaggerate the characters just to balance out the norm. If you
have fully formed characters why not try and see how they’d cope in an environment outside
of the world you built?
The Dialogue
Not everything has to be funny, as mentioned above, you will need the conflict, you will need
that exposition or that ‘flat’ conversation just to balance everything out and that is perfectly
OK. Think of what makes you laugh, the sad stories your friends have told you where
they’ve been the butt of a joke and you’ve found nothing but comedy in everything they said,
what makes you tick will make your audience tick. Keep it true to what you know.
The Story
Is your plot starting to feel a bit too contrived or far-fetched? is the general direction
something you feel uncomfortable writing about perhaps? if so, go with your gut instinct, it is
likely going to be correct. How many stories have you read or heard where every single
action was funny? find newspaper articles, short stories, web comics and look to see how the
comedy is created, sometimes it’ll be dialogue other times it’ll be an action but you’ll see that
there must be a build up for the ultimate punchline(s) and the basis of that starts with the
Do feel free to share your tips on how to write for the comedy genre, I’d love to know what
you think. Hope this has been helpful.


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