Creating a humorous tale is an enjoyable experience that combines comedy and creative writing with an interesting and engaging literary format. Humor can ease the tension of difficult situations and bring people together through laughter, a useful subterfuge if the plot at hand is tense or disturbing. Whether you're writing a dissertation for school or simply want to tell an insane and funny story through a literary project, combining comedy with writing can help you express creativity and a sense of humor.
Part 1 of 4: Planning the short story
Step 1. Choose a scenario
Some writers prefer to plan the plot before choosing an environment, but in comic literature, humor is often based on situations. Before you start plotting the tale, consider where the story would take place and how you might extract humor from such a setting.
- Try to be original when choosing an environment. Readers may become uninterested in the work if they are too familiar with the setting, as they will feel that the story has been recycled.
- In short stories, the ideal is to keep as few scenarios as possible. Try to work within just one environment, and if that's not possible, don't use more than two.
Step 2. Invent a plot
The plot is the most important component of the story and covers what happens in the tale, who is involved and how the series of events unfolds.
- Most captivating stories have a beginning, middle, and end, and across this timeline a tension gradually builds, followed by the climax (the height of tension) and the unfolding that leads to the tale's end.
- Think about what element would be the source of drama or tension in the plot and try to work those factors into the chosen scenario for the story.
- Consider how the voltage source might work in the chosen scenario. For example, perhaps the environment heightens the tension or provides a comical situation that contrasts with where the events unfold.
Step 3. Plan the characters
Every story needs interesting and realistic characters. A funny tale should feature characters with comic qualities or who find themselves in amusing situations.
- How the characters are portrayed will depend on their unique personalities and circumstances within the story.
- For example, you could create an "idiot" clumsy character who runs into funny situations, or a sarcastic character who believes he knows everything but ends up realizing that he doesn't know anything about his own circumstances in life.
- Characters must be realistic and plausible. They must have feelings and opinions and react realistically to different situations in the story.
- Consider what types of characters could make the setting fun or vice versa. All elements of the tale (environment, plot and characters) must work together, blending in well with one another or creating funny and unexpected contrasts.
Part 2 of 4: Incorporating the mood
Step 1. Take humor from everywhere
Gathering all the things that the author finds funny in different aspects of life can be useful when planning the humorous aspects of the story. It could be something personal, political or cultural - anything you find funny. Make notes about the story (the plot itself), the situation (the theme of the story - for example, the dynamics of friendship), and why it is fun.
- Keep a notebook with ideas and inspirations. Write down funny things you see or hear or any ideas that come to mind.
- Don't be afraid to use humorous elements from your own life and the lives of friends.
- The short story doesn't have to be 100% autobiographical, but incorporating elements of embarrassing or funny situations from real life can add more personality to the work.
- Keep up with current events. The story may not be about world news or celebrity gossip, but you may be able to draw inspiration or even take plot elements from real, culturally relevant events.
Step 2. Have your own beliefs and opinions
Comedy requires a certain level of honesty on the part of the comedian, and the same goes for literature, so be honest with yourself as a comic short story writer. Before you sit down to write, you should have a definite sense of what you think or believe about the world, so humorous observations and writing in general will depart from their own element.
- You wouldn't tell a political joke to some friends without first taking a stand on the matter, so why try to be impartial in written humor?
- Don't use humor so aggressive that it alienates people who don't agree with you, but be aware of your position on certain issues so that you can find situational humor in them.
Step 3. Seek inspiration
This can be useful if you are having difficulty creating a funny tale. It can come in many forms, but the best way to find inspiration for such a project is to immerse yourself in other funny stories (both written and visual).
- Read humor stories. You can find them on the internet, at the library or at a local bookstore.
- Watch funny comedies and television shows. Although they are in a different format, these works can still provide inspiration.
- When watching or reading things that you find funny, try to analyze the author's mood.
- Consider why you find certain things funny and the techniques the author or screenwriter may have used to create the humorous elements of the text, looking for ways to adapt that style to your own writing.
Step 4. Learn how to create a joke
If you plan to incorporate real jokes into the text, familiarize yourself with the technique used by comedians. They are not mandatory, but you will need to craft them very well if you want to include them in the story. A joke should be unmistakably funny and shouldn't require the reader to rack their brains to make sense of it, and the ideal joke is laughable even before the reader has finished reading it.
- If you want to include a climax in the joke, remember to put it at the end. Otherwise, readers might get confused and won't understand where the funny part is.
- Try creating a list of two things that go well together and then adding a third item that doesn't seem to be related to the other two. This technique is known as the rule of three.
- Humor will start from the third element in the list, because this thing doesn't match the others or because it highlights some kind of truth.
- For example, you could write something like, "My doctor thinks I'm going crazy. He's told me to get more fresh air, get more exercise, and stop calling him at three in the morning to ask what's wrong with me."
Step 5. Use humor sparingly
This suggestion may seem strange for a funny story, but too much humor can ruin a tale. You don't want to shove comedy down the throats of readers, the text should be funny without looking like an onslaught of jokes.
- Remember that a funny tale still needs a working plot with realistic characters and dialogue. A funny story cannot be just an eternal string of jokes.
- Allow the humor to emerge from the settings, characters and situations, or some combination of them. If you try to force too many comic elements into the tale (even a funny story), the writing may sound tacky and artificial.
Part 3 of 4: Writing the short story
Step 1. Define the story elements early on
Throughout the stories, the reader must understand which characters are involved and where the plot unfolds, as well as having a certain idea of the subject covered by the plot. This is also true for funny tales, but with the addition of the humorous element. Don't leave readers guessing too long or they might give up on the tale.
- The beginning of any tale must set the scene and feature at least one character.
- Describe where the plot takes place, but try to make the description relevant. Find ways to extract tension or humor from the environment as much as possible.
- Consider how and when the humorous elements of the story developed and try to suggest a hint of what will happen early in the story.
- Remember that the beginning of the story must present something, whether it's an element of tension, a source of humor, or something that will be vital to the story later on.
Step 2. Make things complicated and funny in the middle of the tale
This is the point where things start to get complicated within the story. In a comedy tale, the middle of the plot also provides a fair amount of comedy or the strong establishment of a funny element to come.
- Probably the middle part of the story will also be the longest. Make the words count by making things interesting for one or more characters right now.
- The tension should complicate the protagonists' lives and form the basic arc of the plot.
- It usually arises from situations of conflict, usually between the protagonist and someone else, himself, nature, technology, society, God or gods.
- The author can incorporate a humorous element derived from the tension, or choose to include it as a kind of comic relief, which will accompany the tension so as not to make the text too serious.
Step 3. End the story with a short ending
You won't have many lines to create a long, sweeping ending if you're writing a short story. Things need to work out in a timely manner and the humor should kick in at that point (especially if the middle section was used to develop the humorous element).
- The tension needs to resolve quickly, and the mood can either arise from that outcome or simply accompany it.
- Try to create a concise ending. Keep in mind that while you're working on creating a humorous short story, you may need to reduce some elements to the essence of each.
- The end should be about a paragraph long and the reader will need to find some relief and a sense of humor in the closing sentence.
Step 4. Develop a realistic dialogue
Now that you've created plausible characters, you need to make them communicate realistically. In a quality text, readers can hear the dialogue and don't think to themselves, "This is a work of fiction."
- Think about the way people talk to each other. Read the dialogue in the text aloud and ask yourself, "Do people really say this sort of thing?"
- A good dialogue will push the narrative forward. Avoid being redundant or stating obvious things.
- The quality dialogues show very well each character's personality (including the way she interacts and treats other people).
- Don't fill the dialog tags (the actions that accompany the spoken lines) with details. For example, instead of saying, "What should we do?" he asked, looking nervously and compulsively at the floor, being careful not to look her in the eye, try something simpler like, "What should we do?" he asked without taking his eyes off the floor.
Step 5. Cover the subject completely and in a few lines
This is one of the most difficult aspects of storytelling. From the outside, creating a longer literary format (such as a book) may seem more difficult, but a good short story needs to accomplish the same tasks as a book within a much smaller space. All the elements need to blend together effectively at the end, and in addition, your short story needs elements of humor.
- Maybe you have great ideas for the plot of the story, but it's important to remember that when we're writing a short story, our space is limited.
- Be sure to explore or fulfill the core idea elements. The story should fully analyze the theme or ideas presented at the end of the story.
- You can eliminate non-essential elements and words to reduce the story.
- The idea will have been fully explored when you have said (directly or indirectly) everything you need to say about it.
- For example, an author will need a lot of space to adequately cover the complexity of human relationships. However, you could capture a moment between two people and write about some aspect of friendship (like forgiving friends for doing or saying hurtful things) within a short story.
Step 6. Focus on the essentials when writing
Writing a humorous short story can be difficult for an author unfamiliar with creating shorter works. Whether you want to summarize a long text or expand on a short plot, focus on the most important elements of the story.
- Some people prefer to create longer stories and then reduce them to a short story, as this guarantees a complete plot.
- Other writers prefer to start with a short plot and expand as needed. This technique makes it easy to create short texts and saves the writer the stress of having to decide what to cut in the final version.
- There is no right or wrong recipe for creating a humor tale, so do what works best for you.
- Whatever your approach, make sure the plot is complete, the ideas and characters well developed, and the humor delivered satisfactorily.
Part 4 of 4: Reviewing History
Step 1. Set the story aside for a while before reviewing it
The worst thing an author can do is immediately go to proofreading after finishing writing a short story. Writers need some time away from the project so that the work is not so fresh in their minds and (ideally) so that they are not so emotionally attached to every detail of the plot.
- After you finish writing, wait at least a week or two before reviewing the story. If possible, try to wait a month to be able to create significant distance between the plot and yourself.
- Consider asking a trusted family member or friend to read the story. Ask him to be honest and critical, and emphasize that he wants to know everything that isn't working well in the storyline and why.
- Reading the story with new eyes will help you find mistakes you may have missed. When the plot is fresh in your head, it's easy to fill in the blanks with everything you know without realizing that certain information has been omitted from the text.
- Also, it will be easier to eliminate story elements if you wait a while before reviewing the tale. Perhaps the author is in love with a scene but, after waiting for a few weeks, realize that it is not as relevant as he believed.
Step 2. Remember what you wanted to accomplish at the beginning of the project
What is the central point of the story? Did you try to highlight any real social situation? Did you try to address some aspect of human nature? Take humor out of personal situations and experiences? Regardless of your intentions, remember them before proceeding with the review process.
- By keeping the original intentions in mind, you'll know what you expected to do with the story, and you'll be able to assess whether or not you achieved that goal.
- Consider whether the tone of the plot matches your intentions and the general events of the tale.
Step 3. Clarify any confusing elements
This is an important reason to set the story aside for a while before reviewing it. When you've finished writing a short story, the author is less likely to find anything that might confuse the reader, however, you can find your mistakes if you give enough time.
- Confusion can arise from the content of the story (or lack of it), or it can result from a missing or poorly executed transition. Transitions must connect one scene to the next scene, the previous chapter to the next, and so on.
- A good transition ends the previous scene and smoothly guides the reader to the next scene.
- An example of a transition between two scenes could be something along the lines of: "He watched her in silence all night, until she disappeared into the darkness. The next morning, he continued to stare at the horizon, but he knew she was already there. halfway home".
- Ask a friend to review the story and try to find any details that are confusing or that don't make sense.
Step 4.Edit the story to fix the errors
Editing should be considered a separate step from proofreading. Reviewing the tale involves rewriting certain parts and eliminating elements that don't work well. Editing, on the other hand, primarily involves correcting spelling and grammar errors.
- Try to find spelling, grammar or syntax errors, sentences that are too long or fragmented, punctuation errors, and lines of dialog that are too weak.
- Use your computer's spell checker or ask a friend with a lot of editing talent to take a look at your short story.
- Try reading the story out loud. Sometimes it can be easier to hear an error when we speak it out loud than when we just read it silently.
- Do not give up! If you are having difficulty, take a break and start again.
- Remember that short stories are never perfect right away. A writer's work involves the deconstruction and improvement of his works.
- Ask a close friend, whom you trust and whose opinions you value, to read the story. Ask which parts he thinks work well and which parts need revision.