I am very excited to have Leila Sales, the author of Mostly Good Girls here at the blog today with a fun guest post! You can visit Leila on the web at http://leilasales.com/
4. HUMOR WRITING – PART THREE
So we’re talking about humor writing, and how to be able to do it TOTALLY EFFORTLESSLY. Or at least a little bit effortlessly. So far on this blog tour, I’ve talked about the importance of agreement and using gifts. On to another handy weapon for your arsenal of hilarity:
3. RULE OF THREE.
The rule of three is simply this: Things in threes are funny. Things in twos are not funny. Things in fours are not funny, either. Things in threes are. There is probably a psychological “reason” for this, but I don’t know what it is.
One way to use the rule of three is “big, bigger, biggest.” Like, “We’re going to make one hundred dollars!” “No, we’re going to make one thousand dollars!” “Nuh-uh, we are going to make one hundred billion dollars!”
The other way to use the rule of three (and my preferred way—again, I don’t know why) is “normal, normal, weird.” With the first two items in a list, you give the reader expectations for what the third item is going to be. And then you proceed to totally subvert those expectations.
Roughly eighty percent of humor is just leading your audience to expect something, and then giving them something else.
A rule-of-three example from Mostly Good Girls:
She surveyed the mess of clothing covering her bedroom floor. “I read in a
magazine that guys like low maintenance chicks,” she said.
Let’s go for the ‘low maintenance’ look, then.” I put on Katie’s mom’s old
Radcliffe sweatshirt. “I am so low maintenance!” I tried saying to the mirror.
“Man, I just throw on any old sweatshirt, and I am ready to go!”
just show up naked,” Katie suggested.
“Right, good, naked is low
“We’ll be like, Look, I didn’t think this evening was
important enough to get dressed up for. Hell, I didn’t even think it was worth
getting dressed for.”
“What magazine did you read this in, again?” I asked.
Katie shrugged. “Cosmo? Seventeen? National Geographic?”
Ladies’ magazine, ladies’ magazine, totally bizarre and out-there non-ladies’ magazine! Boom! Humor in action!
One more example from Mostly Good Girls:
On Sunday, I babysat for a four-year-old boy, Tommy, who
accidentally-on-purpose let his dachshund out of the house. Tommy and I had to
run all over the neighborhood chasing after it. It took us forever to catch the
dog because Tommy kept complaining that he couldn’t run that fast. Also he kept
stopping as he got distracted by motorcycles, ambulances, the sidewalk, etc.
Vehicle, vehicle, thing that doesn’t move! More humor!
Okay, I think you get the picture. Further humor writing techniques to come…
Thanks so much for stopping by Leila! Make sure to check back for a review of Mostly Good Girls and a giveaway later in the day!
Also, be sure to check out the Traveling To Teens site for more information about the tour and other blog stops.