A Little Trick for Adding Humor

Looking to add a little humor to your manuscript? Maybe you're writing a comedy, or maybe you're writing something more serious but just want to add a few opportunities for your readers to laugh during otherwise overly-serious moments.

I've been doing an overwhelming amount of polish edits lately before sending my manuscript off for review, and something I noticed myself doing (without even really thinking about it) is having my protagonist ask a funny question and answer it herself.

This technique works particularly well if you're writing in first person or third person close point of view.

For example, let's say your protagonist is walking out of a grocery store and sees a gruff woman slap her child in the arm and yell, "Stop hitting your brother!"

Your lead character could say something along the lines of, "Does technique really work for you? Talk about leading by example."

Now, I just came up with that off the top of my head, so I realize it's not that funny, but you still get the idea. And don't feel like you have to stick to question/answer format, either. Your answer doesn't have to be a real answer. It can be sarcastic or even a tangential type of answer.

Your turn! I want to hear your thoughts and questions. Do any of you brave souls even want to volunteer an example?


  1. Here's an example from my WIP (which is fantasy, hence the weird character name).

    "The effect was rather marred, however, when Tisagra accidentally set her own dress on fire, and beat it out rather frantically. She felt her cheeks warm. Probably as red as her hair. So much for making a good impression."

    The cheeks-turning-as-red-as hair bit is probably a little cliche, but you do see the inner dialogue thing going on.

  2. Good tip. I've been trying to inject more humor in my current WIP and it's working well (at least in my opinion) with the internal dialogue. With the main character, particularly my heroine, making fun of her reaction to the hero.

    It also helps that she has a nine-year-old boy who's all about pirates. There's no end to the goofy things I can wring out there :)

  3. Celeste, I didn't realize you wrote fantasy! How cool. I like your example and the writing voice it has. :)

    Cindy, good point about adding kids in! I was actually considering writing an entire blog about that. In one of her workshops at the ACFW Conference, I heard that Jenny B Jones said adding children into a scene is a sure way to add some humor. Thanks for bringing that up!

  4. that sounds like a blast--to read and write. I can't wait to see your book in print!