Writing Club Week 4

Image yellow rose with a grasshopper in it.  Text: Writing Club Week 4 Humour.

Writing Club Week 4

Post by Iris Carden

Each Saturday, I will give a few thoughts about writing, and a writing prompt.

If you want to take part, write your story in response to the prompt, and put the link to your story in the comments below. (Don’t have a space online to publish your story? *You can get a free WordPress site here.)

Initially, I plan to do this for six weeks. If the response is good, I’m happy to keep it going long-term.

Note: I use examples from my own books, so I don’t have to worry about copyright issues.

Writing Club Week 4 Humour

Why use humour in writing?

One obvious reason is to entertain, such as in this poem. 

Black and white cat lying in strange position.

Cat, Assembly Required

Don't buy a cat from Ikea.
The instructions are never quite clear.
You add this to that,
and instead of a cat,
it's the modern art work of the year!

(from Poetic Pets.)

You might add in humour because things are getting very tense, and you want to relieve the tension just a bit, before adding more.

Farnsdale is on the hunt for Cogburn’s murderer.  

As usual, things have snowballed, and now she is stuck in a caved-in tunnel in a disused gold mine.  Of course, her mobile’s not getting any reception, but she can use it for a torch until the power runs down.  She didn’t call for back-up before she went there, which is her usual style, and the reason for most of the drama in my books.  Playing it safe would be boring reading.  

She obviously can’t go back the way she came, but the mine must to have air shafts, she just has to find one, while she still has light to see by. 

I need to increase the tension, step up the danger.  So the bad guys, instead of taking the opportunity to run away after they blew up the entrance to the mine, have decided they have to be sure she’s dead.  They’re also looking for an air shaft, searching from above ground.

They’re scrambling around above ground, she’s walking determinedly below ground, following a mine tunnel. One thing Farnsdale will never do is panic.  She’s going to calmly and determinedly find her way out.  It’s a race to see who will find the nearest shaft first. 

Farnsdale’s reflecting that even dead Cogburn’s getting her into more trouble than he’s worth. What did she ever see in him anyway?   (from Hollywood Lied.)

Humour can also be used to make a point (think of political satire in comedy television programs.)

It can be used to tell you about a character. 

The next carafe of the house red arrived. “Hmm,” he observed, swirling the liquid in his glass and sniffing carefully. “Chateau cardboard, vintage…” he sipped delicately, “about last Thursday, probably lunchtime.” Beside him the blonde woman, who’d already had several glasses of chateau cardboard laughed uproariously. No-one else laughed, they’d heard the joke too many times before. (from “Lance and Arthur” in Patchwork.)

Humour can short-cut what might have been a much longer story.

Billy Taylor said to Alice: “Girls can’t fight.” Billy went home with a black eye, a bleeding nose, and a much improved understanding of the modern woman. (from “Fighting Like a Girl” in Patchwork.)

This Week’s Task

Write a short piece, incorporating humour.

Add the link to your piece in the comments below this post, and explain how humour is helping to tell the story. Don’t have a place to publish your story to give a link? * You can get a free WordPress site here.

*Disclosure: If you use this link to create an account, I receive WordPress credit..


By Iris Carden

Iris Carden is an Australian indie author, mother, grandmother, and chronic illness patient. On good days, she writes. Because of the unpredictability of her health, she writes on an indie basis, not trying to meet deadlines. She lives on a disability support pension now, but her ultimate dream is to earn her own living from her writing.

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