For this blog post, I have chosen to “Provide a copy/image of [my] research notes”, and to ask: “What concepts in [my] learning do [I] now feel [I] have a solid grasp on?”, and “Which ones might be useful to other students in their learning?”

First, I’d like to mention that since this is an account of the two days/one work block I’ve had since creating my proposal, there isn’t going to be much in the way of notes.

Here are my notes.

  • Giving the main character a sense of humour really helps, especially with internal dialogue.
  • This doesn’t mean making the main character the “clown” or the “straight man”. It’s somewhere in between.
  • “Rule of three”: have a list of three things, with either two serious points followed by a funny point or two funny points followed by a serious point.
  • Use metaphors and similes. A lot.
  • If you’re writing about a serious topic and it seems to be getting too serious, add a pinch of humour to break things up a bit.
  • Don’t let humour obstruct your storytelling.
  • Avoid clichés, unless you plan on modifying them to catch your readers by surprise.
  • Use surprise to your advantage.
  • Turn the plot and conflict up into overdrive and make it larger than life.
  • Put actual meaning behind the jokes. Don’t make jokes just for the sake of making jokes. Have a reason for them, and try not to force humour.
  • Make sure you find it funny before adding it.
  • Try hiding a blatant, honest, everyday truth in jokes.
  • Use funny-sounding synonyms for words.
  • If you’re going to make fun of anyone, make fun of yourself – and be obvious about it.

I may not use all of these notes in my final project, but I’m definitely gonna use some.

I now think I have a solid grasp on how to add humour to short stories, as well as how (and when) not to add humour. I also feel like I have a better understanding of what kinds of humour work in different situations.

If anyone else is also doing writing (creative or non-fiction), I think a few points would be helpful to them. Adding a well-placed bit of humour into any piece of writing helps keep the readers interested. If anyone is wondering about how to add said humour, try using the “rule of three”. If you’re doing creative writing, try giving your main character a sense of humour. It’ll probably make people like your character more, and it can lead to some brilliant lines of dialogue, whether internal or external. However, for any piece of writing, remember not to overdo or force humour. It should come as naturally as possible.

That’s pretty much it for this blog post. Stay tuned for the next one!

  1. Liam,

    What a great demonstration of your ability to synthesize your research. I think some Hollywood film writers might need to learn a little bit more about ‘the rule of three.’ I am really looking forward to seeing how your work progresses over the coming weeks — will you be reading any Stuart McLean?

    Keep up the spirit of inquiry!

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