I recently taught a section on humour as part of a creative writing course I am running. Let me say at the outset that I know humour can be scary for a writer who does not have a naturally comic ability. It is certainly the case that a straight-laced, humourless person might well struggle to write side-splitting comedy but if you are an author, that might not be a good enough excuse.
Why? Because even if you are not writing an out-and-out comic piece, humour has a role to perform. It can perform a really important function for novelists in particular because a relentlessly heavy theme in a story can benefit immensely from the odd break for something a little lighter.
As an example: you are writing a sinister piece with the tension building as the tale unfolds. However, you might decide that a flash of humour, a single line of dialogue by a character, could momentarily ease the tension, cause the reader to relax slightly – and allow for an even greater impact when you suddenly strike with the next piece of drama!
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