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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Following on from my previous blogs on creating characters, a word about minor characters and the care you need to take when creating them.But why, you may ask, spend unnecessary time on insignificant characters? Some may have roles so negligible that they won’t even get names: the servant who brought the drinks; the hotel maid who cleaned the room, the policeman who jumped out of the way of the speeding car and so on.They deserve care because, although the reader isn’t supposed to care much…See More
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