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Injecting Humor into Dialogue

Humor ranges from innocent jokes to darkest satire. What people find funny is highly personal. Something that tickles one person will offend another. What one considers ribald another might find vulgar. Dark gallows humor makes light of deadly serious topics. 

Comedies allow you to stealthily challenge people’s prejudices and belief systems in the name of good fun. Humor is a great way to lower resistance to make salient points.

You can’t please everyone, nor should you try. Use what works for the story you want to tell.

Ways to inject humor into dialogue:

1.       Clever banter between characters.

2.       Verbal digs can be barbless jibes between close friends or skewering points to drive home a serious point.

3.       Short anecdotes based on proven set-up, delivery, and punchline formulas can be inserted. They are best presented in dialogue between characters rather than narrator intrusions.

4.       Invented words or phrases can be repeated a few times throughout for effect.

5.       Giving things, people, or places titles, nicknames, or intentionally botching names can be hilarious, especially when the other party is oblivious or annoyed by it.

6.       Pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable or in good taste can make a point. It may even insult or anger, but the underlying message is memorable.

7.       Puns, riddles, Freudian slips, parables, and actual jokes can be added with a light hand. Unexpected answers and surprise can trigger laughter.

8.       Parroting and name-calling can infuse a light or dark note.

9.       Intentional mangling of language and grammar can be fun, but watch out for phonetic spelling abuse.

10.     Accents, voice styles, and vocabulary choices can be exaggerated for effect.

Pick up a copy of the latest entry in the Story Building Blocks series: Comedy, Build A Plot Workbook available through Amazon in print and at local bookstores on request. Also available for Kindle.

For more about how to craft plots using conflict check out, Story Building Blocks: The Four Layers of conflict available in print and e-book and check out the free tools and information about the series on my website.

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