What sort of things in a story makes you laugh?


Humour in books is the same as humour in public talks: if it is forced it rarely works. If it comes out naturally then great, but TRYING to be funny in a story is not necessary and often falls flat. Sincerity and your real voice is what will capture the heart and mind of readers.

Having a character in a book that is supposed to be a comic genius, if we ourselves are not, is just as risky as a writer having a character who is a nuclear physicist, and frequently talks about it, when we as a writter knows nothing about nuclear physics.

It’s the old write what you know thing.


Very little.


While I personally rarely laugh out loud when I’m reading a book, I think it’s much more about the fact that reading is a silent activity than it is about written humour being less funny than spoken.

A good writer knows how to use their craft to invoke their desires reactions from their readers. In my opinion, it’s nothing about writing not being as funny. It’s more about both readers and authors being so used to film and tv shows and that more visual and sound-based type of humour that it can be difficult to switch back to writing.

That being said, there are authors who do it fantastically. I am a big fan of fantasy — including YA — and Derek Landy’s sense of humour never fails to make me laugh when I’m reading Skulduggery Pleasant. It’s not a fun experience sitting next to me on the train when I’m reading one of his books! :joy:

For me, I personally hate cringing. I feel a lot of empathy towards characters, so if they get themselves in an awkward or cringeworthy situation, I feel crippled by my own cringing and fail to find it funny. I prefer sarcastic, situational humour and dialogue-based jokes rather than slapstick.

I also love it when an unexpected character tells a joke — provided they are still acting in character.

In Skulduggery Pleasant, there’s a scene where a big, usually serious, boxer has to slide down a really narrow path and when he comes out, he says “I think I lost a nipple.” Had me in stitches


well-written banter and dry humor are basically all that make me laugh when it comes to books. The thing with reading is that you become very aware of the words, much more than you’d be if you’re watching or listening to something. There’s no tone unless the writer is really good at inducing it without actually typing it down for you to read.

That being said, I’m generally insufferable and I’m always finding something to banter about, but I never write that. There’s too much room to be cringy if you attempt, and I’m intimidated by it, lol.


Humour is personal. Mr Bean, US sitcom TV shows or stand-up comedy, it’s all different but also, it’s all visual and dialogues.

Writing is a different story. You can’t expect a reader to visualise what Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy can do with a cake full of whipped cream. But you have other possibilities. You can play with words. You can hear your characters think. You can hide visual things until you need them for the desired effect. And you can add as many different types of humour as you can think of, to please as many readers as you can handle.

The jokes that make me laugh out loud are… the ones I wrote myself and forgot until I re-read my story. My own bad memory makes me happy. Imagine: in ten years, I’ll suffer Alzheimer so much that I can read my own stories every day, again and again, until I laugh myself to death. :slightly_smiling_face::blush::grinning::grin::rofl:


This all depends on the mood of the scene.

You can have the annoyed back and forth banter.

“Mr. Bennet, let me buy you this couch so we can cuddle the night away,” her mother teased, moving her hand across an imaginary piece of furniture.

“Stop,” Ada warned, which only seemed to egg her mother on more.

“Mr. Bennet,” she continued, completely ignoring Ada’s warning, “Won’t you teach me the language of love?”

“Tom teaches English,” she countered.

Her mother only smiled. “English is a language.”

“English Literature,” Ada felt the need to explain. “And French is the language of love.”

Her mother began doing some weird dance. It was something like a belly dance, but more random. “Every language that Mr. Bennet speaks is the language of love.”

“Woman,” Ada yelled, finding it increasingly difficult to contain the laughter that was building inside of her, “I’m about to stab you with a spoon.”

Her mother picked up her drink with one hand and patted the top of Ada’s head with the other as she smiled devilishly. “You should use a spork. It’s like the Ada of silverware.”

Ada shook her head, completely baffled. “Why is it the Ada of silverware?”

“It’s the responsible silverware. It can handle anything!” Her voice sounded amazed with her own explanation and she took a sip of her drink before setting it down by the dish rack and grabbing a dry dish to put away.

“How stoned are you right now?”

The amusing back and forth banter.

“Wanna flip for it?” Ada asked teasingly. “Heads is the asshole.”

Tom cocked his head. “Wouldn’t it make more sense for tails to be the asshole?”

“I guess it would,” she said with a small laugh. “So, are we flipping for it, or what?”

He shrugged. “I don’t have any change.”

Ada snapped her fingers with a flick of her wrist. “Damn.”

“Guess we’ll just both have to be assholes.”

“Guess so,” she agreed with a small nod.

The romantically playful back and forth banter.

Ada laughed and made a move to lay her head on his shoulder, but quickly corrected herself when she remembered how easily it was for them to be seen. “So what would we do on this date?” she asked curiously.

“Depends how much sexual tension’s been built up by then.”

It was her turn to playfully nudge him. “I meant where were you planning on taking me?”

“Oh, that,” he said with an exaggerated ‘ah ha!’ moment. “I figured we’d start against the wall, then end up on the couch before eventually making our way to my bedroom.”

“That sounds classy.”

“What can I say, I’m a classy kind of guy.”

The humorous threat.

Jeff held up his hand, cutting Tom off. “If you do get my permission, I still don’t want to see it. I wanna be able to pretend the two of you are just friends and remain blissfully ignorant as a father. You get me?”

Though he understood the reasoning, it was still weird as hell to hear. “So, you want me to ask for permission to date your daughter behind your back?”

“Fucked up, isn’t it? But yeah, that’s basically it. But you only get one chance with me. You fuck with her head again, don’t matter the reason, I will castrate you and it will be a very slow and very painful process. Then I will put your balls in a blender just to make sure reattachment isn’t an option.”

A mixture of emotions battled each other in his mind. The chance of getting Jeff’s permission to date Ada seemed unfathomable.


“Why don’t I want your balls to get reattached?”

And so many in between. What makes written humor genuinely funny is natural chemistry between character’s and how easily the humor becomes a part of the dialog and the scenes. Like in real life, the harder someone tries to be funny, the less funny it actually is. The best humor is when it isn’t intentional.

Husband: Honey! Come in here!

Goes into the bathroom, where husband is taking a bath.

Husband: This isn’t the body wash you bought last time.

Me: So?

Husband: The last one smelled better. I want to smell like a peony!

I hold out my hand. He slaps it. I hold out my hand again.

Husband: What?

Me: Hand them over.

Husband: Hand over what?

Me: Your balls. You don’t get to have them anymore.