Friday, 10 October 2014

Writing for Children - Tip 17 #writetip

Humour is really important to kids. They love to read stories that reflect their own hopes and dreams, but, if you can find a way of tickling their funny spots at the same time, you’ll be onto a winning formula.

Reading about situations where someone they can identify with gets into one hilarious mess after another is particularly appealing to young readers.

Tip 17 – Using Humour

What type of humour works?

  • Humour that makes light of their own situations. This doesn’t mean making fun of them, but writing in a way that lets them laugh at themselves.
  • Silly events. A series of actions which build on each other to create a funny outcome. The groundwork should be subtle, so that when the silly event happens, although it makes sense, it takes the reader by surprise.
  • Visual gags and corny jokes. Children have an endless capacity to enjoy the type of humour that makes the average adult groan out loud.
  • Poking fun at siblings. Making fun of the hero might be out of bounds, but brothers and sisters are fair game, as long as the humour isn’t cruel.
  • Most things gross. So many things that adults find absolutely tasteless (like picking noses) tickle kids’ humour.
  • Banana skins and things. Slapstick humour is always a winner, as long as it is realistically written.

And what type doesn’t?

  • Cruel jokes on unfortunate people. Humour which makes fun of anyone perceived to be disadvantaged should never be used.
  • Anything that doesn’t arise naturally from the story. Humour shouldn’t be forced. If it doesn’t come easily, don’t try to manufacture it simply because you think you should add some.

Critique Service for Writers
Flash 500 Home Page: Flash Fiction, Humour Verse
and Novel Opening Chapter and Synopsis Competitions

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