How to Write a Short, Funny Story
Planning Out Your Story
Decide on a setting.Some writers may prefer to plan out the plot before deciding on a setting. However, in comedic writing, humor is often based on situations. Before you start writing out the storyline for your work, it may be helpful to consider where your story might take place and how you can derive humor from that setting.
- Try to be original in choosing your setting. Readers may be turned off if it's a setting they're too familiar with, as it may feel like the story has been recycled.
- For short stories, it's best to stick with as few setting changes as possible. Aim to work within just one setting, but don't exceed two.
Come up with a plot.A plot is the most important component of any story. Plot is simply what happens in the story, who is involved, and how that series of events unfolds.
- Most compelling stories have a beginning, middle, and end. Across that timeline there is a source of rising tension, a climax (breaking point of the tension), and an unraveling of tension that leads into the ending.
- Think about what the source of tension/drama will be, and try to work that tension into the specific setting you've chosen for the story.
- Consider how the source of tension can work with that setting. Perhaps the setting might heighten the tension, for example, or create a comedic situation by way of contrast with the location where the events unfold.
Plan out your characters.Every story needs interesting, realistic characters. A funny story needs interesting, realistic characters who either have funny qualities or who find themselves in funny situations.
- How you depict the characters may depend on their personalities and circumstances within the story.
- For example, you might depict a bumbling "idiot" character who stumbles into funny situations, or a sarcastic character who thinks he knows it all and realizes that he doesn't know anything about his own circumstances.
- Make sure your characters are realistic and believable. A good character should have feelings/opinions and should be capable of reacting to his or her situation in realistic ways on the page.
- Think about what kinds of characters could make your setting funny, or vice versa. All the elements of your story (setting, plot, and characters) should ideally work together, either by mixing well or by creating funny and unexpected contrasts.
Draw humor from everywhere.As you plan out the humorous aspects of your short, funny story, it may be helpful to pull together things that you find funny from every aspect of your life. It can be personal, political, cultural - whatever you find funny, jot down notes on the story (the actual plot), the situation (what your story is actually about - for example, the dynamics of friendship), and why you find it funny.
- Try keeping a notebook of ideas and inspiration. Write down funny things you see and hear, or any ideas that come to mind.
- Don't be afraid to draw on humorous elements of your own life and your friends' lives.
- Your funny, short story doesn't need to be 100% autobiographical, but incorporating bits and pieces of awkward or funny situations from your own life can bring a sense of personality to your work.
- Keep up on current events. You may not end up writing a story about world news or celebrity gossip, but you may find inspiration or even ways to directly draw plot elements from real events that are culturally relevant.
Have your own firm opinions and beliefs.Comedy requires a certain level of honesty on the part of the comedian. The same is true of writing, so it makes sense that you should be honest with yourself as a writer of short, funny stories. Before you sit down to write your story, you should have a firm sense of what you think/believe about the world so that your humorous observations and writing in general can stem from that element of yourself.
- You wouldn't tell a political joke to your friends without taking some stance on the matter, so why try to be unbiased in your written humor?
- Don't be so abrasive that your humor would alienate people who disagree with you, but make sure that you at least know where you stand on certain issues so that you can find the situational humor in them.
Look for inspiration.If you're struggling to write a short, funny story, it might be helpful to seek outside inspiration. Inspiration can come in many forms, but the best ways to get inspired for a project like this involve immersing yourself in funny stories (both written and visual).
- Read funny stories. You can find stories by searching online, or by checking at your local library or book store.
- Watch funny movies and TV shows. Though it's not the same format as you're working with, you might still get some inspiration.
- As you watch and read things that entertain you, try to analyze the humor.
- Think about why you find certain things funny, consider the ways an author or script writer might have crafted those humorous elements on the page, and look for ways to adapt that style of humor to your own writing.
Know how to construct a joke.If you intend to incorporate actual jokes into your writing, you should familiarize yourself with how comedians construct their jokes. You don't need to include jokes, but it's important to do it right if you're going to do it at all. A joke should be unambiguously funny and shouldn't require the reader to dwell on the joke in order to find it funny. Ideally, your joke should elicit laughter as soon as your reader finishes reading it.
- If you intend to deliver a punch line, make sure it goes at the end of the joke. Otherwise it might confuse readers and leave them wondering what the funny part is supposed to be.
- Try putting together a list of two things that go together, then add a third seemingly unrelated thing. This is called the Rule of Threes.
- The third thing you list should be where the humor comes from. It may be funny because the third thing doesn't match the others, or because the third thing highlights some type of truth.
- As an example, you might say something like, "My doctor thinks I'm losing it. He told me his recommendation is to get more fresh air, get more exercise, and stop calling him at 3:00 AM asking what's wrong with me."
Use humor sparingly.It may sound strange to suggest that a funny story should use humor sparingly, but too much humor can ruin a story. You don't want to cram the humor down your readers' throats; it should be funny without feeling like a comedic attack.
- Remember that a funny story should still have a functional plot with realistic characters and dialogue. You can't have a funny story just be joke after joke the whole time.
- Let the humor stem from the setting, characters, and situations, or some combination of them. If you're trying to cram too much humor into a story (even a funny story), it can make your writing feel like a corny gimmick.
Writing Your Story
Establish your story's elements early on.In any story, you'll want to let the reader know who is involved, where the story takes place, and some hint of what the story is all about. This is true of funny stories as well, but with the added element of humor. Don't leave your readers guessing at anything for long, or they may not continue to read your story.
- The beginning of any short story should establish the setting and at least one character.
- Describe where the action is taking place, but try to make that description relevant. Find ways to draw tension and/or humor from the setting as much as possible.
- Think about how and when the humorous elements of your story will unfold, and try to at least hint at them from the onset of the story.
- Remember that a short story's beginning should set something up, whether it's tension, a source of humor within the story, or something that will be vital to the story at a later point.
Make things get complicated and funny in the middle.The middle of a story is where things typically get complex. In a short, funny story, the middle should also provide a decent amount of humor, or at least a strong setup for something funny that is yet to come in the story.
- Your story's middle section will probably be the longest. Make your words count by making things get interesting for one or more characters in this section.
- Tension should complicate the lives of your most important characters and form the basic arc of your story.
- Tension often arises from conflict, usually between the protagonist and another person, himself/herself, nature, technology, society, or God/gods/goddesses.
- You may want to incorporate humor that's derived from the tension, or you may choose to deliver humor as a sort of comic relief that accompanies the tension so that it doesn't get too serious.
Wrap things up with a short ending.When writing in short form, you won't have a lot of space on the page for long, drawn-out resolutions. Things need to get wrapped up in a timely manner, and the humor should really come through at this point (especially if you used the middle section to build up the humor).
- Tension should unravel fairly quickly. The humor may stem from this unraveling, or it may accompany it along the way.
- Aim to be concise with your ending. Remember that while you're working within the frame of a short, funny story, you may have to trim things down to their essence.
- Try to keep the story's ending a paragraph or so at most, and make sure the reader finds some sense of humor and relief by the last sentence.
Create realistic dialogue.Now that you have realistic characters, you'll need to make them speak in realistic ways. A good sign of strong writing is that the readers can hear the dialogue and not think to themselves, "This is a work of fiction."
- Think about the way people talk with one another. Read your written dialogue out loud and ask yourself, "Do people actually say things like that?"
- Good dialogue should push the narrative forward. Avoid being redundant or stating the obvious.
- Strong dialogue shows a lot about each character's personality (including how he/she interacts with and treats other people).
- Don't bog down your dialogue tags (the actions that accompany spoken lines) with details. For example, instead of saying, "'What should we do?' he asked, staring nervously and compulsively at the ground, careful to avoid her eyes," try something simple like, "What should we do?" he asked without lifting his eyes from the ground."
Cover your subject completely in a short space.This is one of the most difficult aspects of writing short stories. On the surface, you might think writing a longer form (like a book) would be more difficult than a short story, but a good short story must accomplish the same tasks as a longer book within a short amount of space. Everything needs to come together by the end, and on top of everything else your short, funny story needs elements of humor.
- You may have grand ideas about a subject for your story. However, you need to remember that when you're writing a short, funny story, you're limited on space.
- Don't leave your idea unexplored or unfulfilled. Make sure your story fully analyzes the subject/idea you write about by the ending.
- You can always trim down nonessential elements and words to make a story shorter.
- You'll know that the idea has been fully explored when you've said (either directly, or indirectly by depiction) everything you need to say about it.
- For example, you'd need a lot of space to adequately cover the complexity of human relationships. But you can capture a moment between two people and write about some aspect of friendship (like forgiving your friends for saying/doing hurtful things) within a short, funny story.
Focus on the essentials while you write.It may be difficult to approach writing a short, funny story if you're not familiar with writing shorter works. Whether you choose to condense a longer story or expand a brief one, make sure that you focus on the most important elements of that story as you write it.
- Some people prefer to write a longer story and then shave it down. This ensures that the story is complete.
- Other writers prefer to start small and expand as needed. This can make brevity more easy to work with and save you the stress of deciding what makes the final cut.
- There's no right or wrong way to craft a short, funny story, so go with whatever feels more comfortable to you.
- Whichever approach you take, make sure your story is complete, your ideas and characters are well-developed, and the humor is delivered in a satisfying way.
Revising Your Story
Set aside your story before revising.The worst thing you can do when you revise a story is to jump into revision immediately after you've finished writing it. You need some time away from the project so that it's not so fresh in your head, and (ideally) so that you're not so attached to every detail of the story.
- Give yourself at least a week or two between finishing the story and revising it. If possible, try to give yourself a month to really put some distance between you and your story.
- Consider asking a trusted friend or relative to look at the story. Ask him/her to be honest and critical, and emphasize that you want to know what isn't working and why.
- Looking at a story with fresh eyes will help you see more errors that you might have missed. When the story is fresh in your head it's easy to fill in the gaps with what you know, and you may not realize that that information isn't addressed on the page.
- Giving yourself some time before revising will also make it easier to cut things out. You may be in love with a scene, but after setting it aside for a few weeks, you might realize that it isn't as relevant as you thought it was.
Remind yourself what you wanted to accomplish.What was the point of your funny story? Were you trying to highlight a real social situation? Address some aspect of human nature? Draw humor from personal situations/experiences? Whatever your intentions, it's a good idea to refresh that intention in your head before you proceed with the revision process.
- By having your original intentions for the story in mind, you'll know what you had hoped to do with the story and will be able to assess whether you accomplished that goal or not.
- Think about whether the tone matches your intentions, as well as the overall events of the story.
Clarify anything that's confusing.This is an important part of why you should approach the story after setting it aside for a period. When you've just finished writing a story, you're less likely to catch any issues that might otherwise confuse a reader. However, if you've given yourself some time, you should notice your mistakes.
- Confusion may arise from the content of the story (or lack thereof), or it may result from a missing or poorly executed transition. Transitions should bridge one scene to the next, one chapter to the next, and so on.
- A good transition wraps up the previous scene and gently guides the reader into the new one.
- An example of a transition between two scenes might be something like, "He watched her walk silently into the night until she faded into darkness. The next morning he kept looking towards the horizon, but he knew she'd be halfway home by then."
- You may want to ask a friend to read through your story and look for anything that's confusing or doesn't make sense.
Edit your story for mistakes.Editing should be considered a separate step from revision. Revising your story involves rewriting parts as needed and trimming out things that don't work. Editing, on the other hand, mostly involves fixing your line-level mistakes.
- Look for spelling errors, grammar/syntax errors, run-on sentences, sentence fragments, punctuation errors, and any weak lines of dialogue.
- Use the spellcheck function on your computer, or ask a friend with strong editing skills to take a look at your story.
- Try reading the story out loud. Sometimes hearing a mistake out loud can help you catch it better than just reading it silently on the page.
QuestionHow can I choose what type of story I want to write?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerGet 3 jars and a lot of paper. Label each jar: "Setting," "Characters," and "Time." Write a bunch of suggestions for each, then draw randomly from each jar.Thanks!
QuestionDo you have any tips for writing an imaginative story for an exam?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerA good starting point is to try to think of something that happened in your own life that made you laugh, and then create a fictional character who has that experience. Then start thinking of "What if's" -- things that didn't happen in your experience that might have, or things that could never happen in real life but would be interesting if they did, and use those ideas to expand the story.Thanks!
QuestionHow do I know that my story will be funny?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerYou don't, but the best way to make sure your story makes people laugh is to write about a universal topic that everyone finds funny.Thanks!
QuestionWhat is the purpose of writing funny stories?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt's funny, it makes you laugh and fills you with happiness.Thanks!
What does "Time" mean in the first question that is = How can I choose what type of story I want to write?
How can I write a story ending with the statement whenever I remember this, I start laughing?
How do I write a short, funny story? Do you have any examples?
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- Don't give up! If you're having a hard time, just stop for a while and then start again.
- Remind yourself that stories are never perfect at first. A writer's job is to deconstruct and perfect her stories.
- Get a close friend to look at it. Make sure you trust your friend and value his opinions, and be sure to ask him about the parts he thinks work wellandneed revision.
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Date: 16.12.2018, 00:20 / Views: 52571