Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Humor Genre

A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic–nothing else. This year, I’ll be covering writing genres.

Today’s genre:



A comic novel is usually a work of fiction in which the writer seeks to amuse the reader, sometimes with subtlety and as part of a carefully woven narrative, sometimes above all other considerations.

Tipsa to z

  • Words with K and G are the funniest. Start using names like Kristy and George, or doing stuff that starts with K and G (klutzy, gyroscoping)
  • Establish a pattern and misdirect readers with the last one:

I wish you happiness, wealth, and that you can get the lid off the mayo jar the next time you make a sandwich.

  • Rather than scattering jokes around like confetti, use them strategically.
  • Don’t worry about what others think. Use your voice and deliver the joke. It’ll work.
  • Let readers know it’s OK to laugh at you (or with you).
  • Start with a well-known cliche, but change the ending, i.e., “You can lead a horse to water… but a pencil must be lead.”
  • Use funny anecdotes or stories.
  • Use comparisons:
    • like saying Noah was a shipbuilder
    • like the difference between being thrown from the 15th and 16th floor–they both kill you
    • as stupid as a chocolate teapot
  • Avoid sarcasm. It’s as likely to annoy people as entertain.
  • Rework an old cliche; you might start with the standard, but change the ending.

A bird in hand is in danger of being crushed

Popular Books

  1. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
  2. Sh*t My Dad Says by Justin Halpern
  3. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
  4. The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
  5. Three Men in a Boat by Jerome Jerome
  6. Catch 22 by Joseph Heller
  7. Portnoy’s Complaint by Philip Roth
  8. Without Feathers by Woody Allen

More H Genres

Click for complete list of genres

Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, and the thriller, To Hunt a Sub. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning. The sequel to To Hunt a Sub, Twenty-four Days, is scheduled for May 2017. Click to follow its progress.

61 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Humor Genre

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  4. *heavy sigh* But I love sarcasm. It’s like its own art form.

    Okay, it’s probably best delivered live. As far as humor goes, my favorite is probably It Was on Fire When I Lay Down on It, by Robert Fulgum, although those could also be classified as inspirational. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read that there are two kinds of successful comedians. The best of the best are naturally funny, had a difficult childhood and use humor to compensate. The other comedians have to work at being funny. Of all the students I’ve taught, the one who was the funniest in class had had a terrible life. He’s now a police officer. I would think his sense of humor comes in handy on his job.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’m a fan of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum novels, which are very funny and in which there are at least two big laughs in each chapter. Many of the romances Mary reads have her laughing, but I wouldn’t know which ones.Humor is big with us.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I know this might be hard to believe, but sometimes I write a bit of humor. I find the trick is to not tell jokes but rather be playful and poke gentle fun at things – especially myself.

    oh, and mayo now comes in squeeze bottles so you don’t need to worry about the lids anymore – just sayn’…

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Someone once told me when I wrote romance that I had a humorous voice and my work was “romantic comedy.” I had no idea! I think mine was more “lighthearted tone” than laugh out loud jokes. Either way, category romance publishers blacklisted romantic comedy after chick lit became hugely popular and oversaturated the market, then died! So that’s why I write for children.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Jacqui – sometimes I can get completely hooked and laugh myself silly … it’s fun to have a good read. But one needs to be in the zone … getting the voice right is an essential … Also different cultures have different approaches – I was sent a spoof on one of our tv clips – from Germany … totally failed with me being British …similarly with American v British or vice-versa … an art in covering both bases … cheers Hilary

    Liked by 1 person

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