Have you ever been reading a book and came across an amazing scene? You know, a scene that makes you laugh so hard that you have to physically set the book down? Recently I’ve been worrying about whether or not my story is funny enough, and where I should insert funny moments. I decided to create this post to share with you guys what I’ve learned.

funny scenes are better in a non-funny chapter

This may sound stupid, but when I’m happy I don’t laugh as much as when I’m sad. That’s because funny moments are surprising. They come out of nowhere. The way to get your readers laughing the most is to give them a HUGE surprise. If you think about it logically, going from dark to funny is a much larger emotional hop than from light-hearted to funny.

I created a new plotting method to help me figure out the type of tone I want in each type chapter of my story. I try to make sure that I have a good array of tones throughout the book, and that they are spaced evenly apart. This way, I won’t have all the happy moments in a clump and all the dark scenes ready to smash in at the end.

Then again, you don’t want happy chapters to be all happy, and dark chapters can’t be all dark. You’ll mess with your reader’s emotions by adding all your funniest scenes in the dark chapters, and all of your scariest foreshadowing into the happy chapters. Think about it. Even in movies, they always add a clip of the bad guys in a dark room after the most carefree scenes. That’s because the happiness took your guard down, and it surprised you the most.

funny scenes should not be realistic

When you come up with an idea you think might be funny, don’t think about whether or not it would happen in real life. Believe it or not, things in real life are funny because you can’t figure out how the heck it happened. They strike you by surprise. Therefore, funny scenes in books should also be this same measure of ridiculousness.

When searching for a funny scene, you have to wait for that one idea where you share your head and say, “No. That’s ridiculous! No!” If you catch yourself laughing at the thought of adding it to your novel, maybe you really should.

Many times I’ve caught myself leaving out funny moments because I was embarrassed to write them. I worried that people I know in real life would read my story and think, “What is wrong with that girl? She thinks about these things in her head?” But you should never exclude a good idea just because of what others may think. Your readers are going to enjoy the funny and embarrassing scenes, and they’re not going to care about how crazy you are (okay, maybe a little).

think about scenarios that happen in real life

If you come home one day laughing your head off at something that happened at school, work, or your friend’s house, maybe it’s an idea that you can steal. Harsh talked a lot about stealing ideas in this TAJ post here.

The wonderful thing about writing is that you don’t have to come up with everything on your own. If something happens in real life that you think is funny, use it in your book. If you see a scene from a movie, switch it up a bit and throw it in as well!

I’m curious to know the process you guys use to create funny moments in your novel. Comment them down below.

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Melissa Torrefranca

Hello writers of the world! I'm Melissa, the founder / designer of Teen Authors Journal. Although I create blog posts every Tuesday at 4 p.m. (Pacific Time), I have absolutely no clue what I'm doing! I'd love to learn more about all of you, so please don't hesitate to shoot me a message! 🙂

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  • I’m 4 months late… oh well. This is an awesome post.
    I have at least 2 friends who are ridiculously funny, so whenever we text we’re literally putting all of our effort into outdoing each other. It’s hilarious. One of these friends is also a teen author, and she takes our conversations and puts them in as character dialogue, as two of her characters are pretty similar to the two of us. My ten-year-old sister also cracks me up. Her jokes are so clever and spur of the moment, I can’t help but use them.

  • Oh my gosh, this is so true! My betas all think my writing is funny, but that’s because I’m super sarcastic. I have this one character in my book whose dialogue is just ninety-percent sarcasm. He gets the most laughs out of my readers.

    I completely agree about putting humor in darker scenes to get laughs, especially if it’s dark humor. It just comes out of nowhere, which makes the impact especially funny. I just try to be careful, though, that I’m not ruining the dark / sad / suspenseful tone. This definitely applies to character death scenes. But one of my favorite things is when one character (usually the protagonist, but it doesn’t have to be) is scared or on edge, and another says something hysterical, or something unexpected and comical happens. That always makes me laugh!

  • My funny scenes usually happen accidentally. I have these two quotes from the early fanfic drafts of Adams and Williams that crack my beta up: “only orphanage boys know what its like to be an orphanage boy” (still don’t get how that’s funny to be honest) and “the other boy, not Josh” in the context of me not naming another character for the sake of not wanting to name an unnecessary character, whoops.


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