How to include humor in your writing, even if you don't think you're funny

Some writers are born funny. Others become funny. And still others have funny thrust upon them. Then there are others, like my long-time colleague Don Fry, who want to be funny so bad that they would sell their first-born. (I have been tempted to buy son Jason Fry -- who is funny.)

I want to argue that humor is strategic. And while there are no formulas, there are moves: including emphatic word order.

I've been thinking about humor a lot in recent days. I've just completed a manuscript on How To Write Short, and it turns out that some of the most memorable expressions of short writing depend on humor -- or at least wit.

The second reason is not funny. Sadly, the great Nora Ephron has died from leukemia, leaving behind a body of work in print and film that mark her as one of America's greatest humorists.

In this week's writing chat, I offered tips on incorporating humor into your writing and shared related examples. You can replay the chat here:

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    Roy Peter Clark

    Roy Peter Clark has taught writing at Poynter to students of all ages since 1979. He has served the Institute as its first full-time faculty member, dean, vice-president, and senior scholar.


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