Writing Humor

 The author A. J. Jacobs wrote The Know-It-All: One Man’s Humble Quest to Become the Smartest Person in the World  as he read the entire set of Encyclopedia Britannica.  What’s unusual about this book is the reader gets a look into the factual world with Jacobs’  offbeat sense of humor, as he intermingles it with quirky facts he has learned.    

Wouldn’t it have been great if he could have written those encyclopedias when we were doing our homework?   

Example:  “Elisha Gray filed papers with the patent office on February 14, 1876 for his telephone device – – just a couple of hours after Alexander Graham Bell filed his.  Gray really should have rearranged his schedule:  first, the patent application, then the grocery store.”

How often do you read an article or book and smile or laugh?  Ask yourself, what exactly did the writer do?  How can I try this same technique?  Practice, practice, practice!  And don’t miss Jacobs’ The Year of Living Biblically:  One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible and Drop Dead Healthy:  One Man’s Humble Quest for Bodily Perfection.  

He’s covered intellect, body, and soul.  What’s next, A.J. Jacobs?

Writing Prompts

  1. Tell something to your reader and then hit them with an amusing observation or compare what said to something within your own life or culture that is universal and relatable. 
  2. Read humor.  Use the author as a model and write in that style choosing a subject which is your passion. 
  3. Read EVERYTHING you write out loud, as humor depends upon rhythm and pacing. 


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