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Humor writing in nonfiction articles. When do people laugh When they are surprised At the misfortune of others.

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Presentation on theme: "Humor writing in nonfiction articles. When do people laugh When they are surprised At the misfortune of others."— Presentation transcript:

1 Humor writing in nonfiction articles

2 When do people laugh When they are surprised At the misfortune of others

3 Publications use of humor Some publications specialize in humor Some use it along with other content Some use humor as spot features Some as a regular item in columns

4 Some humor writers Dave Barry, Calvin Trillin, Garrison Keillor, Ian Frazier, Alice Kahn, Patrick McManus, Roy Blount Jr., Al Franken, Art Buchwald, James Lileks …

5 Where do they write Miami Herald, New Yorker, Time, The Nation, Arizona Republic, The Atlantic Monthly, Playboy, Sports Illustrated, Lose Angeles Times, Minneapolis Star Tribune …

6 Stand-up comedians/ celebs Tim Allen, David Letterman, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres, Cathy Guisewite, Matt Groening, Scott Adams …

7 Humorous ideas Kelso - what happens on a daily basis Russell, Ivins, Lileks - politics Art Buchwald - his daily newspaper Lind - asks readers to send stories Blum - depends on friend for ideas

8 Humor writers ability To form images and word pictures, Surprise or unexpected finish or resolution of the story Build up to the end by taking a small step at a time to tell the story Allow momentum to grow Combination of jokes, break punch line

9 Four elements needed A funny opening Colorful narration Colorful characters A concise plot

10 What good publications avoid Do not want off-color or sexist humor Do not want taking shots at others Do not want ethnic jokes

11 Tips for good writing Idea should be covered by a single theme Develop the characters in the story List the bits of humor - the jokes Start writing and rewriting frequently

12 How humor columnists make humor work Exaggeration Understatement Surprise Lifes little problems

13 How humor columnists make humor work Humor in the news Constructing a comic reality Attractive beginnings and endings Puns and word play

14 Humor writing techniques Satire: Ridicule a subjects vices, excesses, abuses, follies, stupidities (Britney Spears: Oops I did it again) … Dave Barry is an example

15 Humor writing techniques Parody: Opportunity to imitate style of an individual, place, object or institution Must study subject well. Takes nonsensical approach. Latin playboy

16 Humor writing techniques Exaggeration: Overemphasize, enlarge, distort, to make a point. Must have a reason for overstatement. Must know when to stop. (Doing research = flipping TV channels)

17 Humor writing techniques Contrast: Incongruity. Show unreasonable & unsuitable situations. Something expected and routine becomes unexpected/ non-routine. (Planned holiday becomes a mess)

18 Humor writing technique Understatement: Works to create emphasis and reaction on the part of the reader. An intentional, softer comment will draw attention when it is contrasted with the expected. (95 degree temperature: A little warm outside)

19 Humor writing techniques Asides: Short messages in parentheses or other form to communicate on a quasi-private level. Used in acting or footnotes. Dave Barry, again, an example

20 Humor writing techniques Irony: Employs contradictions through writing tone and subject. Focuses on the direct opposite of what is usual or expected. Outcome of story is different from what is expected by readers. Distance between what happened and what should have happened or what is said and what is intended.

21 Humor writing techniques Grammatical and Typographic Emphasis: Intentionally overusing and abusing English grammar and over usage. Trick draws readers attention to certain words and terms in an extreme fashion and help place focus where writer wants

22 Humor writing techniques Puns: Play on words to provide double meaning. Unless its original, this doesnt work well

23 Humor writing techniques Logic and Consistency: Correct reasoning through induction or deduction. Crazy behavior and absurd conduct makes much of American humor. But humor must maintain internal logic. Continue absurd premise. Dont change focus in middle of story


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