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Lorraine Mace

Writers Bureau Tutor Talks About Writing Humour

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Download a PDF of the main points made in Lorraine's video.

You can read a transcript of Lorraine's video below;

HOW DID YOU START WRITING HUMOUR?

I was a Writers Bureau student and Assignment 5 called for a humour piece which I attempted and really enjoyed. I discovered I had a knack for it. I went on to write several more pieces from the point of view of an ex-pat living in France and the editor of Living France Magazine gave me a regular column as a result. When I moved to Spain the editor of Spanish Magazine offered me a similar column and I now write humour for Writing Magazine.

WHAT MAKES YOUR WORK FUNNY?

I tend to use situations that could happen to just about anyone. I draw word pictures so that my readers can see events unfold. I invite them to laugh with me and sometimes at me but I don't mind that.

WHERE DO YOU FIND YOUR IDEAS?

I find them everywhere, all around me, whatever I'm doing. Whether I'm working on a non-fiction article, or I'm writing a book, or I'm attending an event that could actually be quite a serious event, something will happen that makes me smile – it might not even be noticed by anybody else but I pick up on it and then I will build an article around that one tiny point.

TIPS TO START WRITING HUMOUR

Non-fiction humour works best when it relates to events in a writer's own life so, if something strikes you as funny, note it down. It's amazing how often  the best articles, the funniest articles, come from a non-humorous situation.

WHAT'S THE FORMAT OF HUMOROUS NON-FICTION?

Humorous non-fiction should be written in a lively and chatty tone. Imagine that you are telling a story to a friend and, like any story, it should have a beginning, a middle and an end. The beginning should signal from the outset that this is a humour piece so that the reader knows not to expect something serious. The ending should refer back to the beginning and tie it up with a good punchline. Opening lines and closing paragraphs make or break a humour piece.

DO YOU USE HUMOUR IN OTHER GENRES?

I use exactly the same style of humour in my children's book which my agent  is marketing for me. Although this is a horror story, it is interspersed with exactly the same type of humour as I use in my articles. I write humour verse. I won the Petra Kenney International Poetry Prize for Humour and I've used humour in my latest non-fiction book, which is a book of tips for people who wish to move abroad. I find using humour in serious subjects helps people to read things that would otherwise by very dry.

 
 

Criselle Nunag Writers Bureau's Student of the Year 2019

“From the course I learned how to study my target audience, identify how to make the most out of my idea/story, do proper research, perform market analysis for my chosen magazine and polish my grammar. The Writers Bureau taught me to write confidently and responsibly. I learned to produce original and interesting stories, I just have to be true to myself. Writing became a fulfilling hobby that pays!”

Criselle Nunag - Writers Bureau Student of the Year 2019

Read Criselle's full story

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