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100 Hours of Humo(u)r – Hour 42: Humor Tip: Wordplay

By Dave Fox
Singapore

100hours-logo2Embellishing is one way to strengthen a humor column. You can also stretch individual nouns and verbs. Check out these before and after examples:

  • Before: “I was afraid the dog would bite me.”
  • After: “I was afraid the dog would eat me.”
  • Before: “I spilled wine all over my lap.”
  • After: “I spilled wine all over my crotch.”
  • Before: “My greatest fear about going on a safari was being eaten by a lion.”
  • After: “My greatest fear about going on a safari was being gobbled by a wildebeest.”
  • Before: “It took seven attempts before I remembered how to tie my tie.”
  • After: “I finally managed to origami myself into a tie, which took approximately 327 attempts.”
  • Before: “I worried I’d get hit by an oncoming vehicle.”
  • After: “I worried an oncoming dump truck would flatten me into a bloody crêpe.”

As you reread your early drafts, you might find lulls, where a funny story turns momentarily bland. As you revise, hover over the bland parts. Ask yourself how you can stretch your words or situations.


Humor writing online courses

This humor writing tip is excerpted from the online class, Professional Humor Tricks for Writers, Speakers, and Other Misfits — on sale until the end of the “100 Hours of Humo(u)r” online party at a big introductory discount. Find out more here!

Published on Sunday, March 3, 2013

One Response to “100 Hours of Humo(u)r – Hour 42: Humor Tip: Wordplay”

  1. March 4, 2013 at 7:07 AM

    This humor writing tip has brought me a tidal wave of relief. Whenever I tell a story, my husband chides me for my exaggerations. He calls them lies! Can you believe it? I prefer to think of it as adding humorous colors to an otherwise bland description.

    His story: We went out to eat and had to wait a bit longer than usual for a table.

    My version: We went out to eat and waited so long we got to celebrate two anniversaries in the lobby!

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