I Have No Sense of Humor (aka, learning to write what I love)

It occurred to me today, after watching a long round of The Big Bang Theory, that I have no sense of humor. Oh, I appreciate watching it and reading it when someone else does it for me to enjoy. I can laugh at a good joke, and crack a few good ones myself. But if you ask me to write humor? Nope. I didn’t get on that DNA line before I entered this world.

It’s been said that comedy is tragedy plus time, and I gotta tell you that the best comedies shove characters into odd situations that push buttons but that also get laughs. Think Lucille Ball raising chickens, and all those eggs tucked “safely” in her shirt while Ricky practices their tango routine, only to end up crushing the eggs into a huge, messy goo. Or Stephanie Plum blowing up yet another car, or burning her hair. Or Sheldon’s “Bazinga, Punk” Zombie moment when he finally figures how to retaliate against Leonard’s pranks.

copyright Red Studios – Hollywood

copyright Red Studios – Hollywood

They say you should write out of your comfort zone if you’re to grow as a writer. Yeah, well, I’m here to say that this particular adage only goes so far. You don’t want me writing humor. Really, you don’t. And I don’t believe a writer should push so far out of their comfort zone if they already know their limitations. Is that the equivalent of being a wuss? Nope. I think that’s accepting yourself as you are and, in all seriousness, saving the public from a pain they shouldn’t have to endure.

Copyright CBS

Copyright CBS

This is, in a way, also the equivalent of writing to the trends. Worst mistake to make ever. The moral of the story here? Write what you know, write what you love, and write what turns you on. Sure, you can push your limitations along the way as long as they’re reasonable pushes. Readers will be grateful for it.

And so will you because it takes the pressure off. No one should tell you what you should write, or how you should write it. Comfort zone or not.


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About terriponce

I write about secrets, suspense, and soulmates.
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17 Responses to I Have No Sense of Humor (aka, learning to write what I love)

  1. Barbara Monajem says:

    I second Penn’s recommendation of Blackadder. So fabulous.

    Sometimes humor crops up in my stories, but I can’t force it. For me, writing outside my comfort zone means dealing with emotions and issues that are very personal, even if I’ve put them into a fictional context. It means exposing something of myself by putting those intense, sometimes scary, sometimes embarrassing feelings into a character. I found it hard at first, but the more I write, the easier it is.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. deborahcordesauthor says:

    I’ve incorporated humor into my novels, but in small doses – usually just before something horrible or dangerous happens. It’s a way of keeping the reader on his or her toes, so to speak, in that they don’t know what’s hit ’em as things take a dastardly turn. Thanks for fostering such an interesting discussion, Terri.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. lesleydiehl says:

    Hi Terri,
    Humor, now that’s a tough one. I’ve been hosting authors on my blog for several months to talk about what’s so funny about murder. I like your perspective and can appreciate your indicating that humor is not something you can write. It’s hard to analyze how to create humor and not everyone can or likes to write it nor does everyone like to read it especially in a mystery. I can’t imagine a writer deciding to sit down and write a humorous mystery. That sounds forced and, as one of my authors said on the blog, it must be organic, natural and not forced. I do write humrous cozy mysteries perhaps because my protagonists are such in-your-face gals. It just seems to spill out on the page.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Penn says:

    Your only redemption is to sit down and watch the Blackadder series 2,3 and 4 to appreciate intelligent humour. If I could devise a Blackadder type character, I would try my hand at humour.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. I think that writing outside of your comfort zone simply means that we, as writers, have to perfect what we do, and that we must, constantly, question our own ideas, our style, our beliefs. As for humor, it’s a very odd thing. How often do we sit there bored and/or irritated by jokes or comedies that have the person next to us falling about on the floor with uncontrolled hysterical laughter. Humor is such a personal thing. For some, it means mocking others, jeering, feeling superior, or roaring at folks slipping on banana peels. For others, it’s the clever way ideas and words can be twisted into a new way of seeing. Humor also means being able to laugh at oneself and, dear Terri, just by saying you have no sense of humor shows us that, ideed, you do.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Mark Morris says:

    We all need to challenge ourselves, or else we’ll never develop, but sometimes we need to be able to realise that whatever it is that seems to be eluding us just won’t come. We’re only here a short time – and a writer, even less, or so it seems. I’m all for pushing my limits though; the things I’ve done in the name of research, I’d blush to share sometimes, so I’d never say never, so I feel it has to be very much up to the individual. Myself, I’m a man who writes mostly through a womans’ POV, and I’ll give anything a try. At least once or twice.

    However, if the writing is so difficult that it feels like you’re pushing a London bus up-hill against the wind on an icy road, with the brakes on, then you should give it up. If you’re hating it, you could be doing something much better with your time. And your readers will thank you for it.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. terriponce says:

    It never occurred to me to study humor, though I can definitely see the appeal in learning something new. Not sure I’ll add it any time soon to my bucket list, but it’s something I may consider down the road. 🙂


  8. livrancourt says:

    I once took a class in writing humor at the local community college, and while writing is a skill that can be taught, humor is a particularly difficult aspect to pin down in a classroom. I think it’s worth studying, however, because it adds another tool in my box – not something I’m going to build my reputation on, but a way of adding color to certain moments in a piece.

    (And boy did that sound ponderous. Sheesh.)

    Liked by 1 person

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