Humor in Writing

I write contemporary fiction genre with themes that revolve around the facts of life.  

Bowled but Not Out (BbNO) revolves around second chances. Often, an individual who has been let down the first time from a dysfunctional relationship will not have the courage to stand up and look out for another opportunity. Despair and discouragement will envelop her. 

“If you want to tell people the truth, make them laugh; otherwise, they’ll kill you.”

? George Bernard Shaw

That’s when I thought of sprinkling humor in my protagonist’s life, Saru, by using cricket as a metaphor throughout the novel. I have projected Saru to be confident, empathic, funny, and silly at times. She bats away the sarcasm and negativity in the stadium that is her life. 

Humor isn’t easy to define. While you know that comedy is a cognitive and emotional experience that often leads to laughter, you may not know why. 

Why is something funny?

No one knows how to answer that question definitively. Humor is personal, subjective, and biased.

Humor is often the result of surprise. An unexpected action or phrase can be a delightful treat when set up in the right way.

“There is a thin line that separates laughter and pain, comedy and tragedy, humor and hurt.”

? Erma Bombeck

There is a thin line that separates laughter from pain. I embraced some tips to be able to make it an entertaining read.

  1. Mold a protagonist to appear silly. I portrayed her as a die-hard Bollywood fan who would love to sing and dance around trees and even get emotionally charged if someone did a favor for her. This easy-going personality came in handy when I showcased her in a dysfunctional relationship. But then I also tried to have a character support her transition during that period and not give up. 
  2. Compare two lives. One was the protagonist who had entered a dysfunctional relationship, and the other was her co-sister happily married. This contrast helps the reader get a grip on what my protagonist is going through, and it helps generate empathy for her. 
  3. Use metaphors to define her tragedies in addition to happy moments keeps the mood light. I used the terms of cricket to do the above. 

Example: “Go and hit the ball out of the park.” Saru’s dad cheered when they reached their destination. Saru realized that she had received a beamer and was quick to duck figuratively to avoid getting hurt. Her self-pride was bruised, but she continued to glare at the maid’s audacity. 

4. Place a character reader love to hate. That prevents the plot from becoming too spicy and intense.

Example: “Just remember, Saru, the whole world will be watching you.” Mom got comfortable on the dining chair with the rotary phone on her lap.

“What a smart way to encourage your daughter, Sushma!” Her dad scorned his wife then inquired, “What are you doing?”

“I have to inform our relatives, Colonel. How will they know that our Saru is going to be on TV?”

5. Make them laugh when they least expect it. Never set the expectation that you’re about to try to be funny. It’s much easier to be funny unexpectedly. Attempting to be funny is a subtle side effect; humor is a pleasant deviation from an expectation. Then create a scenario where laughter is induced skillfully. 

Example: Saru goes for a TV interview, and things don’t go as planned. But she turns out to be everybody’s favorite towards the end. 

I usually project the mental growth of my characters as they learn from their failures. And in my Bowled but Not Out novel, I project the same. This young lady knows to groom herself to be a confident achiever and strengthen the platform for her daughter and her future. 

The use of simple language, smooth transition of the story plot, humor, relatable and straightforward characters all make this book enjoyable and a must-read by one and all.


This post comes from Rough Writer Ruchira Khanna

A Biochemist turned writer who gathers inspiration from the society where I write about issues that stalk the mind of the man via tales of fiction.

I blog at Abracabadra which has been featured as “Top Blog” for five years. Many of my write-ups have been published on LifeHack, HubPages to name a few.

I can be found at:

Twitter: @abracabadra01

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  1. TanGental

    Good luck. Anything with cricket included has my vote!

  2. T. Marie Bertineau

    Interesting post! Humor is critical, but hard to navigate!

    • explorereikiworld

      I agree Marie. It took me 8 books to get a hold of it. But, I’m still learning it.

  3. robbiesinspiration

    A great post, I don’t have much humour in my writing. It doesn’t come naturally to me at all.

    • explorereikiworld

      Thanks Robbie. I’m still learning, but it feels good to have a chuckle or two 🙂

  4. explorereikiworld

    Hi Amy,
    You could unsubscribe. That button is at the end of the email. Hope that helps. Love n Light.

    • Charli Mills

      Oops! Joke’s on us, Ruchira — that comment was spam! I deleted it. But thank you for responding in a helpful way.

  5. Jules

    Humor can also help heal. There was a move called ‘Patch Adams’ about a doctor who employed humor to help heal his patients. 😀

    Continued success! My family enjoys humor. Yes it can be very subjective to who is saying it, how it is related and with differing levels of comfort. Hard to understand how some folks can’t seem to laugh at anything.

    • explorereikiworld

      I agree. I’ve seen some straight faces. But, humor heals so a silly chuckle here n there is good for health.

  6. Charli Mills

    Humor can be a useful tool in writing, but not an easy one to master. I enjoyed studying Shakespear’s comedies for his vast range of comedic skills. Great tips for writers.

    • explorereikiworld

      Thanks Charli. Yes, as long as a human is willing to learn each day, he/she is growing. 🙂

  7. Colleen M. Chesebro

    I enjoyed Bowled, but Not Out, so much Ruchina. It was a great cultural tale, as well. You write great characters. <3

    • explorereikiworld

      Thank you very much Colleen. I’m thrilled that you enjoyed it. xoxo

  8. Mr. Ohh's Sideways View

    My writing is all humor. Laighing is healing to me. I’d love to hear your opinion if you have the time to stop by
    Laugh, It’s the least expensive Health Tip ever

    • explorereikiworld

      Read a few blogs. I like how you express yourself. 🙂

  9. Danny Whack!

    Oh yes, humor always makes me go ha-ha. For more Ha-ha’s, look at my newest article. This comment was sponsored by laughing.


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