11.34: Humor as a Sub-Genre

Humor is present as an element, at least to some degree, in a substantial amount of the media we consume. In this episode we discuss some stylistic tools for applying humor  to our work, and how these tools can best be employed.

WX Trivia: Episode 11.34 represents a pair of firsts for us here at Writing Excuses.

  • It’s the first time we’ve had to resort to having Howard record a fresh intro to replace some missing minutes
  • It’s the first time we’ve had a graphic novel as the Book of the Week.

Credits: this episode was recorded by Jeff Cools and an audio-eating gremlin, then mastered by Alex Jackson and a crossfade brownie.


Take some of the humor types, and rewrite a scene several times. Over-apply one type of humor with each rewrite, and take note of how the scene changes.

Force Multiplication: Schlock Mercenary Book 12, by Howard Tayler, Travis Walton, Sandra Tayler, and Natalie Barahona, with an introduction by Mary Robinette Kowal

4 thoughts on “11.34: Humor as a Sub-Genre”

  1. Lucille Ball on the candy conveyor belt, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers, and many others falling down and otherwise amusing us with physical humor, farce, puns, and other wonders of the comic gun… the funny foursome had a little attack of the earworms or something like that, but Howard stepped in and saved the day (or at least the podcast) with a quick summary, so that we could join the podcast already in progress. And now, you can read it. The transcript is in the archives, or over here


  2. In a novel-length work where the protagonist narrating the story is humorless in nature (and all the major supporting roles aren’t exactly funny either), how can I inject humor without altering who my characters are? Should I even attempt to do so?

  3. I was shocked and saddened to hear that Mary had been disciplined by WorldCon for serving scotch at a panel.

    Shocked because I can’t believe anyone even noticed one more drink changing hands at WorldCon.

    Saddened because I didn’t get any delicious scotch.

    How best to punish her? I suggest we all call her “Wicked Mary” until next WorldCon. Please, please, please, can we call her Wicked Mary?

    (P.S. Mary, don’t feel bad. I hope you were able to laugh it off as quickly and totally as your fans and friends.)

    (P.P.S. Oh! Wait! I mean: Wicked Mary, don’t feel bad…)

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