Basic Tips for writing humor

1- The worst case scenario rule.
Never give into the temptation of making life easy for your characters. The worst of disgraces must fall upon them in the worst possible way, without remedy. Only at that point should you ask yourself what the funniest way to solve that situation is.

2- The plot itself should be humorous.

This is the hardest part. It is what takes true comedies apart from the “slightly humorous” books. The premise of the plot should be funny per se.

3- Situations should be original and… well, funny.

Intensity should vary, of course, to give the reader a break. Going back to The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy: What if… humans were not the only ones experimenting on animals in the name of science? What if mice were experimenting on human beings? What if… the answer to the life, the universe and everything is the number 42?

4- Pick a funny fact to repeat.

Repetition is one of the most effective ways of making comedy. Readers look after that moment in which they know the main character will do something familiar, something they have read before but that is always funny. That is the base of TV comedy; the more you know the characters the funnier it gets when they do what we already know they will do. Take as an example how Sheldon reacts whenever somebody takes his spot on the couch in The Big Bang Theory.

5- The characters have to be funny.
By their own merits or by contrast. It is the most used comic resource and there are tons of examples. Going back to Master Douglas Adams, I believe that Marvin the paranoid android is one of fictional comedy’s greatest assets:

“- Let’s go – he said in monotone-. I have been commanded to take you to the bridge. Here I am, with a brain the size of a planet, being asked to take you to the bridge. Would you call this a satisfactory job? I would not.”

“- I’m sorry, did I say something wrong? – Said Marvin while walking slowly and with indifference -. Pardon me for breathing, which never do anyway, so I don’t know why bother to say it. Oh, God, I’m so depressed! There it is another one of those self-centered doors. Oh, life! Don’t talk to me about life.”

6- Do not let the pace decline (at least not too much)
It is true that you cannot go full-speed all the time but the “comedy pace” is usually soft. Whenever you need to slow down the pace you can intertwine humorous phrases with comic descriptions and dialogue.

7- Play with words.

Language is your tool and it can be comic on itself. You can use word play, surprises, sarcasm, exaggeration, double entendres, and veiled references. For example:

  • I got the flu once. It was awful. I could not eat anything for almost three hours.

One would expect to read: “I could not eat anything for almost three days”. But we get surprised by the word “hours”, which is also an exaggeration and funny by itself. But wait, make these words come out of an obese person’s mouth and it becomes self-criticism: Three for the price of one.

Need help finding words? Use the following resources:

 

8- Make use of life experience.
Taken from The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy too: The Vogons have invented a unique kind of torture. They read out loud their newly written poetry to their victims. It is unbearable. I have been to improvised poetry jams and I laughed out loud while reading this. Douglas Adams wrote that for people like me, who have attended poetry jams and (most probably) shared his reaction to them. Not everybody will appreciate that kind of humor and that is fine. Not everyone will be appreciative of every line you write as well. And it is necessary to accept that.

 

9- Learn from the Masters.
Do not over explain. Do not try to justify a joke, just let it go. You do not even need a reaction from the rest of your characters. Some readers will get the joke and some others will not but the ones who do will find it very funny, for sure.

 

10- Warnings.
a.
Humor needs context. Much of what makes us laugh depends on our experience, education, age and gender. That is why some people find The Monty Python, Abbot and Costello, Laurel and Hardy funny and some others do not.

 

b. Can you withstand the pressure? Not everybody will look at your kind of humor with sympathy, especially when talking about satire. In fact, many people might get upset if they feel you are making fun of something they value. There is a fine line between humor and offense. It is a blurry and slippery line that you will notice only after having crossed it. Stand-up comedians do it often and throw themselves into the void when confronting people from the audience. If you will write humor you have to be able to withstand the heat after going a bit too far.

This is an introduction to comic novel writing.

The difficult task of learning to read and write

Reading is one of the most important tools for adapting to the social and educational contexts. A failure in learning this will quickly generate a series of negative effects on the child, like a negative attitude, grade repetition, dropout and, ultimately, the association of learning with anguish and a feeling of incompetency with regard to a task.

Speaking is made of sounds; these sounds are called phonemes, and are classified in consonants, vowels, consonant clusters and diphthongs.

Learning to read and write requests that one have the cognitive resources that will help them associate in their mind the sound, or phoneme, with the corresponding graphic or visual symbol, called grapheme. This implies that the person can recognize the letters and groups of letters, so that they can understand what that word means.

However, this process that seems so trivial and that is carried out almost automatically, is the cause of much grief and difficulties for some children.

There is a group of difficulties in the development of language that are not sufficiently explained by impaired auditory perception or a faulty phono-articulatory apparatus, nor by intellectual retardation or other psycho-patological disorders and socio-emotional deprivation. These disorders are grouped under the name “specific developmental language disorder” (SDLD) and are subject to different clinical procedures, depending on the level to which the phonological, syntactical and lexical capacities are affected, with regard to comprehension and expression. These can, in turn, be associated with communication disorders (autism) or with a background of learning disorders, like dyslexia or dysorthographia.

The dyslexic-dysorthographic child is biologically different, because he has a special genetic component that formed his perception of the world before any formal learning did. According to recent studies, the origin of this is in the brain, so he is different from birth; therefore, when the time comes to teach him how to read, he has already interacted with his environment differently than the others. From the first words, his mother tongue has been perceived by his brain in a different way. From the first contacts with his visual environment, the image that he makes in his mind about the surrounding world and his perceptions about time and space are different, too.

The development of neuropsychology allowed us to discover that the brain of a child, as well as that of an adult, is organized in a modular way; that is to say, it consists of interconnected networks, each one commanding a different part of the intellectual process. The well-functioning of each of these networks can be damaged in at least two ways: either by suffering a lesion, an injury close to a cerebral area (like, for instance, a serious head trauma), or due to the fact that the respective area has developed incorrectly from the first moments of life in-womb, or from birth.

In both cases, the consequences are usually the same. When the damaged networks need to be used for an intricate activity like reading, the person faces specific reading difficulties, thus matching the general term of dyslexia. When dyslexia appears at an adult who has previously learnt how to read properly, it is called acquired dyslexia (or alexia). But when the condition is present before reaching the age appropriate for learning how to read, then it is the learning that will be perturbed, so then we talk about developmental dyslexia.

 

What happens in the brain of a dyslexic child?

The human brain consists in two hemispheres – right and left – that communicate with each other through a structure that acts as a bridge between them, called corpus callosum (the colossal commissure).

Each hemisphere specializes in several functions. The left hemisphere controls the language processes, while the right one handles processes concerning visual and spatial information.

The two cerebral hemispheres function differently; the left one processes the information sequentially, some data after the other, while the other one does this simultaneously – that is, a great amount of data at the same time.

In reading, the two types of strategies are combined in order to manage the information. However, when it comes to dyslexic children, the dysfunction or failure of the left hemisphere affects the information processing speed, which makes it difficult for the child to be able to process rapid changes of successive stimuli, both in the auditive and in the visual area.

A report written by Kaufman and Galaburda in 1989 thoroughly display the evidence of anatomical and functional abnormalities in dyslexia. There, the authors prove that in the brain of the dyslexic, there are specific abnormalities of the cerebral cortex, as well as different asymmetries in the parietal, temporal and frontal lobes, and an abnormal metabolism in the right cerebellum. (Figure 12)

Since dyslexia is primarily a learning problem, the characteristic personality will stand out in the classroom either by shyness and seclusion, or by a disruptive behaviour, talking, fighting, not working, as ways to achieve the acknowledgement that he or she cannot obtain through his school performance.

 

Factors that help you study

EXERCISING: It helps to fight the harmful effects of sitting down for too long. Some studies say that over 50% of students don’t do enough exercise.

Besides, it’s been proven that there’s a correlation between physical preparation and academic grades. This means that students who are physically fit tend to get better grades than those who are not.

Lastly, if sports are not your thing, you should know that there are many other activities that help you exercise: hiking, walking, cycling, dancing, etc.

 

SLEEPING: It’s very common for many of you to still be tired when you wake up in the morning to go to school. Maybe you didn’t sleep enough the previous night, or maybe you went to bed too late. If this is the case, it’s very likely that a TV show is to blame.

TV steals many hours of sleep from students. However, sleeping helps the body relax, making it ready for the next day.

You might remember a time when you had a bad night. Surely, the next morning you didn’t feel like doing anything, and it was very difficult to focus on an intellectual task. So it’s important to have a strict bed time, because sleeping is a basic necessity for the human body.

You might be wondering how many hours you should be sleeping. It’s true that each individual person needs a different amount of time, but someone your age should ideally get between 8 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleeping time.

 

BALANCED DIET: It’s important to get a varied diet, rich in minerals, vitamins and proteins, because these are the things that get used the most when doing intellectual tasks. So, it’s important to consume: milk and dairies, rich in calcium and phosphorus; dry fruits rich in magnesium; meat, fish and eggs, rich in proteins; vegetables and fruits, rich in vitamins and minerals.

But, apart from your diet, there are other aspects to consider:

  • Don’t eat food that can give you digestive problems, because then you’ll be indisposed when it’s time to study.
  • Chew thoroughly to facilitate digestion, so you can be ready when it’s time to study.
  • Take care of your oral hygiene after meals. This helps avoid certain physical pains.
  • Take a break during digestion periods: don’t do anything that requires you to focus or to do a lot of thinking.
  • Have a good breakfast, eat well, have a light lunch and a small dinner.

 

NO STIMULANTS: Any product that’s detrimental to health hurts studying, directly or indirectly.

We’ll analyze some products:

  • Alcohol: reduces all psychological functions and overall performance. Even in small doses, alcohol reduces performance in intellectual tasks.
  • Tobacco: tobacco contaminates and consumes the oxygen that activates brain cells.

 

RELAXATION: Usually, when we breathe, we only use a small amount of our lungs’ potential power. So, we are losing some concentration potential, because deep and slow breathing has a positive effect on the mind, thanks to the larger amount of oxygen that’s passed on to the brain.

So, it’s advisable to do slow and deep breathing exercises, especially after waking up, when going to bed, and during breaks. Three or four minutes of breathing exercises while studying are enough.

The APA Format Citation General Guidelines

There are several available writing formats that are being utilized by researchers, students, and writers today and APA writing style is among them. APA format of writing is mostly used in studies like education, psychology, and social studies. This kind of writing format was introduced by a group called American Psychological Association in 1929 in order to provide helpful parameters and standards that will be used when arranging and organizing a paper. These guidelines will ensure that all works in this writing format will be readable, correct, and consistent with each other. Although the whole APA directions and recommendations are extremely broad, here are some of the most general and common rules that you need to know in order to make use of APA format.

  • Margin – All sides will have one inch in measurement.
  • Spacing – The whole document or research paper will use double-spacing.
  • Font – It is especially suggested that Times New Roman should be the font style used and 10 or 12 as the font size.
  • Title Page – This page should contain the research paper’s title, the running head, your complete name, and the institution where you are associated with. After the heading, the first line will have the paper’s title, the second will have the writer’s name, and then lastly, the institution or school. All these information should be centered both horizontally and vertically.
  • Header – The header should contain the following: “Running Head:” which will then be followed by the title of the paper and written in full capital letter. Also, ensure that every page of the paper will contain a header presenting the paper’s title as well as the number of the page.
  • Abstract – This is the part of the document that will follow the title page. It primarily consists of what the paper will present. For instance, you will find the methodologies used, the findings form researches made, and the conclusions. The recommended length of this summary is about 150 to 250 words.
  • Body’s Alignment and Spacing – In every paragraph, the first line should be indented always. After every period, there should be two spaces before the next sentence.
  • In-Text Citations – In-text APA citation texts should always be used in order to authenticate the sources and of course, to avoid any plagiarism issues. Using the proper APA format citation, the citations or references should be enclosed in parenthesis together with the date of publication and the last name of the author.

o   Example: (Lieber, 2003)

  • Reference Page – This page will be titled “References” and will follow APA format citation as recommended. It will contain more in-depth information about all sources. As indicated in APA format citation rules, the list of references should be arranged alphabetically. If the information cannot be contained within one line, according to APA format citation, the second line should be indented using the TAB key. Also, APA format citation regulations indicated that quoted references should be both included in the Reference page and the in-text citations. In order to have a proper understanding of how APA format citation should be done, make sure to check out samples and tutorial online.

Creating a Bibliography Page

Every book or writing material has its own bibliography page. What is a bibliography? It is the systematic list of books, articles and other sources that a researcher or a student uses in his or her research paper. In the bibliography format, this page appears at the end of the manuscript. In the creation of a bibliography, there is also a need to create citations which involves formatting notes that would give acknowledgement to the researcher’s references.

Bibliography formats available

There are two commonly used bibliography format and they are the APA and MLA formats. These two formats usually include the following details: author’s name, book or article titles, publishers, publishing date and place, styles or type, book size and others. There is a need for a bibliography for it assists readers in finding the original sources of your references. You also need to remember that in the Chicago format and in any other formats, the bibliographies are alphabetically arranged.

 

Annotations

Furthermore, a bibliography is composed of annotations. Annotations are lists of concise notes that direct the research paper or give comments regarding the usefulness of an appended work. Now, it is very important that bibliographies are formatted properly. Scholars, literary writers and professional researchers need to consider the bibliography part as crucial to the paper for they are useful sources for many readers especially the serious ones.

 

Types of Bibliography

There are many bibliography examples available from various sources for everyone to check out. In fact, it is best to check the two types of bibliography. One is the analytic bibliographies and the other is the critical bibliography. Analytic bibliography is concerned with resources as material objects. This means that physical features such as the type of paper, printing features and more in order to establish that the sources are reliable and with a establish authorship. On the other hand, descriptive bibliography format pertains to the organized listing of sources, references and publications. This bibliography format is what APA and MLA formats use. It even has 4 categories: universal and general, bibliography and selective bibliography.

 

Listing according to subjects

In addition, bibliographies can also be listed according to several subjects, different countries of publication and different date of publication. There are times wherein researchers or students are instructed to limit their bibliographies based on any of the following: subject, country of origin, works of one author or on books for particular purpose or audience.

 

Listing according to type of source

It is a great strategy to list down each book, article and other sources that you utilize when doing a research for this will make the creation of bibliographies easier may it be under the APA or the MLA bibliography formats. What to take down? List the full title of your reference, author’s name, place and date of publication and the publisher.

 

Listing alphabetically

All in all, it is best to arrange your entries in alphabetical order when formatting your bibliography or works cited page. If you encounter materials without an author, you can list them on your bibliography based on the title. You can also utilize a citation maker to help you in formatting your sources.