Saturday, May 24, 2014

Writing with Irony

Humor writers know that Irony is one of the main weapons in their writing arsenal.  Irony is a tool that writers have been using since the time of the greek tragedies.  Here is a good definition:

  1. the expression of one's meaning by using language that normally signifies the opposite, typically for humorous or emphatic effect.
    "“Don't go overboard with the gratitude,” he rejoined with heavy irony"
    synonyms:sarcasm, causticity, cynicismmockerysatire, sardonicism More
    • a state of affairs or an event that seems deliberately contrary to what one expects and is often amusing as a result.
      plural noun: ironies
      "the irony is that I thought he could help me"
      synonyms:paradoxincongruity, incongruousness More
    • a literary technique, originally used in Greek tragedy, by which the full significance of a character's words or actions are clear to the audience or reader although unknown to the character.
      adjective: dramatic


An example of a character who uses irony to be humorous is Kuzco's body guard Kronk in "The Emperor's New Groove."  He is a giant man who performs feats of strength, yet he loves fine cuisine, can cook, and loves to be a woodland guide similar to a girl scout.  This makes his character hilarious!  We expect him to be mean but really he is gentle and sweet.  Watching his ladylike behavior while he tries to guard the emperor, and does it successfully is what makes him funny.


Another example is the character Bartameaus in the books, "The Bartemeaus Trilogy" by Jonathan Stroud.  

Bartimaeus is a terrible, scary looking genie who likes the finer things in life, is a bit lazy, has a soft spot for humans, and is really kind at heart.  As we watch him try to be terrible with a kind heart it is really funny!

So if you want to add some humor to your writing, try inventing an ironic character:  Someone who appears one way, but acts another.  It will add a depth and humor to your story that your readers will thank you for, and it will make your characters more loveable for lack of a better term, and your readers will be clamoring to read more about them.

1 comment:

kersten campbell said...

Sorry about the white background. My techno wizard husband is out on a 50 mile bike ride! Good help is never around when you need it!