Well here's a big surprise. I don't HAVE a 5 part series. I have 4. So tomorrow I'm answering all the questions you asked plus any you leave for me today.
1. Remember back in 1806, when I said to put the funniest word at the end of a sentence? The same goes for the entire post, put the funniest part last, that's what people remember most.
One of women's greatest gifts is to gab. We come in, excitedly jumping on the couch to tell the ENTIRE story in its most MINUTE configuration and we drive men crazy. They want the bottom line. Did you or did you not have a heart attack? We then make them wade through our story with us, inch by excruciating muddy inch. Best thing to do? Give him the bottom line first, then tell the story while he nods off to his favorite music, the NFL.
What I'm trying to say is don't aggravate your readers.
2. Which brings me to another tip. Start your post with a bang. like I thought I had a heart attack.
It gives us all a hint of what might be coming and we're hooked by the possibility. Don't give your post that name. Call it The Light at the End of the Tunnel. It infers but does not state.
3. Asterisks in swear words KILL me. Like b*tch. The asterisk doesn't make us think you meant botch or batch. You're a writer and those words make you a lazy one and don't make anything funny unless you're 10 years old. Come up with a word all your own that means bitch but is funnier. I read in the NY Times a few months ago that saying the N Word instead of the real word only reinforces that word in a negative way because we still say it in our heads. Same with b*tch or f*ck. If you don't want to swear, then drop the asterisk and the word. You're taking us out of the story (timing) and probably not in an amusing way. Seriously, swear or go home with a baggie full of vowels. There's nothing less interesting than a coward.
And if you think hoot! whoot! epic fail or beyotch is funny, I'm going to pray for you tonight.
4. The Rule of 3's is pretty basic comedy 101. Never make a list, except bullet ones, of more than three. And the third one is always the (alleged) funniest:
I was so starved I ate a hot dog, a hamburger and the food cart.
5. A tag is also standard in standup, less so in writing. But they're brilliant when you can pull them off. Got it b*tches?
That last word was a tag, recalling something said earlier. Readers will think you're a genius. At least I keep telling myself that.
6. The K sound, also Comedy 101. Words with the hard K sound will always get a laugh. It's why you hear Fuck so much in standup. Dick is another one. Ask a comic what kind of jokes he prefers and he'll always say, "A good dick joke," unless he's an Evangelical and then. No.
7. Many bloggers spread themselves too thin. Unless you're a political writer, DO NOT write about it if you're calling yourself a humor writer. If you don't believe me, stick your own blog into Google reader, click on SHOW DETAILS and you'll see how many readers you have. You can also do this to everyone else's blog. We get enough news on the Internet and TV, we don't want to hear your take on things that you may talk about once every two weeks. If you're a humor writer, you'd sure as hell better make it funny.
8. Funny published authors use very few adjectives and adverbs unless absolutely necessary. When they do, it's in a sarcastic or blatantly humorous way like this from: Dave Barry Turns 40:
"And let's talk about airline pilots. I have long felt that if I'm going to risk my life and valuable carry-on belongings in a profoundly heavy machine going absurdly fast way the hell up in the air over places like Arkansas, where I don't even know anybody, then I want whoever is operating this machine to be much older and more mature than me. But now I routinely get on planes where the entire flight crew looks like its raising money for its Class Trip...I want the crew to leave the cockpit door open so I can make sure they're not using the navigational computer to play Death Blasters from Planet Doom."
9. Spellcheck spellcheck spellcheck.
10. Find one thing you have or do that no other blogger has or does. Something people will be surprised at, wait for, hope you do again. For example, I changed all my post titles to the names of movies. I obviously thought I was a genius.
No one noticed.