Writing Picture Books — With Humor

Funny picture books are enjoyable to read. But writing them requires skill.

To develop this skill, imagine something that captures emotion.  For instance, Joy. You want to convey Joy in the most unusual way you can think of. Then ask yourself, what would be crazier, funnier? Take it to the extreme. Generate as many ideas as possible. Reread them, add some, take away some and keep the amazing ones.

Use humor to show rather than tell.

Writing this kind of humor is situational. Similar to slapstick humor, the author must consider not just ordinary arguments or obstacles, but outrageous ones. And the foil can’t be simple either—it has to have exaggerated responses. Remember Wile E. Coyote? He not only falls off a cliff, an anvil lands on him. Take your character to the limit and then make them jump into a blackhole inside Swiss cheese.