[Write On Wednesday] Laughter

Following up on the recent theme of emotional writing prompts, here’s one that’s good for a laugh.

smile! by Lin Pernille Photography LLC, on Flickr

The Prompt

Write A Story That Features Laughter


  • Laughter can be cleansing, hysterical (in a bad way), nervous, comradely, cruel. Pick one, or cram as many as possible into one story.
  • Think about the physicality of laughter at the moment it happens.
  • Think about the emotions the memory of the laughter (happy or cruel) elicits later.
  • Use the moment of laughter as a plot device. It is the start or the end of something. It is some place/time/state your character wants to get back to or escape from.
  • If you’re showing laughter-following-a-joke, take a tip from Joss Whedon’s Firefly. He has a couple of scenes where he skips the joke and cuts straight to the characters laughing uproariously at whatever was said just off camera. That saves the audience from having to analyze the joke (“was it really that funny?”) and allows them to watch how the laughing characters react and interact. It allows for the sense of catharsis from the laughter without having to share the writer’s sense of humor. (Watch for the dinner scene in the episode Out Of Gas, around the 5:00 min mark).