How to Write Funny Jokes and Riddles | Cassie Brenn | Skillshare

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How to Write Funny Jokes and Riddles

teacher avatar Cassie Brenn, Creative Person

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

4 Lessons (13m)
    • 1. Introduction to How to Write Funny Riddles

    • 2. Step 1 - Brain dump

    • 3. Step 2 - Writing Riddles

    • 4. Step 3 - Editing your Riddles

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About This Class

In this class you will learn how to write funny riddles that will make kids laugh.  I will teach you my easy 3 step method for writing riddles.  Plus I will give you a page of formulas that will help you write even more funny riddles in less time.  

Step 1 Brain Dump

Step 2 Write the Riddles

Step 3 Edit and Polish

This class is for anyone who wants to write jokes and riddles.  I use this method to write riddles for word puzzles that I create for Children's Magazines.  If you are interested in that please check out my class Create Puzzles, Get Published


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Cassie Brenn

Creative Person



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I want to help you be more creative every day.  Whether that's through starting a daily art challenge, learning a new craft, or taking a deep look into creativity, you'll find a class here that will inspire you.  

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NOTE:  As of 11/16/2019 I will no longer be posting new classes on Skillshare.  They have closed 6 out of 9 of my classes for not meeting their minimum A/V standards.  I could spend hours re-recording those classes or I can spend that t... See full profile

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1. Introduction to How to Write Funny Riddles: Hi, My name is Cassie. Brent. Welcome to how to write funny riddles for kids. Kids love jokes and riddles, and I bet you like to tell them. But you don't need to look them up on the Internet. You can write them yourself. But before we start writing, let's talk about the difference between a joke and a riddle. Often the words are used interchangeably. Both use a non funny set up in a funny punch line. But strictly speaking, a joke is a statement, and a riddle is A question in this class will focus on riddles because it's a little easier to write the set up. I'll teach you my process for writing setups and punch lines for rooms. I use a three step process. Step one is to do a brain dump and come up with topics, ideas and words that will be the raw material for your writing. Step two is to do the actual writing. We'll find the funny and put it down on paper. I'll share with you my riddle, writing formulas that will make things easier. Step three is to edit, and Polish will rewrite our material and put it in the proper structure for a riddle. I use original riddles in my professional work as a word puzzle writer for Children's magazines. All of my word puzzles include original riddles like these, By the way I've published a class on how to write word puzzles called Create puzzles and get published. You can take it for free by clicking on the link in. The resource is So if you're interested in writing your own riddles and making kids laugh, then push the button to enroll and let's get started. 2. Step 1 - Brain dump: Thanks for enrolling. Your project for this class will be to write a funny riddle and posted to the Project Gallery. In the video lessons, I will be showing you step by step how I do it so you can work alongside me as we go. Let's get started. Step one in How to Write funny riddles is to do a brain dump. But first we need to pick a topic. Really, your riddles can be about anything. You don't have to pick a topic. You think it's funny like boogers. For this project, I chose a boring word oven. To be honest, I did start with the word oven. I decided I wanted to write about food, but that's a really broad subject, so I narrowed it down each time I narrowed it down to something more specific. Doing this will make it easier to write jokes later. I can go back and do the process all over again with another word like refrigerator or banana. After doing that for a few sessions, I will have a bunch of riddles about food. Now that you have a topic, let's start our brained up. Write down your topic word and then start building out with any word you think of. I call it a brain dump because I don't want you to think about the words too much. Just get them out of your head and down on paper. A good way to do this is by writing a word web with pen and paper like I've done here on the right. But if you prefer to use a computer, you can use a spreadsheet or just make a list of words. Whatever works best for you after you've added your first layer of words, keep going. Add as many layers as you can think of. Add idioms and slang and common sayings. Add rhyming words and synonyms. Here's an example of my work. Keep pushing it as far as you can. Here are some more ideas for adding words AdWords with more than one meaning ad hominem apps, which are the same spelling but different meanings. And Hama phones, which is the same sound but spelled, exaggerate, push the limits, add cultural references such as celebrities or movies or song lyrics. Here you can see what I've done. I added the Hama phone for need, which is need K N E a d and N E D. I added another meaning for the words rise and layers. I added some cultural references with Frozen the movie and Paris Hilton. Here I split the word microwave into two parts, and then I wrote a synonym for each one. That's another strategy you can use. And I added song lyrics with the word range. Okay, I think you get the idea, and we've put in a lot of work in summary. Remember, just dump out the words on paper. Don't think about it too much. And don't try to be funny. If you try to force it at this point, you'll just get stuck. 3. Step 2 - Writing Riddles: Okay. Now comes the fun part. The writing begin by looking over your word web for possible setups and punch lines. You want to take words and relate them back to your topic. Any of the words could be part of the punchline, or part of the set up. A good place to start is by looking for puns and double meanings. So right at the top we had the word need. How can we relate that back to the topic? Well, you can see the chain of how we got K N e A T, but let's try to think of it as the Hama phone in E. B. So here's what I wrote. What do you call someone who needs bread? Answer is hungry. Hopefully you've got a little chuckle out of that. But anyway, this is a good example of a riddle because it sets up our expectation with the set up way here need and bread. So we assume K N e A. D. And of course, here we see it written that way, and our assumption is a baker with a lump of dough. But what often makes a riddle funny is that the punch line is different from our assumption , and that surprise is what makes us laugh. So here, instead of the definition of need K, any 80 were using need and e d. Okay, I'm sure you'll come up with much better riddles, but that's how you go about it. You connect words from your brain, dump back to the topic, look for double meanings and puns. Try starting with the punchline and then write the set up. Just don't forget the set up should not be funny. The riddle formulas can help with that. Basically, the formulas are a list of common setups. If you look at a lot of riddles, you will see these set ups used again and again. Of course, what's changes is the word you put in the blanks and the punchlines. You're right, but using these formulas can help you find the funny in your worthless. So try plugging words into the rural formulas and see if it sparks any funny ideas. And, most important, while you're writing, don't judge your riddles until later. You can decide whether they're funny or not later and honestly, a lot of them won't be funny, but write them down anyway. Just keep writing and you can decide what to keep, what to throw away and what you re right. In the editing stage, I'd say Spend at least 10 minutes writing riddles or more if you're on a roll and having fun. Here's a list of what I came up with on my first go through. I'm pretty happy with it. You can see I use some of the formulas. I use lots of puns and double meanings and even a few cultural references. I feel like I have some Myrtle's I can work with before you watch the next video, get to work writing some Myrtle's and then we'll rewrite and edit in the next lesson. 4. Step 3 - Editing your Riddles: Now we're going to take a look at our list of riddles and do some editing. The first thing you should do is make a backup copy, Don't delete or otherwise mark up your only copy of your riddles. Do yourself a favor and make a backup copy. Okay, now that that's done, divide your riddles into three categories. Yes, no and maybe yes, sir, for jokes that you love and are ready to go. Justus, they are no is for jokes that aren't funny or that are not right for your plan. Use. If you remember my word with, I have a chain about pot roast that could have easily lead to a joke. Like what does Snoop Dogg's Servat a dinner party? But since I write for kids, I didn't even go down that path. But if I did, then I would put it in the No category and save it for a more appropriate situation. The last category is for ideas that you like but needs some work. These are the ones we're going to edit in rewrite. So here's my list of riddles, all separated into groups. So the 1st 1 I want to work with is. What's the best looking appliance in the kitchen? Theo Oven. Because it's so hot. I like this idea. I think it has potential, but right now it's lacking. It feels a little awkward and wordy, like the punch line is trying to explain itself. And one rule of comedy is that if you have to explain the joke, it's not funny. So here are a few things that I'm going to try. First, I'm going to revisit my brain dump for new ideas, and I'll try rewriting it, using a different set up and using fewer words. Looking at my word web, I can see I have an alternate meaning of Paris Hilton attached to hop. So this is how I rewrote my riddle. When is an oven like Paris Hilton when it's hot? It's a little less wordy, but I really have to ask if kids today remember that Paris Hilton used to say, That's hot about everything. I also have to ask myself if kids today even know who Paris Hilton is. So let me try again, and here's what I came up with. I used the formula. What did one blank say to the other and it helps the writing be much tighter, and I think funnier. So I'm gonna leave it at that. The next riddle on my edit list is this one. I like this job, but it has one major problem. It gives the punchline away by using the word microwave in both the set up and the punch line. So I need to rewrite this. That might be a simple is using the source and coming up with a synonym. But in this case, there really isn't a good alternative for the word mike away. So I'm going to try to convey the same meaning behind the word by using a different phrase . So here's the final version. What do you call a group of witches that can make a potion in under a minute? A microwave coming in summary. When rewriting a riddle, look over your word web For related ideas, try different formulas. Don't give away the punch line by using the same words in your set up and add assumptions and surprise twists whenever you can. I hope you enjoy this class. Please remember to post your completed riddles and your work in progress to the Project gallery, and if you feel this class has helped you, please leave a review. Thank you