Once again I am writing a post for Rarasaur’s Prompts for the Promptless. This week’s prompt is “Running Gag”.
A running gag is a reference or joke which appears repeatedly.
Growing up, my friends and I always had inside jokes. I never thought much about it until someone from a different grade recognized me five years out of school. What did he remember? The inside jokes he never understood.
But in writing, it’s difficult to have inside jokes. For the most part, when something funny happens it’s never mentioned again unless the writer employs is as a running gag.
The main purpose of a running gag is humour. The first time the joke is mentioned, it may not be funny. In fact, it may not even be classified as a joke at all but with every repetition, the running gets funnier.
Unfortunately, when there is too much repetition the humour is lost and the joke gets boring. The line between just enough and too much can be vague; but if you find yourself getting bored of writing it, chances are you’ve crossed the line.
The running gag isn’t just about humour, it also serves a greater purpose. This greater purpose is to make the reader feel special. Everyone likes to be included and when a reader gets a running gag, they feel included. If it’s a joke that spans across different books, then readers feel special because they recognize the gag from previous books.
Running gags welcome readers into a fandom. It’s almost like a special club that you get into by reading the books or watching the show. They’re jokes that fans have in common and can bond over.
While running gags are not necessary, they can add an extra element to the story. If you find that your stories are losing readers, try engaging them with a running gag.
What’s your opinion about running gags? Are they worth writing or do they get old fast?
Before you leave, check out the other wonderful promptless bloggers this week: