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News: I moved the keyboard to my room and now I feel strongly inclined to tell the world that I adore Phantom of the Opera. Everything is perfectly normal and no, I don't have access to any secret underground labyrinth...yet.

--12 August 2017 --

Quote: Words are pale shadows of forgotten names. As names have power, words have power. Words can light fires in the minds of men. Words can wring tears from the hardest of hearts. --Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

The Fellowship

July 22, 2010

July 22, 2010 Writing Tip: Make Your Character Laugh

There are times in our stories where we need to lighten the situation a bit but we don't exactly want our book to be published under the "humour genre" title. If this is the case then the best option is to make your characters laugh. You've undoubtedly seen this occur many times, but how do you indicate a humorous situation more descriptively other than the common "he laughed" or "she laughed"?

The first option that might come to mind is the use of onomatopoeia. For instance "words" like "Heh heh", "Ha ha", "Tee hee", and so on can indicate laughter. Unfortunately these word-sounds have several drawbacks: "Ha ha" is usually associated with an evil villain (With a victorious "Ha ha!" the villain finished securing the rope that bound the girl tightly across the train tracks), "Heh heh" can lead to pronunciation problems (e.g. is it "hay hay", "hee hee", or "huh huh"?), and finally, "Tee hee" is commonly associated with a giggly teenage girl.

So what options do we have now? As a writer, I prefer to use descriptive phrases that tell the reader how my character is laughing. Terms like "chuckled", "snickered", "hooted", "howled", and "roared" often do the job better than the use of onomatopoeia.

The final path to take is to stick with the plain "he laughed" "she laughed" terms and then describe to the reader what it is that makes your character laugh.

Laughter is a highly addictive, positive, contagious: if somebody starts, it’s very difficult to stop.
-Robert Holden

Squeaks.

6 comments:

  1. Very good thoughts. I've had the "laughter problem" while I'm writing, and it's hard to get around.

    Queen Lucy

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  2. Very true... heh heh. XD I mean it all three ways.

    Also, you must make sure that the joke, whatever it may be, is weird enough or funny enough to laugh at; otherwise it just seems cheesy. :)

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  3. Must like. Very true and necessary. My characters like to chuckle and giggle mostly. Thank you for sharing.

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  4. Interesting . . . I never really think about how to describe laughter in a story. I usually use option 2 or 3. :)

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  5. I'm glad you folks liked it! I figured I had to write about something with meaning rather than the randomless mumble I've been dishing out to you lately :P

    Squeaks.

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  6. My charries were making me laugh...

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