On the whole, I’ve been told I’m a funny person. I like to make people laugh; no, scratch that: I love making people laugh. Laughter is one of the most beautiful sounds people make, and nothing makes me smile so much as to know something I’ve said made someone giggle.
I love making my husband laugh. Though he can be, on the whole, a rather stoic individual, when he laughs he transforms. His eyes crinkle, he displays his most delightful smile, and he laughs this bright, mellifluous laugh.
Though I don’t think it’s a requirement for everyone’s writing, I think it is important in many situations to lighten the mood every now and again. Especially if, as in my case, you’re writing about rather heavy subjects and big stakes. But balancing humor and drama is difficult. One of the pitfalls many writers fall in is assigning one character to be comic relief. The trouble with such an approach can often lead to that character losing credibility–if they’re just funny, they can come across as shallow.
What I’ve tried to do in my most recent edit is refine the humor throughout the book. It’s not only characters that are funny, but situations. Sometimes humor is much more powerful when it’s propelled by a character you never imagined would be funny faced with a bizarre situation.
Of course, that said, humor is a painfully subjective thing. What is funny to me may be funny to a handful of uber geeks but over the heads of others. And it’s not to mention that I have a much more in-depth relationship with my characters than anyone else does, due to the fact that I wrote them; what may appear amusing/funny/humorous to me in a situation simply won’t translate at all to anyone else’s reading.
Over the last few weeks I’ve been playing with GarageBand and recording bits of my book. I have a background in acting (well, if you count acting class as a kid and lots of musicals in high school), and it helps me polish existing pacing as well as explore my characters. Not to mention it gives me an opportunity to try out various accents. (I had thought this approach was unique until I listened to Neil Gaiman read his book Neverwhere aloud; I am unbelievably impressed by his range of accent and incredible read aloud skills… not that I ever doubted him. The man is cool embodied.)
At any rate, I’ve been playing these recordings for my husband and a few close friends–and I must say, the most rewarding moment came when I was in the car with Michael, and he laughed out loud.
A laugh is better than a thousand praises.