Saturday, November 24, 2012

Rattle Readers -- Make'em laugh.

Hi folks, I'm continuing my series called Rattle Readers. I'm exploring the emotional landscape of books, and this week I'm going to chat about making readers laugh.

First off, laughter isn't far from tears. If you can pull off both in the same book, you are drawing close to revealing life as it truly is. Laughter is about the utterly or obviously senseless. It hits what is illogical and contrary to all reason.  Laughter bubbles up when common sense flaps in the wind. We laugh at the foolish, irrational, and disorderly, especially in the light of close relationships. We laugh at the meaningless. I think it's the slant that's important. In dark places, the author heals our heart by pointing out the humor in the situation.

I love to laugh when reading. Plenty of authors have made me laugh and I love them for it. A few come to mind: Douglas Adams' THE HITCHHIKERS GUIDE TO THE GALAXY is one great laugh-my-head-off memories. I'm sure I laughed so hard I fell off my bed more than once. Another book was Louis Sachar's SIDEWAYS STORIES FROM WAYSIDE SCHOOL; this one snuck up on me. I was like ho-hum for like eight chapters, but by chapter 30, I was laughing so hard I spit. Another book that made me laugh so much I slipped out my chair was THE ABSOLUTELY TRUE DIARY OF A PART-TIME INDIAN by Sherman Alexie.  I get the life of poverty, the ridiculous stuff you put up with when you are one the outcasts of society. Sometimes, if you don't figure out a way to laugh, your heart won't function anymore.

I believe that books make me laugh when the author reveals the impossible truth. This takes a sense of humor; an author who can ease the confrontation in the world has a real gift. You might offend people; a good laugh doesn't sugar coat life. You must write what you think is ridiculous in the everyday. Uncover the absurd about life. Reframe tragedy. The best humorous books will make readers laugh and cry. Think about this: Trade mourning for joy. Laughter may be the only thing that gives your characters the strength to endure and will be the gift that is passed on to your reader to alleviate tension in their lives. A secret, you  get to fall out of chair laughing before your readers.

Laughter is powerful and leading and must be used with care. I don't laugh at belittling others. Laughter for me is about uncovering joy in the darkness. Your story will give your readers an island of happy, a place to escape to.  Laughter  helps us dream or dream again. It is a way to reframe all the stupid circumstances the universe has given us. Laughter is relief that danger is over and the promise that good things are to come.  I think laughter is about bonding with each other about the human condition. We are not alone. No.

I hope that you will consider making readers laugh as you write. I'll be back next week with a new series called: SOUL INSPIRATION. Meanwhile, seize the day!

Here is this week's doodle. I call this:  "Woman 2."

Here's a quote for your pocket.

If we couldn't laugh we would all go insane. Robert Frost


Candilynn Fite said...

I love a book that can make me laugh until I cry, characters in impossible situations when laughter may be the only option.

Vijaya said...

A wonderful, wonderful post, Molly. A book that makes me both laugh and cry is the best.

Say, have you thought about sending these off to Children's Writer (ICL newsletter)? I'd love for more people to read these.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi Candi,

I love a book that will make laugh and cry.

Would they consider reprints from a blog?

This has been a good series for me to made me think.

Mirka Breen said...

“Laughter isn’t far from tears.” = make the reader FEEL.
I have to work on this more than anything, as my tendency was to make the reader think, more than feel.
Love you posts.

Vijaya said...

I don't know Molly ... call and find out. Chris E. write a LOT for them; she might know, and guide you better.

MollyMom103 said...

Hi, Mirka, Yes, that is it exactly. Feel. You gotta dig deep.

Faith Pray said...

Good words. I want to tap into humor more, but I suppose I've always been hesitant with my own humor. Don't get me wrong - I laugh! Often! But I feel like I am one very small funny from a whole family of much funnier, smarter people. So I'm hesitant to bring humor into my writing, but I very much would like to.