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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    165

    Laughter in Stories

    As I've been writing the next few installments of my series and read over the new stories others have been putting out, a question has come to mind. What are people's thoughts on laughter in stories? I've come to see more writers "tell" about the laughter than let the reader "hear it." For example:

    "She threw her head back and cackled wildly as the long nails of her tormentor danced and scratched across her sensitive skin."

    versus

    "NOHOHO HAHAA! WAHAHAIT! PLEHEHEASE HAHAHAHAHA! PLEEEEEEEEHEHEHEHASE!" She laughed."


    My question was which one do people prefer more? Do the long lines of HAHA's and HEHE's numb your mind and hurt your eyes or do you see them as a way to better visualize how the person being tickled is actually laughing? I know a good blending of the two can make an amazing story but if it came down to one or the other which would you pick?
    "I found a post it on the bed saying "We ran put of corn flakes, FU" It took me 4 hours to figure out that FU meant Felix Unger!"-Odd Couple

    "You touch that phone and so help me God, the next time you touch it, it'll be with FOUR fingers!"-Sunshine Boys

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2007
    Location
    UK
    Posts
    513
    Personally, as a reader (and occasional writer) I like a mix of both. There is actually a third method, which I prefer, whereby the laughing is simply written in lower case, as opposed to capitals. I also prefer that when writers use either of these that they write in a way that the Lee would actually laugh. In your example above it would be better written as -
    "NO-HO-HO! HA-HA! WA-HAI-HAIT! PLEEE-HEE-HEASE! HA-HA-HA-HA-HA! PLEEEEEEEE-HEE-HEE-HEASE!"
    I try to hear in my head how the Lee would actually laugh. I have also tried mouthing the dialogue to myself whilst scribbling notes. Whatever works!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Maryland
    Posts
    165
    Oh I know, I tend to use the lowercase for giggling and light reactions and caps for more of the loud laughing. I was just wondering in general if people find the typed out H's and A's to distracting or not.
    "I found a post it on the bed saying "We ran put of corn flakes, FU" It took me 4 hours to figure out that FU meant Felix Unger!"-Odd Couple

    "You touch that phone and so help me God, the next time you touch it, it'll be with FOUR fingers!"-Sunshine Boys

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    TN
    Posts
    111
    Can’t explain it, but the capitalized strings of laughter really make a story for me most of the time.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    281
    I prefer when it's a mix of both yeah, couldn't really pick just one or the other.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2014
    Location
    Southern East Coast
    Posts
    4,035
    Blog Entries
    31
    Quote Originally Posted by FeatherFan15 View Post
    I prefer when it's a mix of both yeah, couldn't really pick just one or the other.
    Same!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    281
    Though no offence to one specific author but they did a version I didn't really care for where the laughter and talking were just separated like "HAHAHAHA ALRIGHT!"

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    401
    I like the art behind stories, the skill to keep the reader interested in words.
    To me putting a stone on a key to make it appear whatever times is not so much of a skill ;-)

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Posts
    10
    Interesting question, indeed! Actualy I prefer laughing to be written in capitals, as in your second example, but rather spaced, like Joker Jack made it. For me capital cases mean loud laugh, that stresses victim's vulnarability and ticklisness: big caracters - loud laughing - more excitment! That's how I perceive this.

  10. #10
    I prefer narrative description of the laughter to the HAHAHAHAHA so common in stories. In fact, I tend to skip by those lines in search of the next tickling act in the story.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Midwest
    Posts
    213
    Maaaaaann....the capitalized laughter and utterances are something I feel is key to any story...for me.

    That being said, I think doubling up works. Setting up the reaction (bucking, giggling, screaming), manner (hard, incoherently, at the top of his/her lungs), and transitioning to the laughter and dialogue.

    Also, cursing in dialogue makes it real and hot...again, imo.

    Sent from my LGL164VL using Tapatalk

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2014
    Posts
    281
    Preferring to hear laughter I think was a part of why I'm not all too big on gags.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Los Angeles, California.
    Posts
    372
    What an interesting survey of responses.

    I tend to mostly skip (perhaps skim) long strings of laughter and I generally don't write them out when I write. It's interesting and wonderful to see that some people really love them.


    Magic-Feet


  14. #14
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Location
    East Coast
    Posts
    706
    I like a mixture of both, and try to use both in my own stories.
    PhoenixRising's definition of a Puritan: One who lives in the constant fear that someone somewhere is being tickled.



  15. #15
    Both!


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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