Tuesday, April 21, 2015

It’s Not Only WHAT You Say…

… But also HOW you say it.

Thomas Hardy said that if Galileo had said in verse that the world moved, the Inquisition might have let him alone. To say something that challenges world perception, it is best to speak softly.

Or even better, with humor. 
A lot of opinionators have discovered that making us laugh lowers our defenses. Rhyming well is a neat trick to make the listener dance inwardly, and join the party.

As I revise my current WIP, (writerly shortcut for Work In Progress) I take at least a month between rounds, and when I return I do more than catch the yet-another-how-did-I-miss-that typo. I check to see if I’m laughing, or at least chuckling.

 I don't write humor; I'm very serious. But I find that the only way to not be utterly insufferable (a real hazard for us serious types) is to be funny. Occasionally tickle the reader’s midsection so she buckles a bit, her head lowers, her mouth opens in laughter, and something the reader was determined not to allow in just does.

In this case, the reader is me. I tell the writer, (also me) “Surprise me. Make me laugh.”


  1. Mirka, I am deadly serious. So imagine my surprise the first time I gave my big talk to our local SCBWI and I heard laughter ... (I was speaking about terrorism).

    Isn't it lovely when you tickle yourself on the page?

    1. This I had to hear. They laughed about terror?

  2. So true. The trick is doing it well.

  3. Humor is great. Even sad subjects can benefit from comic relief sometimes.

  4. I delight in other people's humor, but am not very good at creating it myself. But I think you're absolutely right that humor is a great way to get across what you want to communicate to others.

  5. Can't wait to hear the topic of your new novel! I like that--tickle the reader's midsection!

  6. "A spoonful of sugar makes the medicine go down in a most delightful way" (tune now stuck in my head)

  7. Light humour seems to open more doors and makes the speaker slightly more likeable. I am hardly the humourous sort though I wish I could be. I write serious. I think serious. My family and friends have expressed that more than once. But I do know, that to reach out to people, I really have to show them my lighter side (which I know I have).

  8. I find it hard to lighten up in my writing, especially when I'm trying to write the parts that intonation/facial expressions do when speaking.