How do you describe laughing in a novel? - Page 4


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Thread: How do you describe laughing in a novel?

  1. #31
    I think it depends on what kind of laugh you are talking about. Also, does your description really add anything to the story? Sometimes less is more.

  2. #32
    Quote Originally Posted by jmsx521 View Post
    And, can someone give example of that type of little burst of laughing that many people do with their mouth closed. I don't even know how it is called; the best way I can describe it is, imagine you are in a quiet office environment and you see something funny: You burst, but just for a second, because you know you shouldn't interrupt the silence... and you never open your mouth in the laugh; it almost sounds like you are clearing your sinuses, or throat.
    I write that as "He snorted." Other times, I either use "He laughed" or "He laughed lightly."

    Maybe I don't run into the problem because there's not much to laugh about in my book. <_<
    "Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing." - Benjamin Franklin

    "I do not over-intellectualize the production process. I try to keep it simple: Tell the damned story." - Tom Clancy

  3. #33
    Member A_Jones's Avatar
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    Then she opens her mouth and begins to laugh full out. A clean pure sound, so unlike her usual cynical chuckle. I feel the tightness in my chest loosen. Soon we are both laughing so hard I feel tears leaking out of the corners of my eyes. Looking at Fae, pure childlike humor on her face, I see her as she might have looked, had she grown up away from the lonely hardship of the forest.

    From my book FAE, I rather liked this moment myself.
    Just another person trying to make her mark on the world. Everyone has something to say. I hope someday mine might be heard. I am looking for people who are like me.
    "I hope your bacon burns," -- Calcifer Howl's Moveing Castle Diana Wynne Jones

  4. #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    "He snorted."
    I like this one.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gamer_2k4 View Post
    "He laughed lightly."
    I don't like this one. Sounds unusual. "Lightly" doesn't seem to be a good description for a laugh, because when we think of laughs they are energy-driven expressions, and "lightly" describes something that is more gentle and minimal.

    I like "cynical chuckle" better as A_Jones said in the previous post.

  5. #35
    There are so many way to do it as there are many types of laughter and ways to express or describe it I don't think that there is one best way to do it but it depends on how it fits into the story and what kind of mood (if this is important or not) that the writer is trying to convey.

    Bill gazed around the conference room at his co-workers, they sat, clearing their throats, with reddened faces, laughter in their eyes.

    or

    She roared with laughter.

    or

    "Ha!" she said with a sly grin.

    could each be valid for different situations.

  6. #36
    I'm really straightforward. I'd just say, "He laughed." Or "She laughed."

    Unless there was something unusual in which he or she laughs, I will not specify it. If such was the case though, here's how I would do it.

    It took a moment to sink in, as the joke was very complex. But when it did, a teethy smile slowly imprinted into her face as she began chuckling, and then burst out laughing, even struggling to breathe.

  7. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by mrappe View Post
    Bill gazed around the conference room at his co-workers, they sat, clearing their throats, with reddened faces, laughter in their eyes.
    That's pretty original!
    "All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind."
    --Aristotle

  8. #38
    I never write the vocal sounds of laughter (hahaha), only if it's a sarcastic "Ha, ha. Very funny."

    I think the best ways to describe a laugh is to describe how the character laughs. For example, he could be bent over and slapping his knee. Or it could be a low chuckle over the rim of a glass. Other characters could react to the laughter. For example, I have a friend who sometimes startles me when she bursts out laughing.

    And, can someone give example of that type of little burst of laughing that many people do with their mouth closed. I don't even know how it is called; the best way I can describe it is, imagine you are in a quiet office environment and you see something funny: You burst, but just for a second, because you know you shouldn't interrupt the silence... and you never open your mouth in the laugh; it almost sounds like you are clearing your sinuses, or throat.
    The kind of laughter you try to hold back? I'd imagine it would make the person hot- and red-faced, that the stomach would almost start to hurt (or the throat? I remember experiencing this in a church once, and my throat really hurt from trying not to laugh). Maybe veins start popping out of the forehead.

  9. #39
    This is a tough one I've found. I remember reading a section in Stephen King's Hearts in Atlantis that did a bang up job of describing a whole room of guys reduced to tears of mirth.

    Here's an attempt of mine from my first novel.

    ***************LANGUAGE WARNING******************






    “Don’t get too comfy there, Phil,” Cairnsey said. “We’ve still got to walk down to the caves. You’ll be too stoned to move soon.”
    “Don’t you worry about me, young Joshua,” Phil replied. “I’ll worry for all of us. Especially the carrots.”
    The others looked at him as if he’d just said he wanted to shag his pet hamster, such was the absurdity of the statement.
    Griff gave a weird, uncertain chuckle.
    “What are you talking about, man?” he asked with a giggle.
    Phil looked confused. He frowned and almost smiled, then blinked a few times. Shook his head.
    “Erm…ha…emmm...”
    Sam started to giggle as well.
    “Er…I mean….ehhh…” Phil was saying.
    Cairnsey now started to chuckle, way down in his belly, and for the first time noticed a slight feeling of nausea.
    “What were we…who…what the fuck…” Phil continued his baffled, fractured sentence. "What the fuck were we just talking about, man?” he asked, having completely forgotten. Then he stated to laugh as well.
    In a split second it happened, and in that tiny splinter of time, Sam, Cairnsey and Griff, unknown to each other, felt a glorious shining moment of pure euphoria. Every nerve ending in their bodies lit up ecstatically and they shuddered inside with a blissful rush. For a fraction of their lives, they were superhuman. Then it passed, leaving the unmistakable feeling of a strong trip, broken through at last.
    And the laughter took them, crashed down and obliterated them.
    Cairnsey fell forward onto his face, laughing a very loud, donkey-like, braying laugh and pounding the ground with his fists.
    Griff had fallen backwards off the log he had been sitting on, and lay there on his back, helpless, with his legs drawn up and hugging his ribs, laughing in a shrieking girlish manner.
    “Carrots!” wailed Sam. “What’ve carrots got to do with anything?!” He somehow forced the words out through lungs and a throat blissfully contracted with mirth, struggling to breathe.
    Phil was just sitting there, chortling away and shaking his head, still wearing that hilarious baffled look on his face.
    “Why would I say anything about carrots?” he asked, completely clueless.
    The other three laughed even harder.
    “Ahhhh! Stop it, man! I’m gonnae pish myself!” pleaded Cairnsey between his donkey brays.
    Sam was now rolling about on the ground, kicking his legs and holding his face which was going purple and felt like it would explode if he laughed anymore. An agony of pure happiness.
    Griff was trying to stand up, but fell over again, his legs with all the consistency of sponge.
    “I think the trips have kicked in,” he managed to gasp, then gave up and just lay there, his body shaking with great racking spasms and close to losing control of his bladder.
    It went on for some time.
    "If at first you don't succeed, aff wi' the bunnet, and in wi' the heid." - Old Glasgow proverb.
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