First, Make Them Laugh

Tonight a bunch of my friends are going to see a local production of the opera, “La Boheme.” This morning a newspaper review mentioned Puccini’s genius for jerking emotion from the audience.
Writing Tip for Today: Puccini’s secret? Make your audience laugh. Laughter releases our buttoned-up selves the way a good mink oil softens up a tough piece of leather. After we’ve held our sides, Puccini is able to sock us with the tear-inducing stuff of romance. We’ve already been primed with either broad comedy or some small inside joke. Now Puccini commands us and the crying begins.

  • As you draft your story, think of the flowing and ebbing of the emotions of the tale. A good laugh might work best just before a crushing disappointment or something tense or scary.
  • Experiment with bringing the camera very close, then zooming out for a panorama. In fiction, as in opera, timing is everything.
  • By mixing up these types of scenes, you’ll be better able to manage your reader, pulling him along to the next place to laugh or cry.

Happy New Year to all my readers! You’re the best. I hope you’ll check back here for 2011’s posts: some book reviews, guest posts and more useful tips on writing better.

About Linda S. Clare

I'm an author, speaker, writing coach and mentor. I teach both fiction and nonfiction writing at Lane Community College and in the doctoral program as expert writing advisor for George Fox University. I love helping writers improve their craft and I'm both an avid reader and writer of stories about those with wounded hearts.

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