Monday, October 5, 2015

Intensity and Hilarity (not vs.)


olan rogers | Tumblr
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 I wrote this post. Really. I'm half sure that I did not mental write it. Because I remember the way it looked in Blogger. . . I think.

That aside. I've noticed something in stories. I'm speaking generally here, so stories encompasses books and movies.

Long ago, when I was a wee little writer (okay, I was eighteen, but in writer years, I knew nothing) I had thought that a serious story was all solemn and nothing funny. And funny stories are never serious. Sometimes this is true. But in the most memorable and favorites of cases, there is a blending of the two.

No, I was just figured I would shot the bullets out of my nostrils, so I left the gun upstairs.- is the real one:
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In the Oddball books, things can get solemn at times. Yet the characters are always making jokes and poking fun at each other. Great hilarity goes down (or I like to think).

I used to fear that all the funny would down play the more serious side of things. They wouldn't seem so serious or my readers would think I, the author, didn't take these issues seriously because of all the hilarity in the book.

Mr. Darcy: Maybe it's that I find it hard to forgive the follies and vices of others, or their offenses against me. My good opinion, once lost, is lost forever. Elizabeth Bennet: Oh, dear, I cannot tease you about that. What a shame, for I dearly love to laugh. Caroline Bingley: A family trait, I think. - Pride and Prejudice directed by Joe Wright (2005):
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Of course, it could always go the other way, the intensity could over take the joke and it's not so funny anymore. That attempt at lightening the mood just darkened it further.

If you do it right though, intensity and hilarity do not contradict each other. They compliment each other. The deeper the intensity, the brighter the joke seems. The funnier the joke, the more intense the, uh. . . intensity is. We need both.

Amity Dauntless Candor Abnegation Insurgent Divergent Tris Four Tobias:
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Also, when the intensity heats up, you will at some point need to breathe. I do at least. Sometimes I stop reading during the climax and just sit there gasping. It's absurd, I know. 

The best way to lighten the mood is, of course, with a joke. Marvel is very good at this. Also, if you watch Once Upon a Time, season three was incredibly intense (if you ask me) but it was also the funniest season I've seen. I believe that is because the writers knew that they would need something to balance out the tension.

Loved this part! Reminds me if Katniss XD:
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When I think of some of my books. They are not intense books. They're not funny books. They are both. The Book Thief. The Ascendance Trilogy. Pride and Prejudice.

I once heard an author say that she wanted her book to be an "everything book." She didn't want people to love it because it was intense, or funny, or romantic, or thought-provoking, or entertaining. She wanted to have something of everything in her book. Because books are about life and life has everything.

Lunar Chronicles Scarlet and Wolf | What I’m Reading: Marissa Meyer’s The Lunar Chronicles:
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I hope my books are "everything books."

What do you think? Do we need a balance of intensity and hilarity in books? Do you have any favorite "everything books"?

8 comments:

  1. Ooohh... This was very thought-provoking! Some of my favorite scenes in movies & books are usually some of the most intense parts because of this magical mixture of Intensity & Hilarity. I also find that my favorite characters are the ones that make the quiet, witty comments in the face of an impossible obstacle. (Marvel rocks at both!)
    The thing that instantly came to mind while reading this was the Lord of the Rings movies... I LOVE the war scenes because Legolas & Gimli hold playful competitions during the battles to see who can slay more monsters. Or when they are all trapped in the dark cave, Pippin is concerned about supper instead of getting out. In a way, it lightens the mood but accentuates the gravity of the situations.

    Good post!! Really made me think about the use of both of these tools in my stories... :)

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    1. Those quiet witty comments at the most absurd times for hilarity are my favorite! Those characters just make the book!

      Pippin and his supper. XD You are so right about LOTR. It's the perfect example.



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  2. I know the struggle, I want my books to be taken seriously too, to have an emotional impact. I dearly love humor and sarcastic wit. I eat that stuff up, I used to try to keep them both seperate, but I think they complement each other. Howl's Moving Castle is one of those everything books to me. It has both the ability to make me cry and laugh. I want my books to do that to people. I want to write everything books too.

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    1. YES! I agree so much. Mix them together and it is even better.

      And I love your humor. :) Your writing is awesome!

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  3. EVERYTHING BOOKS *runs around screaming like a maniac* The intense movies are always the best when they're super funny, even if you're laughing a little hysterically. Humor can be what saves a story from being too depressing, and a dose of intensity can be what saves a story from being way too silly. I definitely try to make sure my books have both humor and intensity (hopefully, you know, it works.)

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    1. Yes! Everything books are the best!

      And I love how humor and intensity balance each other.

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  4. I meant to comment on this post when I first saw it and then apparently got distracted and just now remembered... But anyway, this is something I've thought about a lot because I also used to think a book couldn't be dark or intense without humor. Then I realized that every single one of my favorite intense books still had humor. It's just a different kind of humor than, say, chick lit. Maybe more subdued or quippy or sarcastic, but definitely still there providing that much needed balance! I think the reader would feel too emotionally drained without it (which is really what you already said, but I agree lol).

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    1. Haha! It's cool. I can relate to the getting distracted. ;)

      I know I used to think that too! You're right though. It usually is a different kind of humor. One that sort of matches the overall mood so it doesn't detract from it.

      Thanks so much!

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