When you’re writing a story that has dark aspects to it, you need your characters to lighten up a bit. How do you insert those little funny moments to a story without making it sound cheesy or unrealistic?
Good question. It is true that every book needs it’s funny and light moments, especially in a story that is somewhat darker. We wouldn’t want our readers to get completely depressed when they’re reading our story. Whenever I have a darker part in my story, I always try to release the tension just a little with something light.
You don’t have to be a comedian to be able to write funny stuff. Though a sense of humor does help. It depends on your story what kind of light moments you can use. For instance in my story I have a fairy that accompanies my two main characters. In dark situations I often use her to lighten up the mood a little, by doing something unexpected which makes the characters laugh because they were so nervous themselves.
It also helps to have a character with a certain character trait that you can use in dark situations. For instance you have this serious character who has big feet and always stumbles at the wrong moments. Or a character who always manages to say the wrong things at wrong times. Or a character who takes everything a little too serious.
To avoid making it sound unrealistic, the funny moments have to suit the characters and the situation. When a character is running for her life through a graveyard, a flying monkey could be funny, but it doesn’t really fit (alright I’m exaggerating here but I hope you get my point). If you have two characters who could possibly have a thing for each other it’s also fun to use little sweet and romantic, or even awkward moments during dark scenes. Like their hands brush or one of the characters is frightened by a sudden sound and grabs the other’s arm. Stuff like that.
I hope I explained it alright and this helps you along a bit.
Without visually seeing the characters, how do you explain who they are physically, mentally and emotionally?
In order to let your readers know your characters, you have to know them yourself first. Get to know enough detail about them that you can. What kind of person is he/she? Are they scared often? Do they have issues, or past experiences which can explain why they’re doing something? In my story one of my characters has a father who always expected too much of him and didn’t love him. So he ran away from home and tries to sabotage his father’s plans. It also explains some other things in my stories, like why he clings to the one person he grew to love and will do anything for her.
Try to picture the character in your head. Let it take a while if the image doesn’t come at first. Make him up one thing at a time like hair color, eye color, clothes etc. Try to draw your character even if you can’t draw well. That way you can really see him and describe him better in your story.
It helps if you’re writing through the eyes of your character of course, but if not then you could try to write down certain traits of the person. Like he always acts without thinking when in danger. Or he’s mortally afraid of heights. Or he’s extremely loyal to his friends. Make these traits come back a few times in the story, so the readers will understand him. Also think of why he’s like this. You could make the reader know this as well, but sometimes it just helps to know it yourself.
The same as mentally really. Think about what emotions are strongest with him. Has he got a temper? Does he fall in love easily? Is he afraid to show his emotions and why? Let this shimmer through in your story. I think that’s the best way to get your reader to slowly know your character. Think about who he is, and how he’ll react in every situation. Because different characters should react differently.