One of the biggest challenges faced by any writer is getting one’s sillies out, assuming one has sillies. Writing is such a serious business the writer can tend to forget to get silly, to allow humor and lightness to infect the characters and dialogue. I love to let my rudes dangle and to get my sillies out.
If it’s placed carefully it can contrast beautifully with a bit of high drama and make tragedy more poignant.
It’s too easy to be afraid of silliness, stupid humor or punning in case it undermines one’s gravitas as a serious artist.
Bullwart MacGacky from Ballyslatmuguttery famously said, “Them’s a grand ween oh pags fernenst the shuck thonder.” Well, he does in my writing or he will. Why? For all the reasons given above.
Be brave. Get your sillies out. It will make your writing more human and add warmth and contrast.
(Warning adult themes and sillies ahead.)
From Challenge: He watched her lean in and speak to the people in the row in front. She gave them her biggest warmest smile but returned to her seat grumbling and muttered: “Mean buggers. They are tiny and would have had no problems here. She looked like she sucks lemons for practice to give her that chicken-arsed mouth. I’ll bet there’s never been a nice big willy in that mouth. Sheesh, some people eh?”
“Thanks for trying darlin’. That was some stage whisper. I wonder will she have understood any of that?”
“That’s a point. Maybe I should repeat it using plain English or maybe the Irish. Mean tripe hound. You should have seen the bake on her. You’d have thought I was asking her to come back here and give you blowjob? Yea you, lemon sucker!” said Bonny as the woman turned and scowled between the headrests. “When I told her you had a bad back do you know what she said? Well he shouldn’t be flying then? Face front before I give you something to scowl about you wee harridan. Go on get your ugly mug out of my face.”
Daniel and Lauren, sitting in the window seat, both tittered at Bonny’s indignation. Bonny could usually charm anything out of anyone so she was miffed by her failure to get Daniel a more bearable seat.
From Grip: Dr. Bonny Ann Dawes could curse as fluently in French or indeed Spanish as in her native tongue. But she had not reckoned on her daughter’s gift for language and mimicry, a trait inherited from Bonny herself. Kathy came home from school bearing a note from the head teacher asking if Bonny would come to visit her on a matter of some delicacy. It transpired that Kathy’s class contained two French children. Kathy’s innocent renditions of her mother’s cussing were done with considerable accuracy and skill. When little Paul and Brigitte uttered these phrases to their parents, it caused immediate consternation and panic. Bonny was thereafter struck dumb by her daughter’s language skills and, like a shaken champagne, would explode in a froth of rudeness when freed from such restraint. Daniel and Lauren therefore expected to be regaled with expletives of infinite variety and imagination while on holiday, and they were.
From Blue Sky Orphan: …Very obviously, this was set up by women. It’s all here,” said Emma.
“Well, yes and no,” said Bonny. “This was done by the fruiterati. They are even better at setting up this kind of thing than us.”
Emma found this expression intensely funny and she creased up laughing and kept repeating: “Fruitarati.”
Bonny was busy washing Lauren’s long thick hair by the time Emma regained her composure. Lauren said: “Get used to it. She’s a mine of wonderful silly expressions.”
Emma had finished washing when Bonny turned to her and said: “Bend over darling, if you want your hair washed. I can’t reach you two amazons unless we get a stool in here.”
Emma did so and soon she was feeling the wonderfully therapeutic pleasure of having one’s hair carefully washed. “Does Peter do this for you? I bet he does,” said Bonny.
When she came back ten minutes later, she smiled a warm easy smile and said, “OK, then the over-thunker is sorted so you and I can relax, chill, get a bit skwiffy and tell stories of babies, lovers, ejits, and magical ancient fairies.”
From Surviving Beauty: “Good, I want to call you Pa from now on. I was worried I was being cruel. I’m sorry but I really don’t feel good stuff about them. I get angry and sad when I think about them. I was trying to get them to like me, to love me, but I know they didn’t. They just didn’t. I always dreamed of how it would be but it never was. But… well it is now. I was so excited and happy waiting at the airport. That’s the way I dreamed it should be so… Oh hecking fell! I’m embrasoed now.”
“Embrasoed indeed, you’re stealing my words girl? Please don’t fret. I’m delighted you feel that. I hope you know you are loved completely now and you always will be.”
“Abso-fecking-lutely, said Biddy. “Sorry another word thief here. It’s your fault, you know. Yee plant the silly seeds. We just sprout them.”
“Yea, you do too. My friends in school have even started saying some of your silly word stuff. It’s infectious I thunk.
“Yes they were delightful. But different, more delicate. These are proper Irish grub. Big chunks of dead pig in half a loaf. As he who knows would call them.”
“Yea, the way he calls food funny names like that is so like, random. Dead pig, fluffy-baa-lamb or minty and dead cow or bald dead hen or buggered-bunny or cackle-berries. That really creased me up when I first heard it. Took me ages to get it and when he said hen-fruit, I was even more confused. The other day when we were driving Mary home, we saw a fox dead on the road and he said, ‘Oh look, fully fecked fox.’ Mary nearly pissed her pants laughing, I swear. Then he started to say more and we saw mashed moggy, wrecked rook, blattered blackbird, pulverized pigeon, and even dashed dog. Na we didn’t see a dog, he just said that. He’s got me at it now and I was making up lots as we drove. Even when we didn’t see things. It gets so you can’ stop.”