When I was younger and started writing, I wrote to shock. I took my first college writing class when I was nineteen and the other students learned that when the round robin came around to me, I would be the one to turn the story on its axis and go for the shock--which generally meant gore.
I realize now the shock factor was my way of looking for a reaction. Because I was a young and immature writer, shock was the easiest reaction to get.
Slow forward 20++++ years and I'm still going for the reaction. But lately I'm going for your funny bone and your heartstrings. Let me tell you, its a lot harder to get to the true emotion of your character than it is to shock or scare the living daylights out of him.
The best part of writing Bix is hearing the laughter of my daughter as she reads over my shoulder. Of course I have to ask her what she just read so I know if it was what I intended. The second best part is getting critiques back that say, "Funny" LOL, and other similar comments. Its a great validation of my character that people get his sense of humor and want to keep reading.
A couple years ago at the Willamette Writers Conference I took a workshop from Agents Andrea Brown and Laura Rennert. I remember one of them, Laura, I believe saying, and I paraphrase, "If you can make me laugh or cry I'll ask for a sample. If you make me do both, I'll ask for the manuscript."
I think I'm getting the laughter down and by the end of my book I hope I make you cry. And if I can throw a shock or two at you along the way, so much the better.
I'd love to hear your comments.