Are You Insane?

My buddy, Jim, is a member of multiple critique groups. In one of these groups, another member told him, “You only giggle if you are under 6 years old or you are insane.”

Hero Guy holds on for dear life as Dragon tries to flee.

Hero Guy holds on for dear life as Dragon tries to flee.

Apparently, I’m not supposed to giggle, despite the fact that I hear voices in my head. *shrug* I’m a writer.

(Un)Lucky for my character, he’s insane, so he can giggle all he wants. What? Wouldn’t you have gone off the deep end after 8 millennia of imprisonment?

Crazy characters aside, I found this rule intriguing. I’m not arguing the validity of it. I’ve found myself in the same mindset when reading before, particularly in the case of belly and tummy. When talking to my kids (who are both under 6 years old and giggle in the most delightful way), I might ask, “Does your tummy hurt?” But if I’m thinking of myself or my husband, I use stomach.

Is that weird that it gives me pause? I mean, I do play with toys and I’m supposedly a full-grown squirrel.

What are your thoughts on giggling and other words? Do any age-appropriate details ever stick out for you?

As a side note, be sure to check out Aldrea Alien’s new cover for her paranormal romance, Golden Dawn!

Loni Townsend

About Loni Townsend

Wife. Mother. Writer. Ninja. Squirrel.

24 thoughts on “Are You Insane?

  1. Whenever I hear about a “rule” when it comes to writing, I tend to want to ignore it. I think adults giggle all the time. I think it depends more on what you’re laughing at than how old you are.

  2. I was once told guys don’t giggle. They do, but whatever. 😉

  3. That is really interesting. Not that I necessarily believe we don’t giggle, but word choice really is important as far as the age of the character goes. Or the state of mind. Yes, when my kids were younger I used the word “tummy” but now say “stomach”. Do we giggle? Or is it a chuckle or laugh? Hmm…

  4. The first definition for “giggle” that I found was: laugh lightly in a nervous, affected, or silly manner. I don’t guess I’d like to think that I do this, but I probably have at some points in my life.

    I never think of myself as giggling but just laughing. Maybe I’m in need of a greater number of synonyms to specify the type of laughter. I think I get where that critique group’s member was going with this is kind of right, but maybe it wasn’t expressed in the best way. My interpretation would come down to using the word that best describes what one is trying to depict in writing. A word like “giggle” does connote something different than snickered or chuckled or some other word that is a variant on the idea. I don’t know if I’d say giggling is the domain of the “insane”–I wouldn’t picture that at all actually–but it could be depending on everything else that goes with the character and story situation.

    It’s kind of an interesting thing to think about.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It Out

  5. For me, a giggle just means a certain type of laughter, regardless of age. I’m sure I’ve used it a time or two to describe the laughter of those characters over the age of 6.

    I, too, prefer to cackle.

    Hold on, Hero Guy!

  6. I didn’t realize there was an age/sanity limit on giggle. I still think adults can giggle. Therefore, I will join in the insanity. XD

    In any case, I do agree that there is a time and place to use it in a story. I have a character giggling because of the medication she’s on, but that is highly out of character for her.

  7. I’m that Jim, and I didn’t agree either. College age girls are often depicted as giggling as a way of impressing guys of their… femininity? Sense of humor? Naivete? Honestly, I don’t know why they do it, but I’ve seen it in movies, so it must be true. The scene in question was with a pretty, clueless, tech genius. She likes to flirt, but doesn’t really get how pretty she is. It seemed like a legitimate character trait to have her giggle when a handsome guy says something funny to her, but what do I know?

  8. Women of all ages giggle all the time! I don’t think it’s an age thing. I think it’s a personality thing.

  9. I think there are certain terms we use for kids. Like tummy or potty. For a boy character giggling is perfect for a child. I think it’s different for men because it sounds too feminine. I’d use chuckle. But girls can giggle at any age. I’ve had adult female characters giggle when appropriate.

  10. Aww, thanks for the shout out.

    As far as the topic at hand goes, I declare bovine excrement. My daughter, who’s 9, giggles all the time. My partner will giggle if you tickle him, but no other time. My father has been known to giggle more than laugh. And I giggle, mostly because the alternative is to laugh like a frickin’ zebra. We’re all sane… I think.

  11. I’m of the opinion you’re never too old to giggle. Any expression of delight is a valid thing and deserves to be let out. It leads to more.

  12. I giggle all the time. My nickname at the observatory is Giggles. 🙂 Does that mean I’m erased? Yeah, I’m giggling.

  13. Hey, the trick is to never grow up. Play with toys, giggle, do whatever you have to do, but stay young at heart. No matter what. That’s my philosophy.

  14. I don’t giggle but I talk to cats and meow back at them, yeah, I’m nuts lol depends on who one is talking to with the words they use I think.

  15. I think it just depends on the character. Though I think I mainly use giggle for teenage girls – or for those time when women feel a bit like a teenage girl (you know, in some f those awkward romantic situations). But I’ve never actually paid attention. How’s that for terrible?

  16. Most adults (especially men) don’t giggle, but I still do sometimes. And once in a great while, I can get my husband to giggle.

  17. I’m over forty and I still giggle. I have a tummy too. My stomach is something different than my tummy! One word my son uses and everyone else does for him except for me is “potty.” They use it as a noun and a verb. I won’t. Never liked the word. It’s the toilet or a bathroom. I do wonder at what age they will stop using potty with my son. He’s nearly six now.

  18. I love to giggle, usually with a friend over some silly thing we’ve done together. And giggling brings back those early days when girlfriends would come over to play and the days were endless and full of those happy sounds.

  19. I am not six years old (quite far from it) and I giggle.
    But I also hear voices in my head so who knows?

  20. When I think of a group of teenage girls, giggle seems like the best term to describe their laughter. I would say that I still giggle with my friends from time to time. So 6 may be too young for a girl, but I can see it as being a term of insanity in an older boy or a man.

  21. Whoever said that is completely ridiculous, and not in a fun way, more in a stodgy old way. -_- Limiting how you express yourself because of age and/or sanity is just, well, limiting. I’m not saying it’s okay for people in their thirties to throw temper tantrums or otherwise act like children who don’t know any better, but c’mon, limiting a kind of laughter like that? No. No way.

  22. Giggling rocks!!! We should never be too old to laugh our heads off in one way or another – no matter what verb we use. It’s good for the soul 🙂 Wishing you a week filled with giggles 🙂

  23. Urgh. I think it depends on the situation. I would, for example, use belly instead of stomach to describe someone who has a rounded stomach. It’s about accuracy for me. Someone can giggle, chuckle, chortle, snicker and/or laugh and not one of those are in fact the same sound. Giggles are high. Chuckles are low. Chortles are suppresed chuckles and snickers are suppressed giggles. Laughter covers all of them or could be really loud.

    So it really ticks me off when people have these supposed rules without thinking about what they’re saying. Accuracy of description is more important, especially now when it’s becoming more and more important to say things in as few words as possible.

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