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I am working on a Y.A. fantasy novel. One of the things I like is using little things from real life as inspiration for characters and to group them together. As such, I had a group of villains that work as main antagonists. I wanted to get inspiration from birds but not go with your usual eagle or falcon, so I took the blue-capped ifrit. The blue-capped ifrit is a very small bird that is one of the very rare types of birds that is venomous to the touch. I took the cassowaries which is huge and aggressive, and then I took the laughing kookaburra which is a small bird of prey that has the characteristic of. a distinct laughter.

I liked the idea of a villainous figure, leader of a small group of dangerous figures, that would often slip out small giggles and laughter here and there, but there are only so many ways to artfully describe "a giggle" and a "coy laughter" or a "discrete chuckle" before it gets repetitive or annoying.

How would you go about it? Make it more sparse and distinct, more subtle and frequent? This goes into a lot of the characters personality and presence, so I would like it to stand out to the reader without it breaking the flow.

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  • Since this character is a villain, giving them an annoying characteristic could have the effect of making them detestable for meta reasons. But even then, it should be used sparingly. Otherwise your readers may end up hating you instead.
    – Llewellyn
    Jun 6, 2023 at 20:45

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In real life, a person who giggles, chuckles, and laughs a lot will be rather annoying to many who are not so inclined. Therefore, I think, all is well if the repetition of such behavior begins to annoy the average reader.

An example of an annoying character who not only annoyed her fellow fictional characters but many readers as well is Nynaeve in The Wheel of Time who caused much exasperation by her constant braid-pulling.

If you do want to portray an annoying character, you'll need to understand why your character is constantly laughing. Is he insane? Is he manic? Is he insecure and glossing it over by overacting? Supplement the laughter with that explanation and other symptoms of that affliction to make it more believable (and maybe a bit less annoying).

If you don't want repetitive behavior to annoy the reader, don't create a character with annoyingly repetitive behavior. Just have him chuckle less.

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