Inspired by a post over at Query Shark, I've been thinking recently about light and shade in novels. It seems to me that light novels need serious moments, and heavy novels need light ones. Otherwise, you get a piece of fairy-floss that you've forgotten five minutes after reading, or something that makes you want to go out and slash your wrists.
On the other hand, it's sometimes jarring to have a change of tone. Today's analogy (and I have no idea where this one came from as I'm not in the least musical): it's a bit like musical octaves. You have an octave, maybe two, maybe three if you're lucky, and within those you can move about, go higher or lower. However, if you suddenly try to reach for that High C that's way out of your range - well, the audience is likely to cringe. I was trying to think of how "strained vocal cords" translates to novel writing, but I think my analogy might break down at that point.
So here's to novels that make you laugh and cry...without straining in the least.