Humour without the Nasties

From Jade Walker‘s newsletter The Written Word:

“A writer hopes to surprise his readers now and then. If we agree about everything, then one of us is redundant. Of course, rigorous truthfulness is good, but that gets harder and harder to achieve. So I settle for being amusing.” – Garrison Keillor

Humour writing has several subgenres. Which you choose or end up writing depends on your own personality and morals/ values. I think it’s cheap and taking the easy way out to pick on others. Not so different for those who pick on themselves. You are hurting someone either way. Can you write an article that’s funny but doesn’t take pot shots at anyone? It might be harder than you think.

Reduplication

There are all kinds of little known literary terms. I feel we (as writers) should know them, or at least carry a few up our sleeves to pull out and amaze others upon occasion. I ran into such a term (a word actually) on Dragon Writing Prompts.

Reduplication, in linguistics, is a morphological process by which the root or stem of a word, or part of it, is repeated. Definition from Wikipedia.

Some examples are: artsy-fartsy, razzle-dazzle, hobnob and hocus-pocus.

Writing Time

I lost some time once. It’s always in the last place you look for it. – Neil Gaiman

Do you have enough self discipline to write? It is so easy to lose track of time and find yourself halfway through the day before you have written anything outside of answering emails and making a grocery list. Try setting a schedule for yourself and stick to it. Even if you can do it for a week that will help set you into the pattern and the second week will be easier.

Fatal Household Accident

I know how I’d die today. It would be on the telephone cable which runs along the floor and sits, all curled and just waiting to snag my bare foot, in my doorway I’d trip on it, fall flat to the floor. My head would catch the corner of the metal filing cabinet and no one would find me for weeks. I should fix the phone cord/ cable and spare my life. I’m not though, possibly fatal laziness.

What stupid household accident could you die of today? Look around and you are sure to find something suitably fatal. Of course, you’re only writing about it, don’t try this at home, right?

Time and Space and Promotion Pollution

With any ad you run on your site consider the time you put into working on the ad, the space and place it takes up on your site and the results you get from it. Think of the amount of space which shows when your blog first loads on your web browser. That is your ‘real estate’. Are you getting enough back for the space you are giving up. Keep in mind that the space closer to the top of your page is more valuable, just as location, location, location, matters in real estate too. Most ads are not worth the time and space they consume.

Also, if you run a lot of ads you will also lose a lot of readers. Not everyone is eager to hunt and peck for content through a forest of ads. Is your site worth reading or are you just creating a site full of promotion and ad pollution? There is also the problem of having ads which need to be clicked upon. People are becoming so used to ads they no longer see them. That means you won’t be getting clicks.

Dragon Droppings Can Be a Problem

The people of your village are demanding all the dragons be made to use poop and scoop baggies. This isn’t very practical however as the increase in plastic production would not be at all good for the environment. Plus, the dragons themselves are insulted and threatening to burn the offending villagers to a crisp. Farmers from outside the village are asking for the dragon droppings cause they have been excellent fertilizer. So the problem really is how to get the droppings from the village dragons to the farms. There isn’t anything left in the village budget to hire people to transport droppings by cart. Anyway, no one is too keen for the job. Not just due to the smell but the fact that the droppings have been known to cause random magic which isn’t always a good thing. The last big “accident” caused half the villagers to hiccup for days.

How do you, as leader of the village and law maker of the county, resolve this little issue?

Let Sleeping Ghosts Lie?

I had a coffee date with a guy who has an interest in the paranormal and the supernatural. Things like ghosts, the Loch Ness Monster (known as Kempenfelt Kelly in the Barrie area or cryptozoology to the scientifically bent in general). I was looking forward to meeting him. I’m also interested in those things, not so much in ghosts though.

I’m afraid I do believe in ghosts you see. I’d rather not have the experience of finding out I’m right. If that makes sense. I used to see things and my Grandmother talked about ghosts she saw, until she refused to see any more.

The way I see it, anyone who was once human and comes back as a ghost isn’t going to be a happy camper in general. So, I’d rather stick to those who are still human, avoiding the undead, as there are enough monsters and upset, desperate people just among the living. Not that I think many people are like that. But, if you have to deal with someone who is, wouldn’t you prefer they be living rather than deceased? Doesn’t that whole ghost thing just bring in one more element of surprise too many?

Do you believe in ghosts and do you really think you want to find yourself seeing one? Or would you be happy to just wonder about it and let sleeping ghosts lie?

Give Unto Yourself

Imagination is more important than knowledge, for knowledge is limited to all we know and understand, while imagination embraces the entire world, and all there ever will be to know and understand.
–Albert Einstein

What is at least one thing you wish you knew more about? There is so much out there, even the stuff which is known is not known by all. One reason I really enjoy the Internet is finding new things to learn about, new ideas and art to try. Try something tonight instead of putting in time on social networks, put in a little time learning something you really would be interested in. Give unto yourself, then write about it.

Battling the Alien Mating Dance

Several aliens have landed in your living room. Not the aliens from another country, no, these guys are most definitely from another planet, or three. Once you get over how way out they look with extra sets of eyes, fingers, heads and that purple colour on one guy and the neon blue on another, you wonder why they are here. Sure, odd things like this seem to happen to you all the time, but come on… today is your birthday, couldn’t the weirdness of the world (the universe?) give you one day off a year?

I guess not cause the aliens are all male and each is set on battling to the death to win you so they can take you home to their planet for mating season. Lucky you.

Although one of the aliens is kind of attractive in a spacey way… you really did have a different plan for husband/ mating material. So now you have to trick the aliens into thinking you aren’t really at home, even though they have all seen you. Surely you can fool a pack of guys who have never been to your planet before?… Think! Quick!