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Time Out for a Little Fun

Some writing tips from the funny papers....

From Sherman's Lagoon:

Turtle: And what's young Ernest up to this fine day?

Ernest: Writing.

Turtle: Isn't that refreshing? A youngster using his brain for creative purposes. These days we see way too many kids just playing video games. What are you writing? A short story? A poem? A song?

Ernest: Computer virus.

And a whole series from Pearls Before Swine:

Goat: What are you writing, Pig?

Pig: A romance novel. But I'm struggling with the main characters' names. So far all I have is the woman's name... Juliet.

Goat: Well, Juliet's a great name. Harkens back to the most beautiful romance of all time. "Romeo and Juliet" by William Shakespeare. What's the man's name?

Pig: Bean Dip.

Goat closes his eyes in disbelief and Pig says, "Really kills some of the intimate scenes."

The next day, Rat is trying to get his share of the millions earned by authors:

Goat: Hey, what happened to you? You're not overweight anymore.

Rat: Yup. I lost the pounds. Now I just have to finish this big book on how I did it and I'll be rich, rich, rich.

Goat: Is that what you are writing now?

Rat: Yeah. It's a three hundred page masterpiece containing all my weight-loss secrets. Have a look...

Goat reads: I ate less.

Again, Goat closes his eyes in disbelief and Rat says, "I plan on using a very large font."

Typing away on his keyboard, Pig finishes the opening of his romance novel:

Camille stood on the windswept cliff, the night's stars the only witness to her lonely plight. One year had passed since her lover boarded the train for the war. One year of tears and long nights and desperate letters. But as the separation grew, so did the time between his letters, each less passionate than the last.

Now, on the threshold of the reunion to which they had once both counted down the minutes, she stood uncertain that he would return to her at all.

And then, at the hour of the darkest night of the soul. A silhouetted figure. An army uniform. A familiar gait. And a smile illuminated by the stars. And a joyous cry from Camille to her lover.... "BEAN DIP!"

Goat and Pig come in to read the pages then Goat says, "See, I think the man needs a different name."

Pig: Names are so hard.

Rat: Call the chick "Fritos." Then you've got something.

Maryann Miller is an author and freelance editor. Her latest book is Open Season, which has gotten nice reviews from Library Journal and Publisher's Weekly. One Small Victory, is a top seller in the mystery bestseller list at the Amazon Kindle store. Visit her Web site for information about her books and her editing services. If you have a good book, she can help you make it better. She will stop playing with her horse and work, honest.

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  1. Stop! You're making me hungry!

    Morgan Mandel

  2. Humor noted and appreciated! But an extended joke like this does offer up a great teachable moment for all of us about our writing. A quote from Jerome Stern, in MAKING SHAPELY FICTION, comes to mind:

    "The closer and closer you get to the ending the more weight each word has, so that by the time you get to the last several words each carries an enormous meaning. A single gesture or image at the end can outweigh all that has gone before.”

  3. By the end of the tale, I was rather liking Bean Dip and Fritos as character names.

  4. I'm a sucker for pintos and cheese from Taco Bell.

  5. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Nothing wrong with a little Bean Dip from time to time!

  6. Okay, I'm ready for a snack!

  7. Whoever reads the book on weight loss will gain it all back when they read the romance novel about Bean Dip. It's just too much temptation.

    Oh, and if the rat wants a two-page book on weight loss, the second page could read, "I exercised more." I predict it's going to be a big, big hit.

  8. Glad everyone has enjoyed the funnies today. It is always good to take a moment for a little chuckle. Sure relieves a lot of stress.

    And, Kathryn, thanks for pointing out the teachable moment. Good advice.

  9. LD, Pearls Before Swine is one of my favorite strips.

  10. What's in a name? Well, if you're called Bean Dip, you may have to work overtime in the romance department. "Camille" is a perfect name to create a romantic atmosphere, but can she really — in a clinch — whisper "Bean Dip" without the slightest hint of a giggle? This guy had better been something really special to live down that moniker.

    On a more serious note, what's in a name? Choosing character names can be a fun challenge. However, it's good to remember that those designations often set the tone of the story.

    What a fun post!

  11. Love it, especially the last one.


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