- David Campbell -
From a Judge's Desk
- Glenny Palmer -
An Exercise in Writing Humour
Ellis Campbell -
1. Rhyme and Reason
6. Poetic Terminology
7. Inverted Phrases
8. Don’t Make Your Poems Too Personal
10. Importance of First Stanza
11. Metaphors and Similes
Noel Stallard -
TIPS - An Exercise in Writing Humour, Glenny Palmer
GLENNY PALMER is the author of, "UNSTRAINED MELODY” Tools For Easier Poetry Writing (©2004-2011)
An Exercise In Writing Humour ©Glenny Palmer
Writers are always asking what to write about, & I've observed that it seems common that they are waiting for some momentous occasion/experience to stir the Muse, & sometimes that occurs. However, simplicity is usually the best key to potential material. If humour is required, a sense of the ridiculous is invaluable.
A woman asked me if it’s possible to teach someone a sense of humour. I gave that some serious thought, & came up with ‘A Frog Jumps Off A Veranda Rail’. I hope you may find it helpful; I presented it while conducting one of my adult workshops, & it seemed to be well received.
If you are not naturally prone to ridiculousness, (as I am) this can be challenging. So here's the exercise I used.
A frog jumps off the verandah rail. What happens next? Most of the replies I received indicated that it landed on the grass, & that was that. But was it?
What if it landed in the dog's water bowl? What happened next? "It got wet". (unanimous reply).
But was that all? No. What did the frog think ? "Bloody hell! I'm in strife now." What did the dog do ? The dog indignantly went for the frog! What was the dog thinking? "The cheek of that bloody frog!" What did the frog think? "Bloody hell! Here comes the dog, I've got to hide!" What happened next? Mum comes up the path with a basket of wet washing to hang out. The frog flies straight up Mum's skirt. (a potentially good cover from the dog's view.) Mum screams. The basket of washing goes flying, & lands on the dirt path. The dog tries to fly up Mum's skirt to get the frog. Mum screams...again, & kicks the dog in the guts. The dog barks. Dad comes flying around the corner to see what all the racket is. Mum bellows, " How many times have I asked you to concrete this flaming path? How many times have I asked you to tie up that bloody dog? Now all me washing's dirty
because you're a lazy so & so!!!!" Dad says "gawd!" & heads for the pub. Dad's so depressed he drinks the week's shopping money away. So..... The dog has an aching belly. Mum has to do the washing again! Mum's sour on Dad. Dad's depressed & drunk. They both starve for a week.........& all because.......a frog jumped off the verandah rail!
This simplicity works just as well with serious subjects. Attention to consequences + consequences + +.
Just take 1 action or emotion, & keep asking yourself "what happens next? What does that create? Then what happens next ?" Also, try attributing cognitive process to animals & /or inanimate things. eg. What was the dog thinking? What was the frog thinking? How does a fork feel being rattled around in a drawer full of hard hitting knives & spoons? Well, how would you feel under the same circumstances? etc etc. (A measure of mild insanity does help, but if you’re basically ‘normal’, which I doubt with your being a writer, just practice.)
I must get cracking & write an example of this story to demonstrate. In the meantime here is one other example of an animal’s perspective.
I’m a frog and by nature my job is to croak,
Yes, I yodelled and croaked ‘til my vocal chords strained,
Then the more that I croaked, well the more that it rained,
Now my skin is much greener, like new Brussels Sprouts,
They can play in the puddles and roll in the mud,
But the Humans, (strange creatures, I can’t work them out),
So this Christmas I think I’ll give Humans away,
‘Cause isn’t that what Christmas Day is meant for?
Hope this helps.