Jumbo shrimp. Baby Grand. Awfully good. Soft rock. School food.
Have you ever told them to a kid? Children think they’re hysterical.
And then there’s puns. Every year Lisa Yee holds a title contest, where she asks writers to change one or two letters of an existing title—or rhyme a title—and then create a new storyline. (This year she’s asking for synopses in Six Word Memoir style. This is right up my alley cat.)
Here’s some of my examples from past years:
Peter Tan: A boy who claims he’ll never grow old thwarts his philosophy with an unhealthy tanning bed obsession.
Lorna Boone: A young heiress is nearly murdered for singing one too many verses of “You Light Up My Life.”
National Velveeta: A fourteen-year-old girl wins the Kraft national cheese cook-off.
The Jungle Cook: A young boy’s tasty recipes for didactic anthropomorphic animals.
And when’s the last time you saw a kid NOT totally lose it when you said, “underwear”? The phrase “I see Paris, I see France, I see your underpants” has not gone out of style in the past 40 years.
I’m not saying any of these could be real books, but what I am saying is that you should play with familiar words and give them a new twist. Change one letter of a silly phrase and see if you come up with something even more hilarious. Or, grab an oxymoron. Does it make a good title? Would it make a good piece of dialogue? What kind of character would say something like that? In what kind of situation?
There’s lots of words out there waiting for you to play with them. Scramble them up. Tickle them until they tinkle. (Yeah, kids find that funny, too. But if scatological humor ain’t your thing, just move on.)
So, how’s it going today?