Posts Tagged ‘humor’

The Sun Magazine

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

The Sun

I picked up a copy of this magazine and didn’t put it down until I had finished the entire copy.  Have you read it?  Short stories, essays, interviews, poetry and letters all written with depth, humor, and insight.  They don’t want opinion pieces or academia.  The best thing is they purchase one-time rights, which means you can sell them something you may have sold before. 

One section is devoted to Readers Write, which asks “readers to address subjects on which they’re the only authorities.  Topics are intentionally broad in order to give room for expression.” 

 Upcoming Topics

Breaking the Rules       January 1      Deadline             

Bullies                                    February 1            

In The Dark                        March 1                                        

Honesty                                April 1                                              

Trying Again                     May 1                                                 

Writing Prompts: 

  1. Choose one of the topics above and write a personal experience piece on this theme. 
  2. Choose one of the topics above and write a short story.
  3. Choose one of the topics and write a poem.



. . . one of the funniest books . . .

Wednesday, July 14th, 2010

As writers or artists, when we think of rejection, we don’t think of a laugh a minute.  But in THE REJECTION COLLECTION, edited by Matthew Diffee, this is what you get.  

As the book jacket says, “Each week about fifty New Yorker cartoonists submit ten ideas, yielding five hundred cartoons for no more than twenty spots in the magazine.  Arguably the most brilliant single-panel-gag cartoonists in the world create a bunch of cartoons every week that never see the light of day.”

A selection of these amazing cartoons, along with interview questions answered by the cartoonists themselves make up the book.  Their side-splitting answers and lovable doodles create brief  character profiles that give you a unique glimpse into the minds of these comic geniuses. 

Which brings me to another idea.  The interview questions themselves are pretty unusual, lending to quirky answers.  Diffee asks questions like . . .

I admire . . .   (Cartoonist Leo McCullum’s answer:  Things from a distance. Usually with binoculars.)

I’m not crazy about . . . (Marisa Acocella Marchetto says, “Anyone who takes themselves too serious. I’m serious.”)

Write a question to which you might answer “Absolutely not.”  (Drew Dernavich replied, “Do you know what you’re doing?”)

My advice to __________ would be:  (Michael Crawford’s advice to YOU would be to buy this book.)

What are the things that make you laugh and why?  (P.C. Vey’s response: “Long walks on the beach, fine wine and sunsets.  If I don’t laugh at them who will?”)

Number the following items in order of their importance in your life:  pancakes, dictionary, Band-Aids, tropical fish, coffee, music . . . (and many more)

Writing Prompt:  1.  Answer the above questions in a true and humorous way for yourself.  Come up with other curious questions that show the real you, and respond to them of course!  (Hey.  This could be a fun game for friends too . . .)

2.  Now give these questions to the characters in your latest writing project.  How will your main character answer them?   Let all of your characters chime in with their answers.  They may even get in a dialogue with each other about them.

Haiku Contest – Anyone can PLay!

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

Do you haiku?  Love film noir?  (If you don’t know what it is, Netflix “The Maltese Falcon,” one of the greatest movies of this genre.)

Now write three lines in a 5-7-5 syllable pattern.  Can you work in references to “The Maltese Falcon,” Raymond Chandler, an author of other great stories in this genre, gumshoes or dames?

Want to play?  Send your haiku to [email protected] by noon (California time) Monday, Dec. 28.

Read more reader-written poetry at    or

Winners get published in the Contra Costa Times newspaper or in their online edition.

(Another credit is always good for the resume or college application!)

Happy April Fool’s Day!

Wednesday, April 1st, 2009

April Fool! Watch Out at School! by Diane De Groat
Arthur’s April Fool (Arthur Adventure Series) by Marc Brown

Do you have any April’s Fools Day books to suggest? I admit, there aren’t a wealth of them out there like there are for other holidays. I’ve got a chapter inside Louise the One and Only about this day.

Exercise: Have you ever pulled the perfect prank on someone? Something that isn’t mean, but funny? Clever and cute? Ever had it pulled on YOU? Write about this. Or create a short story or poem for the perfect April Fool’s Day joke.

Tall Tales with Sid Fleischman

Monday, March 16th, 2009

Happy Birthday Sid Fleischman! Celebrate this Newbery award-winning author by writing a tall tale, one of his many talents. From an interview in The ABCs of Writing for Children, Fleischman says, “Tall tales are highly specialized humor. . . Take Jim Bridger (he really lived) who discovered that it took eight hours for an echo to return from a distant mountain. He turned it into an alarm clock by shouting, “Wake up!” before he went to bed. The next morning, eight hours later, the echo returned and woke him up.”

Exercise: Brainstorm like Sid Fleischman does. In McBroom’s Ghost, it was so cold, “Polly dropped her comb on the floor, when she picked it up the teeth were chattering.”

It was so hot . . .
The mountain was so steep . . .
He was so fat . . .
She was so skinny . . .

Have fun with tall tale humor!