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Cartoon capers

I’ve been adding some new widgets to the Confident Writing blog  - one you might have noticed is the daily cartoon courtesy of Andertoons.   There’s a long tradition of including cartoons in reading material - David Remnick editor of the New Yorker is quoted as saying that “98% of the people who get the magazine say they read the cartoons first — and the other 2% are lying” - and it’s great that there are now cartoons available for blog readers too.

Many writers enjoy writing as well as reading cartoons and there’s a long standing tradition of writing for cartoon caption competitions.  I found some useful pointers for honing your art at the Humor Power blog.  Some of the advice on writing captions is relevant to all forms of writing, like this point:

Good writing is rewriting.  Write down several captions.  Study the placement of the punchwords, the words that drive the joke.  They should normally be at the end of the punchline.  Eliminate excess words.  Look for colorful and funny words.  And then rewrite again.

Getting rid of excess words is critical - there’s no room for extra, and flabby words reduce impact.  You have to keep asking yourself: what can I cut out?  what absolutely has to stay?

If you had to boil your writing down to the length of a cartoon caption - what would you still want to say?

Enjoy the editing - and the cartoons!

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Comments

  1. Matt Hayward says:

    What a wonderful point made in this blog entry. So often, especially in the roleplaying world, where I do the vast majority of my writing, I see people who fill their posts with a lot of unnecessary content.

    It does also remind me of an article I found some time ago. It’s a little old (written in the 50′s) but still as pertinent today, I feel.

  2. Joanna
    Twitter: joannapaterson
    says:

    Matt, thanks for reminding me of these long hidden posts… and sharing that article on essay writing. I didn’t quite read it all, but I read a whole lot more of it than I would most material written and published on the net nowadays… and have stored for future reference. It also made me smile :-) Thanks

  3. Matt Hayward says:

    You’re more than welcome, Joanna.

    I think, though, and was first introduced to that article as a reference to creative writing (again in the form of roleplaying) and I believe that it’s a pertinent article for all types of writing.

    Also, I am glad you read it and got some enjoyment from it. It made me smile as well when I first read it.