Monday, July 27, 2009

Random Funny Thoughts #1

Some people think the British aren't romantic. It isn't true. My English husband still knows how to make my heart race after over fifteen years of marriage. He does it by driving on the left-hand side of the road.

Monday, July 13, 2009

TWO JEWISH MOTHERS (a comedy skit by Shevi Arnold)

Two Jewish Mothers
a comedy skit
Shevi Arnold
FLO: So did I tell you want happened last night?
MIRIAM: Something happened?
FLO: I heard a sound it middle of the night. Woke me up. It was a burglar.
MIRIAM: No, really? You don't say.
FLO: I swear, there was a burglar in my living room.
MIRIAM: What did you do?
FLO: Well, I didn't want to be rude.
MIRIAM: No, of course not.
FLO: So I offered him a cup of coffee and a piece of cake.
MIRIAM: (Nodding) Of course, you have a guest, you have to give him something.
FLO: So we sat down and had a nice chat.
MIRIAM: What did you talk about?
FLO: I asked him, "What do you want my silverware for?"
MIRIAM: What did he say?
FLO: He said he was going to sell it. I told him he could have the candlesticks that used to sit over there on the mantel instead. You know, the big ones my mother-in-law gave me at my wedding. I always hated those things.
MIRIAM: (Looks around) I noticed that chair your husband usually sits in is missing.
FLO: (Nodding) I told him to take that too. And you know how I'm always complaining about the stuff my son left here when he went way to college?
MIRIAM: Like all those old comic books and baseball stuff?
FLO: The burglar was nice enough to take those too.
MIRIAM: Imagine that.
(Long pause as the women sip their tea.)
MIRIAM: So then he left?
FLO: Well, I couldn't let him go without giving him something to eat on the way home, now could I? You should have seen him! Nothing but skin and bones. So I gave him some potato kugal and
roast beef. And some chocolate rugelah.
MIRIAM: Oh, I love your rugelah.
FLO: I'll give you some to take home. I made plenty.
MIRIAM: And that was that? He left?
FLO: Not quite. I asked him if he was married.
MIRIAM: Was he?
FLO: No, so I'm setting him up with my daughter. They're going out Thursday night.
MIRIAM: (There's a long pause. Miriam blinks and looks concerned.) Are you sure that's a good idea?
FLO: I know, I know. She's going to find something wrong with him. She always does. That girl is so picky, she'll never get married.
MIRIAM: (Frowns at Flo in silence for a long time) Well, if things don't work out...
FLO: Yes?
MIRIAM: Could you send him to my place?
(FLO nods and sips her tea, while MIRIAM smiles)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why I Hate Secrets in Stories

Some writers use secrets in an attempt to keep the reader hooked. The main character has this big secret, and you need to stick around to find out what that secret is. Some readers like that.

I'm not one of them.

I actually hate it when the main character has a secret. Hate it.

This is the way I see it. When the main character has a secret, it feels like I'm playing a game with someone who is playing by a different set of rules than I am. The deck is stacked in the writer and the main character's favor. They're hiding their cards. They both know what cards they have, and they're showing them to each other and laughing at me because they know something I don't know. And I don't know it, because they're the ones making the rules, and their rules say I can't know this "big secret," which is apparently a secret only to me.

I find this particularly annoying when the book seems to be about nothing other than the secret. It's the sort of thing that can get me to close a book within the first few pages. The writer has to show me all of his or her cards. If not, I'm going to find another writer who will.

I'm okay if the main character's secret is one the main character doesn't know, for example, if the main character is in denial. That's okay. I get to see all the cards the main character can see, and that means the rules of the game are fair.

The best thing to keep me hooked, though, isn't a secret at all: it's the need to find out how the main character will resolve his or her conflict.

Make me invested in the main character. Make me want what the main character wants as much as the main character wants it, and make me need to find out how the main character does or doesn't get it. That's all a writer needs to keep me hooked.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009