Creative Writing Advice #1: The Punchline


Confucius says:  "A single conversation across a
table with a wise man is worth a month's study of books."  Well, I'm
no wise man, but I have conversed
across my fair share of tables (and studied more than my fair share of books). So I feel sort of qualified to offer you my WEbook Writing Secrets: Tips on writing better, stronger, faster, and

Today’s WEbook
Writing Secret: The Punchline

In any list, put the most important item last. This is what your reader will notice and remember. This rule works especially well with
humor. You can create a list of ordinary
things, and surprise the reader with something unexpected, funny, or absurd at
the end. Example: “After a good tumble in the sack, Ted likes
nothing better than to smoke a cigarette, drink a glass of orange juice, and polish
his lightsaber collection

Okay, maybe not the funniest sentence in the world, but it’s
a heck of a lot funnier than: “After a good tumble in the sack, Ted likes
nothing better than to polish
his lightsaber collection
, smoke a cigarette, and drink a glass of orange

Bonus: This is a great rule for job applications and resumes. When listing all the things that make you excellent, put the absolutely, totally, most excellent thing
at the end. “Melissa has published
stories in numerous literary magazines and contributed two chapters to WEbook’s first collaborative novel, Pandora, and last summer
she saved the world from imminent attack by hostile aliens, using only a
spatula and three slices of cheese.”

And every word of it is true!

-- Melissa

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