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Jokes meant for mostly yourself

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by Garren Jacobsen, Mar 9, 2017.

  1. Okay, so I noticed I do this sometimes. I put in a joke that is mostly meant for myself. Like today. I wrote a fight scene where because of modern technology a fighter could take off his sword's pommel in a half turn of the pommel and then chuck it at his opponent and because of other technology the sword itself wouldn't fall apart, yay for welding.

    Apparently chucking a pommel real thing in medieval times (not to be confused with Medieval Times where I get to eat food with my bare hands) but some think it was joke. The name of the technique has been dubbed "Ending him rightly" in at least modern YouTuber parlance. In any event, I have it there in my book. Dude then gets the pommel chucked back at him, knocking him out. The chapter ends with a guy watching the fight on magic TV with a buddy and the buddy makes a pun about it.
    I have other jokes sometimes in the narrative sometimes in the dialogue for mostly me. Like another time I have a lawyer MC and in his POV his opponent bares his teeth in a false smile. The description says the opponent "showed his teeth, for MC could not call it a smile," which is a nod to a US Supreme Court case called Calder v. Bull.
    Do you ever put in jokes or referneces in your works mostly for your amusement or am the only one crazy enough to do it?
  2. TheCatholicCrow

    TheCatholicCrow Inkling

    I don't really do jokes (I tend to have darker writing) but I will occasionally throw in some sarcasm or a good one liner if it doesn't destroy the mood of the scene.

    I used to write children's skits for a Catholic conference (must have done it at least five or six years in a row) - we'd always sneak in a joke about Barbies. Somehow, it just became our thing... we had to have jokes that made sense to children ages 4 to 11 but the Barbie jokes and puns were for the adult volunteers... which meant mostly myself :) .

    Brian - I suspect you're just a funny person & can't help yourself. Nothing wrong with that :)

    The answer for me is yes ... but probably less often than others do.
  3. Penpilot

    Penpilot Staff Article Team

    For me, I think most of jokes in my stories are for myself, but I try to let everyone in on the joke and end it rightly if possible. :p I do it by setting up the context as long as it doesn't detract from the story.

    But if I can't set up the joke, which I don't think really happens to me, I'd make sure it wasn't intrusive, so for those who get it, it's a nice Easter Egg, and for those who don't, it doesn't detract from the story.
  4. skip.knox

    skip.knox toujours gai, archie Moderator

    I make historical references that I don't take time to explain. If the reader gets it, that's an additional layer, however thin. But it's not necessary in order to understand the story. It's sort of the writerly equivalent of an easter egg.
  5. Demesnedenoir

    Demesnedenoir Istar

    I have a character who pays homage to David Bowie, although so far nobody catches it without being told, but inside jokes? I'm sure there are, but for the most part, I want the reader in on the comedy relief.
  6. Chessie

    Chessie Guest

    All the time! But no one gets it. :( Mostly, I hear from readers that my stories are dark so my humor must be, too. Truth is, I did marry the class clown for a reason...
  7. Incanus

    Incanus Auror

    Yeah, I do this sort of thing a little bit. They tend to be Easter-egg-ish, and some of them may have a humorous tilt.

    Indeed, one of my better shorts started with what amounts to an Easter-egg-- I used the two obscure architectural terms, Caryatid and Telamon, which are stone pillars in the likeness of a woman and man, respectively, and posited a faux-legend as to how they came to be called that. Basically it was a curse put upon two lovers named Carya and Telam by a jealous rival--he trapped them and transformed them into pillars. The whole thing was done in a mytho-historical Greek setting, as was appropriate. This background isn't at all necessary to understand the story, but it adds another layer. I think it turned out pretty OK.

    I say: have fun with this stuff. It can't hurt, unless you're doing it wrong.
  8. Gryphos

    Gryphos Auror

    I've done little things like that here and there. A great example is pub names: whenever my characters go to a pub or a tavern or whatever, I always have the name of the pub be a reference to something. I had one pub called 'The Lesser Weevil' in reference to a scene in Master and Commander where someone makes a joke about 'always picking the lesser of two weevils'. I have another pub called 'Onion-brother's Wrath' in reference to the game Dark Souls, which has a character whom the community has informally dubbed Onion-bro, who at one point says a line along the lines of 'you shall feel my wrath!' And I have another pub called 'The Gross Incandescence', which is another reference to Dark Souls, in which one character says an amusing line about the Sun: 'If only I could be so grossly incandescent!'

    I like just little references like this, which very few people are realistically likely to get, but amuse me nonetheless.
    valiant12 likes this.
  9. Michael K. Eidson

    Michael K. Eidson Archmage

    I'll write things like this, that are mostly for my benefit, during the first draft. When I revise, sometimes those items stay, sometimes they go. If I need something anyway, and the inside joke or Easter egg-ish material serves the purpose, then it can stay. Some readers might get the joke or recognize the Easter egg, which could be a bonus for them.

    If some inside joke or Easter egg-ish material has no chance of benefiting the reader in some way, if it doesn't even add color, then I'll likely remove it.
  10. I often include jokes or puns that no one will get, mostly etymological.
  11. Ahh! This kind of thing is fun! If your readers don't get it, it's no loss to the story. But if they do...

    I can't say that I've done this. Though I do wonder how many of my betas will have the following fly over their heads:

    He didn't seem to believe me."I've never seen this much blood before," he said.
    "Well I have," I'd have to waste a little of the water cleaning the wounds. I wet a wad of bandage. "At least once a month,"

    It amused *me*, if no one else. :p
  12. ^:p Ha.

    A lot of my character names have complex etymology. I wonder if anyone besides me will notice on their first read?
  13. Alyssa

    Alyssa Troubadour

    My jokes tend to be based on etymology and sneaky wordplay.

    Also, Rothfuss has a very good pun hidden in NotW, it's just below.

    "It's all a chase, and when the race is done, I think I pity women chaste who run."

    Try saying it out loud

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