Thursday, April 1, 2010

Lost Marbles and Other Foolish Fun

Last year for April Fool's Day I tried this "magic trick"
on my husband's lunch fruit.
Using toothpicks, I attempted to slice up a banana without opening the peel.
He called from work to ask if I was trying to poison him. The banana had turned brown and oozy where I'd poked holes.

Ah, so many botched attempts at humor in my life.
Jokes that didn't fly. Comments I wish I'd swallowed. "Oops" conversations.
Days I wonder why I left the house.
Maybe that's why I like to write. The Delete button.

I know "they" say to write your characters with flaws. People like them better that way.
What about real people?
Are we allowed to show our flaws?
Are we really more likable with flaws?
My mom says we're blind to them anyway so there's no use hiding.
Would you still read my work if you knew I was missing a few marbles?

Today of all days, let's celebrate our flaws. Show your foolish side to the world.

Fun Games for Fools:

"Drool". (Swallow well, then lean over a table or floor and wait to see who drools first.)
Maybe not one to try on your writing conference acquaintances, but very successful with teenagers.

"Word Associations". (Say a random word, your friend responds with the next word that pops into his/her head, you respond in kind, and so on.)

"Slide Show" a.k.a. "Annoy the heck out of your sleeping partner" (just as your brain is relaxing before sleep and your bedfellow is nodding off, speak the words or images that come to mind, i.e. "old castle" "rainstorm" "kippers" "mile marker" "man with a broom". It's very fun.)

Great silly books :
"The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship" - Uri Shulevitz
"The Napping House" and "King Bidgood's in the Bathtub" - Don and Audrey Wood
"Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle" - Betty MacDonald
"Pippi Longstocking" - Astrid Lindgrin


Jen said...

How funny!!! I love this! You're right we as readers love flawed characters they are more relateable to us! However being flawed in real life? Yea sometimes not accepted, but I love my flaws!!!

Great post!

Jan Morrison said...
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Jan Morrison said...
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Jan Morrison said...

speaking of the delete button - awful spelling mistakes in my first two attempts!
I keep a small dish of marbles beside the chairs where clients sit (I'm a psychotherapist). They inevitably ask me what they are for and say they are for anyone who has lost their's. It hasn't backfired so far...but humour is always a risk, no? If it wasn't - if it didn't include a surprise then it wouldn't be humour and sad that would be.

Tricia J. O'Brien said...

My minor characters always seem more flawed than my protagonists, and I know I need to let the heroes have weaknesses, too.
As for myself, I need to tie the cord on my marble bag really tight these days. ;)

Tara McClendon said...

The first fun game had me laughing. Here's to always finding fun in life--flawed or not.

Rayna M. Iyer said...

That's really funny, Faith.

And you wouldn't be as much fund if you were not missing a few marbles.

Karen Akins said...

Love this post. I've noticed that often, my minor characters seem more interesting to me than my main one(s). Probably a lack of flaws. :)

Faith Pray said...

Jen, good point!

Jan, I'm so glad to know I'll feel at home if I wander into your office looking for my marbles.

Tricia, yes, my marble bag is getting a little holey. I too find it hard to loosen up my heroes and let them be flawed and human.

Tara, you should try it. It's a great ice breaker. "Hi, my name's Faith, want to play a drool game?"

Thanks Rayna!

Karen, I hear you. I had the hardest time breaking through that flaw barrier with my main characters.
Another interesting thing, if you're writing in the mystery genre, I've noticed that the main detectives tend to have less flaws. Or at least, more of an unchanging character as compared to other fiction where the characters go through some sort of change or improvement.

Faith Pray said...
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Faith Pray said...
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Faith Pray said...
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Faith Pray said...
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