Writing Tips by Gary Speer

Tips for writers, musing about writing and life

Tips for writing humor: Aw, go ahead and write a ‘Shaggy Dog Story’ if you wish

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Ever heard the expression “Shaggy Dog Story”? Know what it means? Go ahead and “Google” it if you want and I’ll wait here until you get back.

Got it? A shaggy dog story is typically a joke, adventure tale, or otherwise engrossing story that leads up to a punch line or story climax that has nothing to do with the story, or is a major let down in relation to the elaborate tale you’ve told to get there.

Let me link you to an example, called by the person who has it on his website “Fur Ball.” I was really surprised to find that web page and that old joke. I first heard it back in high school. It relies on a pun based on the title of a popular Word War I drinking/marching song.

Personally, I love shaggy dog stories. I love writing them and I love telling them. I love the whole elaborate set up of the story, the anticipation of the audience, the groan generated by the corny punch line.

Perhaps that simply means my humor isn’t sophisticated enough. But then, I told you earlier that I don’t really consider myself much of a humor writer.

How about you? Do you enjoy a good shaggy dog pun? Perhaps a spooky story told late at night? What sort of humor have you written? What sort of humor would you like to write? Tell us, please.
[tags]humor writing, shaggy dog stories, writing tips at garyspeer.com[/tags]

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