Updates: A Week Off — twytte

It’s not a vacation, but there will be a delay in posts (see below).

Hi! As you may have guessed, I’m going to take a week off from my regular posting schedule. Why? Because I’m taking my real estate licensing test this week (and I need to study!). I thought about trying to do all the posts for the week tonight (in lieu of a full night’s sleep), but […]

via Updates: A Week Off — twytte

Ordinary Life Quote by Harvey Pekar: The Key to Realism

ordinary life quote by Harvey Pekar key to realism

This ordinary life quote by Harvey Pekar is one of those extremely simple, straightforward quotes that manages to be extremely deep and complicated, as well.

“Ordinary life is pretty complex stuff.”  — Harvey Pekar

That’s true, right? It feels true, anyway. And (IMHO), that’s the key to realism – complexity. It’s the little everyday details that are easy to forget when writing, things that you do every day but don’t think about. Like brushing your teeth, taking a shower, having clean clothes, cleaning up after the dog, or checking your email.

But the complexity also comes from the unexpected twists of fate (or Murphy’s Law). It’s when you have car troubles the week when you don’t have time to take it to the mechanics or the dog throwing up when you’re already late for work. It’s the job offer you get when you weren’t looking, the sudden illness that wipes out your PTO, or the rainstorm when the forecast was sunny. And it’s the scent of honeysuckle when you’re standing next to your broken down car, the heat of newly printed papers on a cold day, and an unexpected gift from a stranger.

When you’re talking big plot conflicts (like the main one that the protagonist is trying to resolve), these details are little bumps in the road – the sort of events that aren’t even included in the plot summary; however, they’re also the little rich details that build realism.

Of course, matching life’s complexity in a plot can be pretty difficult. And if a book was really as unpredictable as life, readers would get mad at it for breaking promises.

It’s sad but true. See, we expect a certain amount of synchronicity from books (meaningful coincidences, anyway), and if we don’t get it, we don’t like the book (unless you’re the literary, “Yes! Break those rules!” type.). In life, on the other hand, you can expect synchronicity all you want, but you’re not going to get it. It might even weird you out if you do (“Woah! Déjà vu!”).

Wait a minute! Doesn’t that mean that writers have to make the story complicated and unexpected enough to make it realistic enough but at the same time make it predictable enough to follow? Seriously?

Yes. Seriously. Don’t ever believe anyone who tells you that writing is easy. They lie (and not simply to tell a good story).

But I guess that’s just another example of how life is “complex stuff.”

Bureaucratic Red Tape as a Plot Device: Can Your Protagonist Get Through?

barrier bureaucratic red tape as a plot device

Coming through!

Bureaucracy, if you’ll excuse my French (why is it French?), is an inescapable facet of real life, and is, therefore, handy for realism. After having my own bewildering struggle with bureaucratic red tape recently (I’ll tell you about it in a minute), it occurred to me that nothing beats bureaucratic red tape as a plot device – at least not for frustration and realism (and absurdity).

The Blockade of Bureaucratic Red Tape: Plotting Frustration

Often, bureaucratic red tape fits in one of two categories: 1. something that seems pointless but is actually useful – to the bureaucracy – or 2. something that was once useful but was taken to extremes or is only useful in very extreme circumstances.

A Real Life Bureaucratic Plot Twist

This week, I took a long lunch break to get some paperwork filled out. It’s the type of paperwork you have to fill out, turn in with a fee, wait for a response, and then sign up to do something else, so while I was out, I decided to drop it off at the government office to expedite matters (instead of mailing it and waiting…). So I drove downtown, paid for parking, and crossed the street to the government building.

When you go in, there’s a desk with a sign saying that all guests to the building must check in with a photo id. I told the security guard I needed to go to the 20th floor, and she said, “I’ll just need to see your license.” So I pull my purse off my shoulder and start to get it out.

“Wait. Does that have two straps?”
“Yes…?” (It’s a backpack purse.)
“You can’t take that into the building.”

That’s right. Nothing with two straps can go into the building, but I could put it in my car and come back. One problem: I had my laptop in it. I didn’t really want to leave that in my car in the middle of downtown (would you?).

Not sure what to do, I called the office I needed to go to. On that busy street corner, I told the woman who answered the situation. She said to come back in to the lobby, and she’d come down and get my paperwork.

And that’s what happened.

This government worker came down from the 20th floor to get my paperwork, went back up to enter it, and came back down to give me my receipt. And I’m lucky she did – 0therwise, I’d’ve probably left downtown, shy the cost of parking and without having turned in my paperwork. She said that with the new security measures they weren’t even letting diaper bags up.

Wow.

I’d say that falls under the 2nd condition – the rule had good intentions and probably decent reasoning behind it (I’ll assume), but the written rule and the intent got separated somewhere along the way. I saw people entering with larger purses (mine’s on the small side), but because of the strap types, they were allowed in where I wasn’t.

I’m trying to picture how the straps alone made the bag more dangerous, but unless there’s some way to conceal something in the straps that can’t be concealed elsewhere, I’m pretty much at a loss. It made me wonder how often government workers have to make trips to the lobby under similar circumstances (which inspired this article).

Using Bureaucratic Red Tape as a Plot Device

The protagonist is one step away from the climactic battle of his hero’s journey when he’s delayed because he didn’t pay taxes on his loot from battle to a walled town they’d passed through. Before the doctor can leave his station to get to the wounded, he has to get permission from three different officers and fill out a series of paperwork. A band of palace guards rushes to save their king, but they aren’t allowed into his presence because they’re wearing weapons. Or aren’t wearing court apparel – take your pick.

Whatever type of story or bureaucracy, there are two major requirements to using red tape as a plot device:

  1. A law or rule (for the main character to have broken or to have to follow)
  2. An enforcer (somebody to care about it)

These two requirements are a bit like the chicken and the egg: it’s hard to be sure which one should go first creation-wise. You’ll have to decide which order makes the most sense to you and your story.

A Law or Rule

I think we’ve all read books where the protagonists come up against a law that seems deliberately designed to keep them from reaching their goals. Granted, sometimes, the law was deliberately designed by their enemy, but it could very easily be the result of an old, outdated law that’s usually ignored (and that said enemy is taking advantage of).

The rule side of it has more flexibility in some ways. For the most part, laws are passed and then a group of unelected officials somewhere makes up all the rules to enforce it (scary thought, right?). These types of rules include but are not limited to…

  • under what conditions you can or cannot apply for something
  • what paperwork needs filled out for anything and everything
  • due dates for paperwork, fees, continuing education, etc.
  • which departments are responsible for what
  • what color your house can be
  • what types of animals are allowed where and under what conditions

And, of course, these rules and laws occur on multiple levels: federal, state, county, city, township, neighborhood, etc. That’s a lot of possibilities for inconveniences plot-wise.

An Enforcer 

Laws and rules aside, the key to making bureaucratic red tape work as a plot device (IMHO) is the pedant. After all, the law doesn’t become a conflict if no one’s enforcing it, and if the circumstances are save-the-world drastic, who’s going to insist you turned in the forms in triplicate except someone overly obsessed with rules and following them?

Only the pedant. Or an enemy. (They’re not the same thing – although the effect may make them feel similar.)

The enemy is going to either insist on following the rules as a deliberate means of slowing/stopping the heroes or will pass off the information to the pedant for the same effect with less effort. The pedant, on the other hand, doesn’t care about the heroes or their motivation, just the rule(s). That’s the danger and the glory of the stickler.

Now, in that situation (end of the world), there has to be a reason that the stickler doesn’t care  about the protagonists’ goal. The heroes could’ve been discredited, the stickler could be so isolated in his/her own little world that the end of the world is unbelievable, and so on. Part of overcoming the obstacle could actually be convincing the pedant that the emergency is real.

And it isn’t always a life-or-death matter. It might be something that doesn’t matter to the stickler at all. But it could still block the goal of the story.

For example, at the end of The Muppet Movie, Lew Lord’s receptionist tries to stop the protagonists because they don’t have an appointment. Does she care about their dreams of becoming movie stars? Nope. If they get stopped there, is it going to affect her world at all? Not so much.

Are you counting? Now, we have two types of sticklers: one who doesn’t care at all and one who would care but doesn’t know.

That difference is why some sticklers are likable and some aren’t. The first one is more callous and antagonistic, and the other is a basic rule follower who either doesn’t know or doesn’t believe the situation is that severe. That type will unknowingly block the hero and think that he or she is helping (arg!).

Hmmm. That leaves a lot of options for a story.

Law + Enforcer = Road Block

Pick a law and design an enforcer who’d care about it, or make an enforcer and then design a law. Either way you go about it, you come up with a road block that has the power to delay if not stop your protagonist (or antagonist…), and because we’ve all had similar experiences, it adds a note of realism (and possibly humor).

And it doesn’t have to be the military or some modern government building. History had its share of bureaucracy, too (No reading scrolls without a scholar’s medallion!). Remember: rules and rule-lovers can exist in any setting.

Well, any questions? Are you ready to baffle and outrage your characters with bureaucratic red tape?

Literary Speed Sales to Publishers

No, I’ve never heard of this before. I’ve read about similar options for photographers in paid classes at some conferences (which, honestly, sounded very intense). But has anyone heard about literary speed sales to publishers here in the U.S.?

Friends share with friends, right? (And save them extra Googling when possible)

Did you know such thing even existed? No, it’s not authors dating authors, although maybe that’s not a bad idea either. It’s an event organised by an author society, where about a dozen publishers get to hear 3-minute pitches from writers that want to traditionally publish their books. I’ve known about the one organised by Australian […]

via Literary Speed Dating — Ana Spoke, author

3 Types of Appeals as Writing Prompts

What on earth is an appeal? Isn’t that something you do when a trial goes the wrong way? (Kind of, but no). The 3 types of appeals I’m talking about are rhetorical techniques. If you’re unfamiliar with the term rhetoric, think of it as the art of persuasion whether in speech or writing. To use these appeals as writing prompts (or even recognize them when they’re used against you), you need to know what they are and how they’re used.

The 3 Types of Appeals

 1. Logical Appeal

This is the one that gets the most marketing. It’s the one they focus on in schools: using facts and logical processes to guide the audience to the desired conclusion. To make them think that you’re right.

stock data logical appeal as writing prompts

See “data.”

Remember when your English or history teacher made you “support your answer”? You know, using statistics or quotes or evidence from the passage? That’s what this is all about. You use facts to back up every move of your reasoning, and because facts have to back up every move, you can’t skip anything (no matter how obvious).

Think of the argument you’re making as an arch made out of wooden blocks. If you skip a block (and leave a block-sized hole where it would be), then there’s nothing there to hold up the next block, sending the arch tumbling down.

That’s the benefit and the danger of using a logical appeal – if you do it right, it’s a very strong argument, but missing a single step or angle can ruin the whole thing.

2. Emotional Appeal

Really, these are pretty self-explanatory. In this case, instead of using logic, you try to rouse someone’s emotions. You want to make them feel that you’re right.

You do this by using strong adjectives and painting an picture to rouse the audience’s empathy. Art is almost always an emotional appeal. (That’s kind of the point of art…) We buy paintings that make us feel something in response, we listen to music that tugs on our heartstrings, and we read books with characters that we feel for.

emotional appeal as writing prompts puss in boots shrek 2

Pls!!

It’s also one of the best ways to get your way – every child or pet knows this (think the term puppy dog eyes). Other than those commercials for donating to starving or sick children (that go right for the heart), Puss in Boots from Shrek 2 is probably the best example of using an emotional appeal to affect someone’s behavior. He’s goood.

3. Character Appeal

I think of this one as a combination of the other two, but technically, it’s an appeal that relies on ethics or credibility. It’s making someone believe that you know what you’re talking about.

This is an important distinction. If you’re only using a character appeal, then they’re not agreeing because your argument makes sense to them. They’re agreeing because they’ve decided to believe in you.

doctor character appeal as writing prompts

Ah, the lab coat and stethoscope. Works every time.

Think of going to a doctor, accountant, or lawyer. They’re going to give you some advice, and if you don’t know anything about the subject, then you’re not going to decide based on the advice as much as you’re going to decide based on whether you trust them to know what they’re doing.

Using the 3 Types of Appeals as Writing Prompts

So… let’s go back to Puss in Boots. He uses an emotional appeal (+20 cuteness) to get Shrek to take him along and later does the same to take the guards off-guard (oh, the irony). Both of those actions affected the plot, effectively making the emotional appeal a plot device – that’s how we apply them to writing.

Whether the character is a hero, a con artist, a concerned party, or anything in between, he or she might need to convince someone of something. It could even be a key turning point in the plot.

How many times have you read a book where a character has to persuade someone to help? Or give him/her something? Or let them go where they can’t go?

So here’s the writing prompt.

  1. Pick a scene where a character or group of characters has to persuade someone to do or allow something.
  2. Match the characters to the type of appeal they would be most likely to use. Would Spock use an emotional appeal? Would Spock know how to use an emotional appeal? Only as a last-ditch effort when told to (people can use multiple types of appeals either separately or together) or if his using it out-of-character was a major part of the plot.
  3. Decide which appeal is most likely to work on the target. If old Mr. Treg doesn’t trust doctors, is telling him that you’re a doctor going to help? Would a purely emotional appeal work on Spock? Would a purely logical appeal work on Candide?
  4. Write the scene. You’ll have to decide which character goes first. Remember: succeeding on the first try is suspect. The harder the persuasion is, the higher the stakes and suspense.

This is a great exercise to use with an existing story or existing characters. You can use repeated persuasion attempts to show a character’s progress (or lack of progress) in learning to persuade people. You can use ridiculous persuasion attempts for humor or to show dramatic differences in the character’s values (Think Sheldon.).

So basically, it’s a tool for exploring characterization and finding new approaches for resolving plot conflicts. And since persuasion is a big part of everyday life, it helps add realism, too.

Pretty appealing, right?

Happy Valentine’s Day from twytte

“Of Love” may not be my best poem, but I certainly had fun putting it with different pictures. In any case, happy Valentine’s Day!* *(Or, if you’re not romantic or not in a relationship, Happy martyred saint day, or happy Lupercalia. If you are a romantic who loves Valentine’s Day, ignore everything I just said). […]

via Of Love: A Poem to Wish You a Happy Valentine’s Day — twytte

What Makes a Good Love Poem?

book-what makes a good love poem valentine's day

Happy Valentine’s Day!

It’s kind of like asking, “What’s a good pick-up line?” Some people will say that there are none. Some will say not using one. Some will say that something funny is best. While it’s not quite the same thing, if you ask, “What makes a good love poem?” you’ll get similar answers (That’s kinda scary, actually…).

So is there any point in asking? Do good love poems really exist?

The Good Love Poem: Fact or Fiction?

Clap if you believe that good love poems exist!

Anybody?

Come on, guys. I know there are some of you out there. Don’t worry – we’ll get to you. If we’re going to talk about perspectives on good love poems, however, we’re going to start with the harshest verdict.

There’s No Such Thing As a Good Love Poem.

What?!!! What about sonnets by Shakespeare? Or Elizabeth Barrett Browning? What about Byron or Keats?

If you like poems at all, you’re not going to be in this category. The same goes, I suppose, for love – but I’m guessing no one’s writing or reading love poems to people who hate love (I could be wrong…).

On the other hand, if your sweetheart falls into this category, maybe a love poem isn’t the right Valentine’s Day gift. That’s like getting a woman flowers when she’d rather have a potted plant. Remember: the best gift reflects the wants and needs of the person you’re giving it to (free life lesson – you can’t say you didn’t know now).

Good Love Poems Are Funny.

I think the people who say this have a prejudice against mushy stuff, especially if they say that love poems are only good if they’re funny. You know the type. People who go for serious stuff, and when they’re looking for a date, they look for people who make them laugh (something that shouldn’t be devalued on the dating scale).

These people might also be slightly on the side of the first category – poetry isn’t really their thing, so they only like it if it’s funny. A sincere sonnet may not be the best Valentine’s Day gift for someone who fits this description.

Now, am I saying that if you’re dating or married to someone like this, you shouldn’t try to show that you care? No. They may be ok with being serious about emotions in other ways.  Just don’t write him/her a mushy love poem – go for a limerick instead of a sonnet.

Good Love Poems Come from the Heart.

Is it the gift that counts? That’s what this one feels like. Even the most horribly-written love poem could be considered good (in a way) if the person who wrote it was really trying – if he/she meant what is said.

If you don’t believe me, I’m about to blow your doubt out of the water.

A gruff, manly man who doesn’t know anything about poetry and hates anything to do with writing is married to a woman who loves poetry and yearns for a small sign of her gruff husband’s love for her (not jewelry or furs). How do you think she would feel about a love poem that he wrote for her? Would she think it was a good love poem?

Don’t kid yourself. She’d think it was a great love poem. She’d be so in love with the effort and care that went into writing it that she wouldn’t care if a 5-year-old could write a better poem (artistically speaking).

You, on the other hand, might think the story of it is better than the poem…

Good Love Poems Are Written Well.

Hmmm. That’s not really very specific, is it? Couldn’t you say that about any poem? Come to think of it, what do they mean by “well”? Are they saying that it follows the rules of a specific form or that it uses imagery and makes you feel something? Or are they saying that it advances the art somehow?

To tell you the truth, I don’t think this would be the first answer that most people would give to this question – love is too emotional for most people to give only a logical or rule-based response. The form could be on the list, but I wouldn’t expect it to be the first thought (unless the person is a poet with extremely strong prejudice against poorly written poems…?).

So What Makes a Good Love Poem?!

The logical conclusion is that whether a love poem is good or not depends on who’s judging it.

I know what you’re saying: “Duh! It’s an opinion – of course, it depends on who’s judging it!”

Ok, call me Captain Obvious. But let’s take this a step further and figure out what makes most people decide that a poem is good. If you bothered to read my blather above (and if not, how did you make it this far?), you’d probably guess that it takes a combination of factors for a love poem to be considered good (like most poems).

Well, you’d be right. The most important considerations (IMHO) are…

  • Taste in Poetry: Do you like poems? Do you like that type of poem?
  • Emotional Stake: Do you know the author? Was it written for you or someone you know? Does the effort or feelings of the person who wrote it matter to you? (This includes the gruff husband example, but some people get emotionally involved in people they’ve never met – often because they admire them or empathize with them.)
  • Emotional Response: Does it make you feel something? Is it a strong reaction? Do you like the reaction? (Not “Is it a good reaction?” – people can like poetry that makes them sad or angry even though those are generally considered negative emotions.)
  • Quality of Writing: Is it written well enough that the quality of the writing isn’t really noticeable? Is it so poorly written that you can’t stand to look at it? Is it so well written that you are more interested in the writing style than the content? (The last is very uncommon. I would say that when poems are truly well-written, the writing methods and techniques become invisible because the emotional and sensory responses are so strong.)

The answers to these questions determine the quality of the poem. The more positive answers, the better the poem is (in general).

So if you’re trying to write a good love poem, would you want to think about these things in advance? For example, if you’re writing for a specific person, what types of poetry does he/she like? What emotion do you want to express – what do you want to make him/her feel? Can you write well enough to do that?

Actually, I’d probably stop with the first question (what poetry does he/she like). The only time I’d consider the others would be if I was trying to write a universally good love poem.

Or I might just write a poem and see how it goes. What about you?

To Book Club Or Not To Book Club?

book club or not to book club

No, that’s not how a book club works.

Oooh, the eternal internal conflict. To book club or not to book club? Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous readings or to take arms against a sea of troubles and, by opposing, ignore them?

Yeah. Sorry about that. I got caught up in the moment.

Seriously thought, there does seem to be some conflict among writers about the value of book clubs – for writers, that is. As artists (who, therefore, have to have a certain amount of ego to survive), we can get a bit arrogant about our art (Let’s face it, we can be divas.), so it can be hard enough to convince writers to join writing circles – let alone book clubs.

Why Don’t Writers Want to Join Book Clubs?

1. What We Read

Just because we’re writers doesn’t mean we always want to read top sellers or even fine literature. We may work hard enough at our 9-5 and then in our hours of writing afterwards, before, and in-between, that we want to read something easy. Something that doesn’t take a lot of brain power – which may or may not even have enough depth to be worth discussing in a group.

On the other hand, the genre could be the problem. Book clubs that focus on Sci Fi or Fantasy can be rarer. Or even ones that vary genres. If you like a lot of variety in your reading, then, a book club that sticks to one genre might feel more like work than fun.

And if you’re anything like me, you have a huge book list to get through in a variety of genres. If none of them are on the book club’s list, that doesn’t up your motivation for joining a book club.

2. Why We Read

I don’t know about you, but reading hasn’t been a social activity for me since my parents read to me as a child. In fact, reading is usually how I escape and recover from whatever social activities.

When reading is your relaxation or your private time, taking that reading into a group experience could seem baffling (or simply odd). It’s no wonder a lot of writers balk at going to a book club?

3. How We’re Trained to Read

Writers know about writing (yeah?). Most of us have taken more than our share of classes in writing and literature, and we also read more than our share of books (statistically speaking). As a result, we tend to have higher-than-average reading comprehension skills.

Don’t get me wrong – there are non-writers with equally high or higher reading comprehension skills. But finding them? And not just one but a group of them who happen to get together and read the exact type of books you’re interested in reading and discussing? Ones that you like or at least get along with?

Yeah. That’s not so easy.

4. When We Have to Read

If you have multiple jobs (writing and whatever else you do), family, and a social life, finding the time to not only read a required book but also meet people to talk about it may seem impossible. Or at least imposing.

I’m not saying it’s impossible, but if you’re on the fence about the question (“To book club or not to book club,” remember?), then, the tightness of your schedule definitely doesn’t go in the “pro” column.

5. The Cost of Reading

Reading is awesome, and the easy, fast, and relatively cheap access to millions of books that we have today is literally awe-inspiring (Yes, I meant literally.).

At the same time, books do cost money whether paperback or ebook. And if your book club reads a new bestseller each month, you’ll need to budget for more than you would for the dollar section at the used book store.

Just sayin’.

Why Would Writers Want to Join a Book Club?

 1. Getting Out

As writers, it’s all too easy to get holed up in our homes or our books. We get involved, and we stay involved.

If you’re the type to forget to take a breath every once in a while, scheduling that breath can help. And when your main interests are writing and reading, then a book club makes a couple of breaths a month – when you read and when you get together to talk about it.

2. Staying Connected

The other side of how we’re trained to read is how most people are trained to read. Think about it. Are people with really good reading comprehension skills your reading audience? Are they even the main part of your reading audience?

If they are, you’re really limiting your target audience.

Getting a feel for what your average reader will understand or miss can be difficult. Reading alongside and discussing a book with a group of average readers can be extremely revealing. I can’t guarantee that it’ll be a magic cure for the issue, but it can definitely give you some ideas about what will work and what won’t.

3. Learning from Reading

Every genre has its own common tricks and techniques. When you read a lot of one genre (like many people do), then, you get more used to specific techniques. That’s good – except when it isn’t.

When you want ideas for how to make your story fresh and interesting, reading outside your usual genres can help. I’ve already started to notice trends in the genres that I’m less familiar with, and seeing when those techniques work (and when they don’t) is giving me ideas that I can use for my books.

4. Sphere of Influence

Ok, we’re not talking countries in this case so much as people. Who you know and whom you can influence (who sees your posts, who responds to them, etc.). It’s also known as networking.

As a writer, I consider networking anything that gets your name out there. That includes clubs, volunteering, and any other activity. In a book club (where people are supposedly interested in reading [right?]), they’re already set up to be interested, so you have the opportunity to extend your sphere of interest that much farther.

What’s the Answer? To Book Club or Not to Book Club?

You tell me.

Yes, there’s 5 on one side and 4 on the other (mainly because my brain got tired). That doesn’t necessarily mean anything. What if only 2 on one side and 3 on the other are viable to you? Or 4 on both sides?

That’s why this is an eternal internal question. The answer for you may be totally different from the answer for me, and even my answer may change as time goes on.

So what’s it going to be? How do you feel about book clubs?

8 Nose Quotes from Page, Stage, & Screen

fake glasses nose quotes

Sometimes a nose is just a nose

Why I am I writing about nose quotes? To be honest, I was listening to a show, heard a funny quote about noses, and thought, “Hey! That could be an article.” But noses really are an often-overlooked-yet-persistent part of stories. To help inspire you to use the overlooked or unexpected, here are 8 nose quotes from page, stage, & screen.

A Sampling of Nose Quotes for Writers

1. Cyrano de Bergerac

When talking about famous noses, really, where else could you start but with Cyrano?

As tragedies go, this one has a plethora of wit as well as a plethora of nose (poor Cyrano), and said nose has a central role in the plot. Of course, that wouldn’t be the case if Cyrano had only believed his own words:

“… a big nose is indicative
Of a soul affable, and kind, and courteous,
Liberal, brave, just like myself, and such
As you can never dare to dream yourself…”
— Cyrano from Cyrano de Bergerac

2. Pinocchio

Another obvious choice. The quote, however, is not from the movie’s namesake.

“A lie keeps growing and growing until it’s as plain as the nose on your face.”
— The Blue Fairy

That’s definitely true of Pinocchio who has a harder time lying than most. Even in his guest appearance in Shrek 2.

3. Court Jester with Danny Kaye

One of my favorite movies growing up, Court Jester is a mix of parody, comedy, and musical with a script that is wonderfully witty and actors who deliver it with a fast-paced rhythm that will leave you giggling as you catch up. This particular quote comes from the opening credits.

“Why be gloomy – cut thy nose off to spite thy face? Listen to me: a nose is hard to replace.” — Hawkins from Court Jester

Maybe, it’s not your first reaction when you’re gloomy (I know it’s not mine), but when taken into context with the saying, it actually has a surprisingly deep meaning…

4. The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged

This quote is an example of how something small combined with parody can equal hilarity:

“A nose by any other name could still smell.”
— Adam as Juliet in The Complete Works of Shakespeare Abridged

Seriously, folks, if you haven’t watched it yet, what are you waiting for?

5. William Shakespeare

And just to prove that it doesn’t have to be parody to be a Shakespearian nose quote…

“O jest unseen, inscrutable, invisible,
As a nose on a man’s face, or a weathercock on a steeple!”
— Speed from Two Gentleman of Verona

I like how he contrasts the ideas to change the meaning. You know, like most of us sarcastic types do.

6. M*A*S*H

As many seasons as this television show ran, there’s probably a quote in it from about any topic you can think of. The nose, however, has its own episode.

“Major, all a nose is is a nose. It takes in air, and it breaks up the space between your eyes and your mouth. It has nothing to do with a person’s value or quality. It’s there to catch a cold through or that which to look down on people from. Enjoy it! You’ve been given a good, strong, aquiline nose.” — Captain Benjamin Franklin Pierce from “Operation Noselift

Dammit, Pierce! Where were you when Cyrano needed you?

7. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Not to leave out poetry, here’s a little couplet by Longfellow called “The Best Medicines.”

“Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor’s nose.”

8. Terry Pratchett

It seems appropriate to end with a bit of good advice. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “stick your nose into other people’s business/affairs.” Well, with his usual skill at surprise endings to traditional lines, Mr. Pratchett added a valuable twist:

“Don’t stick your nose where someone can pull it off and eat it.”
— Terry Pratchett’s Men at Arms

Who knew a nose could be quoted from so many different angles? Even now, I feel like I’m forgetting some.

Know any great nose quotes that I missed?

If you thought, “Yes!” when you read that, please, please, share it/them because that’s kind of hilarious.

Fill in Your Own Fable: More Malopropisms

Here’s one of Aesop’s fables adjusted for your entertainment. Use parts of speech to fill in your own fable. Then, read it and laugh yourselves silly.

Fill in Your Own Fable Aesop's fables More MalopropismsWant to see how your fable compares to the original? Check it out at the Library of Congress.

And if you had fun, check out more malapropisms from the classics!

What malapropism do you want next?