Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Behind the Books: Super Silly Science Jokes

If you’re a regular reader of this blog, you know that I sometimes post science jokes on Fridays. Well, I have a confession to make. Those jokes were tests.

You see, for the last couple of years, I’ve been working on a series of books that are chock full of science jokes. Of course, the books also include lots of great facts about such topics as the solar system, electricity and magnetism, and rocks and minerals.

At the end of these books, which I’m happy to announce have just been published, is a section with all kinds of hints and tips that kids can use to write their own jokes. I’m hoping they’ll send me some of their jokes, and if they do, I’ll post them here.

In the meantime, I thought I’d share some of what I’ve learned about writing science jokes for kids. Let’s start with some basics.

1. It’s usually easier to think of a joke’s punch line, or answer, first. Then work backward to come up with the set up, or question.

2. Keep the set up short and simple. People who listen to your joke will want to try to guess the answer. It’s half the fun of hearing the joke. But if the question is too long, your listeners won’t be able to remember it all. They’ll feel frustrated instead of excited.

3. Keep the answer short and simple too. That way it will pack more of a punch.

4. After you write a joke, spend time revising it. Choosing just the right words for the set up and punch line will make the joke better. Here’s an example:

Q: Why didn’t the ram fall off the cliff?
A: It made a ewe turn.

That’s not bad, but it could be even better. Let’s try changing just a few words.

Q: Why did the ram fall off the cliff?
A: It didn’t see the ewe turn.

Why is the second version funnier? There are a few reasons.
• The word play works better.
• There is more action. The ram actually does fall off the cliff.
• The ram makes a mistake that causes it to have a problem.

Intrigued? Be on the lookout for more joke-writing posts in the future. And check out the Super Silly Science Jokes I post on Friday.

4 comments:

  1. I love your Friday jokes - they light(en) up the week. Nice to know what sort of thought process goes into them.

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  2. Thanks, Sue. I'm looking forward to sharing more jokes and more about the process of creating the books.

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  3. The science of joke-writing! I love it!

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  4. Hey, I never thought of it that way, Leslie. But you're right. Hope to see you at the SCBWI-NE conference in a few weeks.

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