Friday, July 17, 2009

Fiction Friday: The Two-Humped Camel, Part 2, and Prompt X


The joke that I posted on Monday, the Two-Humped Camel, was one I actually heard nearly forty years ago, from Ben Campbell, my freshman English teacher back in high school.

(I often hear people say, "I don't remember jokes." I totally don't get that. I think I remember every joke I ever heard. All it takes is a little nudge and one will pop into my head, as fresh (or rancid) as the day I heard it.)

Anyway, the nudge that brought back the Two-Humped Camel joke was thinking about plotting in fiction, which is supposed to be like a two-humped camel: things start off level for the protagonist, then she encounters an obstacle. She works through that, and things get a little better and then, wham, she hits another obstacle, before finally learning whatever it is she has to learn and resolving the issue for once and for all.

If you're interested in learning more about plotting, there are a couple of great books (recommended to me by other writers): Story, by Robert McKee and Screenplay, by Syd Field. Both books are actually about screenwriting, but plot for novels work in much the same way, especially today, when readers' expectations are largely formed by movies and TV.

This Week's Winner

is Steven G. He had an interesting take on the prompt, as he so often does. Nice work, Steven!


His five day run on Jeopardy! changed Elwood Merkles life forever. The answer, "EMP" triggered an emotionless response from China’s seven billion dollar prototype robot to announce, “What is Electromagnetic Pulse, Asshole,?”

Alex Trebek had grown to like Elwood, but was stunned by the response. Elwood’s eyes turned dead.
Elwood stood motionless as the studio crew shivered in fear.
“Who are you?’ begged Alex.
LWD MRKL. I am programmed to Listen, Withhold Determent, Manage Response, and KL.
Alex weakly asked Elwood, “What is KL?”
Elwood replied., “KL is KILL.”
Alex cried out, “KILL WHO??
Elwood said, “You.”

Next Week's Prompt

As you may know, Steven G was the only entrant this week, and one of two last week. Not sure what's going on -- vacations? bad prompts? or is everyone burned out? Depending on what happens this week, I may take a prompting sabbatical till after Labor Day.

Anyway, here's this week's prompt:

Much can be discerned about a woman named Elizabeth from the nickname she goes by.


  1. What I've learned about plotting is you start at point A and eventually get to point B.

    However, along the way, anything bad that can happen to your character, should.

  2. Much can be discerned about a woman named Elizabeth from the nickname she goes by.

    There is sure to be a coy exhibitionist bursting to come out when meeting Betty.

    The quiet little church mouse in the corner of the library is often introduced as Betsy.

    A bit of flair and stardust in her eyes comes with an introduction to Liz or Liza.

    The dependable hard worker will answer when Beth is called out.

    If you are in need of a champion, call out to Libby.

    But if you ever run across a Lizzie, never axe her a question.

  3. Ouuch! Jeffie slam dunks early in the morning!!!!!

    The game is afoot! Woo hoo!

  4. it's kind of weird/interesting how Jeapardy is such a piece of culture now

  5. I love the prompt this week.

    Elizabeth offers so many options to consider.

  6. Hey Jeanne,

    The camel mention in this post reminded me of a picture my best friend (who happens to be a beauty pageant fan) sent me today, begging me to write a funny caption for it.

    Take a peek and let me know what you think:

  7. This is getting a bit too much for my raisins brain, but a long time ago when someone told me that my name originates from Elizabeth, I was dissappointed. I was hoping for Farrah Fawcett.

  8. I think summer is hard for blogging! I am so far behind on visiting all of my friends and it is difficult to find time to write posts. I am sure that is what is happening.

  9. The warm weaher kills me. Lethargy is my word of the day

  10. Oops, y’all

    “Much can be discerned about a woman named Elizabeth from the nickname she goes by.”
    NO SHIT, muthafucka!

    In 07 Johnny Scarlett picked ME to work a job with Mama Lizzie. Now Johnny’s a bad dude, but Mama Lizzie is fuckin’ SUPERBAD! Mama Lizzie can snap her finger and you a dead muthafucka! I was uptight, alright.
    I was in position that day. I reported on cue, “Mama Lizzie’s here.”
    That afternoon, Sir John Scarlett, Director General of the British Secret Service, told my commander, “Tell that kid to never call Queen Elizabeth ‘Mama Lizzie’ again.”


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