Creative writing is a unique beast among writers. You can get swept away writing out every detail of a room, or stuff your stories with characters and too many plot twists. If you want to refine your stories, practise with a dirty joke.
Photo by Florence Ivy.
As advice site Barking Up the Wrong Tree explains, dirty jokes are a distilled form of creative writing that requires you to reduce a story to its most basic elements. You wouldn’t write a paragraph about the details of a man’s tie in a limerick, and you wouldn’t pile a sixth plot twist on top of your pile of punchlines. Once the joke stops having rhythm or being funny, you know when you need to cut something. Building that instinct can improve your writing:
Whether it’s a screenplay or a PowerPoint presentation, does it have a clear beginning, middle and end? Or is it a rambling mess of ideas? And that’s where dirty jokes come in…
Playwright extraordinaire David Mamet says the dirty joke is the best model for telling a story. It has a beginning, middle and end, it doesn’t waste time telling you more than you need to know, and it uses everyday language.
Writing dirty jokes forces you to practise many of the skills that make a great creative writer, including brevity, clever turns, accessible language and structuring your story. If you’re hitting a road block, or just want to improve, let your dirty mind roam free.
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