Monday, April 13, 2009

Turn Your Writing Bloopers into . . . "Blooperade"

As a writer . . . you probably know
there are creative ways of handling
just about anything. Anything at all.

What you may not know, maybe not yet, is that all those "bloopers" (which arise when you are working on something new, and perhaps never before seen) can be cause for exhilarating inspiration. If not hilarity.

Here's an example from another pursuit entirely. On the wall-mounted television at the gym the other day, a gaggle of Famous Old Golfers (names you'd recognize, even if you know nothing, and don't care to, about golf) were ceremoniously putting, and driving, and walking across an immaculately maintained, bright-green course. They were surrounded by hundreds of onlookers, politely lined up on either side of their grassy line of play.

And then, it happened. Famous Old Golfer squinted off into the distance, sighting the next drive, and loomed briefly over a tiny ball perched on a tinier tee. He swung smoothly and watched confidently as his ball soared upwards into a majestic arc, plummeting perfectly. Into the lake.

No one laughed. No one reacted at all.

Which is too bad. We all have these moments, no matter what kind of work we do. And I, for one, would have liked to see those famous old guys have fun with something that, while embarrassing, was pretty darn funny. Given the ultra-serious circumstances, and all.

Because it's a question of giving in. To the rock-bottom humanity within all our effortful endeavors. Saying Okay to whatever results. And turning our bloopers -- like the proverbial lemons into lemonade -- into, well, "blooperade."

But. How do you make something good out of a wrong turn in your writing?

First, you laugh. Then, you see if there isn't some way to turn the miscast part on its head. Or inside out. Or even just start all over again.

Jump into the lake. Retrieve your ball. And see if writing from a different perspective doesn't salvage the day.

Maybe you'll get a brand new insight -- one you never would have had -- were it not for the miscast section that's staring up at you, right there on page 82.

Blooperade. Don't write anything without it.


  1. Oh, Laurel, you've done it again: both educated and entertained me. What a great post! "Blooperade" . .. . I'll never forget this word. And I'll never throw away a failed piece again. I'm so glad I'm a "follower" of your blog because I always know when you've posted.

  2. Laurel, "Blooperade" should be a classic! Succinct, memorable, and already edited to perfection.

  3. Sandy + Caryn -- Thank you so much for your wonderful comments! I'm glad you found this post useful and memorable. Writing does require great flexibility and resilience over time -- it's a never-ending learning process.

    Best to you,