Day 9: Funny Fictional Names
Danielle Kraese shares a tool for brainstorming funny fictional names for things
Welcome to day 9 of the One Funny Line challenge.
Today’s prompt comes from humor writer Danielle Kraese, whose latest humor book Deep-sea Creeps: A field guide to terrible ex-boyfriends (as sea creatures comes out today!
Congrats on taking the first step of completing today’s writing prompt, which is opening Julie’s wonderful newsletter (see, you’re already doing so great!).
Humor is frequently found in the specifics (it’s the difference between “I ate a snack” and “I ate a box of Trader Joe’s Shrimp Pouches Of Many Colors”). That’s why coming up with fictional names for things—a book, a startup, a reality TV show—can be a powerful comedy tool. With that in mind…
Pick a celebrity, a fictional character, or someone in your life. Then, come up with a name for one or more of the following:
Their self-help book
Their experimental solo album
Their off-Broadway play
Their Wi-Fi network
I started doing a variation of this as a way to make my husband laugh when one or both of us are in a funk (my latest gem/atrocity: Ruff Draft: A Memoir by Mark Ruffalo). But the more I did it, the “better” (subjective) I got at it, and now I am cursed with thinking up celebrity podcast names at all hours of the day. Still, I do believe that this is essentially like doing little comedy crunches, strengthening your “naming stuff” muscles in the process.
At best, you will come up with a sparkling detail to tuck into something you’re writing, or it may inspire a bigger idea of its own. At worst, it might make whoever you share an electricity bill with say, “Weren’t you supposed to leave for the dentist 20 minutes ago?”
Danielle Kraese is a humor writer, editor, and freelance dog petter. She's the author of Deep-sea Creeps: A field guide to terrible ex-boyfriends (as sea creatures), coming January 16, and the coauthor of Jokes to Offend Men, out now. Find her on Substackand Instagram @daniellekayyyy.
Keeping up or catching up with the challenge? If you are just discovering it or got behind you can always come up with more than one line today. And as always, you can head over to the chat to check-in.
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