Adapted from something I wrote in Yale’s “Daily Themes” class. (Great class, by the way!)
Write twelve possible first lines to twelve different stories (fictional, non-fictional, or some combination of both). For a real challenge, let those lines start to feel like they hold together by juxtaposition. See the work of David Markson for a model.
These aren’t good sentences, but I wrote them hoping they could become first lines for first drafts of good stories.
I haven’t written those stories yet, but if you’d like me to write one, let me know and I will do that, just for you.*
- Our god is cruel and jealous, and we wish we had a better one.
- Today my Anti-Procrastination Friend saw me on Facebook and…
- We know that our island is an experiment, run by someone we don’t understand.
- The main character of this story was hit by a car just after you finished this sentence.
- “This has been my favorite funeral of the year.”
- Gambling is for suckers, he thought, and pushed the button again.
- There he was, waving his sign like a madman and shouting the true heights of various mountains.
- This is my history of the world, factual and proportionate, slave to neither narrative nor…
- We abandoned the Earth in our ships, but we left the Amish behind.
- You might think that even a very intelligent cloud could never kill a person, but…
- According to the actuary table, one of us was dead by now.
- They were looking for souls all along!
- “This week, life was just one long fire alarm.”
- She’d learned to run on water, but that wouldn’t save her when she came back to shore.
- You do not fuck with Liz when she’s delivering a pizza.
*With the exception of #9, because the Amish deserve an entire novel. And #8, because it’s the friggin’ history of the world.
(To see all 60+ prompts from Daily Themes, click here.)
My first article for Buzzfeed. Also, Stage 1 in my campaign to turn Buzzfeed into Clickhole.
FDR stunned the world by hiding his lower-body paralysis from the people who elected him. After years of personal investigation, I now have ironclad proof that Barack Obama is pulling the same stunt. Don’t let him run for a third term!
This picture may be fake, but it gets the point across.
I recently applied for a writing position at The Onion. I went in expecting to be rejected, knowing that the website has some of the funniest living writers on staff. And I was, in fact, rejected!
I noticed while I was applying that I couldn’t easily find any other applications online. So I’m posting mine here, with minor edits for typos. If you’d like to work at The Onion, you’ll have to do better than this. (Also, you’ll have to spend more than four hours on your submission. When it comes to finding your dream job, don’t procrastinate.)
What a game, huh?
To celebrate one of the most thrilling sporting events in history, I’ve put together this list of unexpected facts about the Super Bowl. Hope you enjoy!
Some outtakes from the most recent issue of The Yale Record.
The League of Slightly Extraordinary Gentlemen
Chaos: Can generate perfectly random numbers using only his mind. Never needs to flip a coin to make a decision.
Firebrand: Can light a match on the first try, every time. Currently battling Stage 2 lung cancer after a lifetime of looking really cool while smoking.
Puberty Boy: Able to increase his body mass by seventy percent in only three years.
Welcome to the first article in the Badass Baby Names series! In an attempt to give your future child a more awesome life, I am writing about the most badass names I can find: The way they sound, the nicknames they offer, the famous people to whom they were given, and the lifestyle they might promote.
The first name in the series is “Salazar”. With a sinuous “S”, soft “L”, and commanding “Z”, Salazar hints at power wielded from the shadows — but with a good purpose in mind. Salazars overcome challenges by slithering around them, or turning them to personal advantage, rather than smashing them to bits with brute force.
Is “Salazar” the right name for your child? Read on…
“Two muffins are sitting in an oven…”
In the vein of The Aristocrats. This time, built around a joke that was popular with my fifth-grade classmates.
Here’s the story.
Warning: Contains profanity, and one instance of extreme pain.
If you know of any jokes you’d like to submit to this treatment, send them to aaron at gertler dot com. These are pretty good writing exercises!
I may be only 20 years old, but there are many things I wish I knew.
So, in honor of these endless lists:
1. Who wins Super Bowl XLIX?
Vegas is already accepting bets. I could use the money.
2. Which of the 715 books on my Amazon wish list are worth reading?
I just know I’m going to waste weeks threshing my way through all the chaff.
3. When will the next big earthquake hit Los Angeles?
Frankly, I’m shocked that this wasn’t on the other lists. If I knew this, I could save thousands of lives. Think big, people!
This sad baby will make you cry if you stare at him long enough without blinking.
I’m fond of thinking about stuff that must have happened, even if nobody ever saw it—probably for the same reasons as the good people of Cracked. Famous people and people in the past lived real human lives! They lived those lives for many years. And they all got their hair cut at some point, which is the inspiration for this short screenplay.
Here’s the story. I still need to work on my dialogue and character development before I make any short films, but for a conversation that happened in my head over the span of a single shower, it could be worse.
Partly inspired by B.J. Novak’s One More Thing, perhaps the best book of short stories ever written by a well-known television actor. Lots of celebrities in that book—though I guess B.J. knows them all personally.
I do not know Skrillex personally, but I’d love to meet him: He seems like a really nice guy.