10 Funny Ways to Kill a (Fictional) Character

poxwomcxcs254x0I’m finally back to blogging after turning in three writing projects all with the same due date. It was a killer schedule. At times, I wished I were a character in my own story so I could fake my death and escape to a secluded tropical island. But, alas,—I was stuck in the real world of work and deadlines.

Let’s have fun this week brainstorming humorous ways to kill a fictional character. Here are 10 to get us started.

  1. Star football player is murdered by an imposter wearing his team’s mascot costume
  2. Small-town mayor dies when a clown on a motorcycle runs over him during  the town’s Founder’s Day parade
  3. Futuristic character is approached by a robot shooting paper airplanes–but one of the airplanes is loaded!
  4. Farmer gets locked in the hen house and is pecked to death by rabid chickens
  5. Drunk passes out in a big pile of leaves curbside and is scooped into a garbage truck
  6. Candymaker, working overtime and alone, drowns in a vat of chocolate
  7. Contestant dies after consuming 10 pounds of baked beans in an eating contest
  8. Grammarian is crushed when a shelf of dictionaries falls on him
  9. Fisherman on a river bank is killed when an eagle carrying a tortoise drops the tortoise on the fisherman’s head. (Don’t laugh, this really happened to Aeschylus, the great Athenian author of tragedies.)
  10. A large molasses storage tank bursts, and a wave of molasses rushes through the streets killing anyone in its path. (This actually happened in Boston in 1919.)

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If you are stuck looking for a unique way to kill off a character, Wikipedia offers a list of “real” unusual/ ironic deaths that occurred from 620 BC to the present. Also, check out Springhole.net’s “Cause of Death” generator, “Murder Mystery Victim” generator, and more.

It’s not easy coming up with unique/funny ideas to kill a character. Can you think of at least three? Add your ideas in the comments. (Please keep it clean and not too gory.)

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How NOT to Dread Deadlines

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Why are deadlines important? Because publishing is a schedule based business. When a book receives a publication date, everything moves toward the date when that book goes to the printer. If the book isn’t ready, printing presses stand idle, and time is money.

Many authors feel enslaved by deadlines. But what if how they think about them could change that? On his leadership web page, author and motivational speaker, Stan Toler, offers five positive ways to perceive deadlines. He says:

Deadlines are friends. You created them to assist you. Treat them with respect and they will be loyal to you. Ignore them and they may haunt you. They are not there to harass you; they are there to help you. Like a friend, you check on them, give them space, and remember their birthdates and anniversaries.

Deadlines are property lines. They are the imaginary spaces where your ideas and ideals live. As property lines, they need to be detailed, recorded, and guarded from intruders—such as time-wasters or attention-grabbers.

Deadlines are destination points. Like entering a travel location on your GPS, you create a deadline so you can journey toward it. There may be “points of interest” along the way, but their destination is your end goal.

Deadlines are managers. You gave them permission to keep you on the straight and narrow. In return, they give you friendly reminders of neglect, lack of focus, or impulsive behavior. You don’t need to fear them. They are not immovable. And if they are not flexible, they may need to be replaced.

Deadlines are volunteer staff. You appointed them, not vice versa. They are the stagehands, but you run the show. They embody your vision. You are only bound to them by loyalty. They have no overruling authority.”

Incorporate Toler’s suggestions when you write and revise. Remember–you control deadlines; they don’t control you. Meeting, even exceeding, them is a sure way to forge a great relationship with your publisher.

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Filed under Deadlines, The Business of Writing, Tools for Writers, Uncategorized, working with editors, Writer's responsibility

Freelancing. Is It Right for You?

1320170763_freelancer_life_by_asuka111Two decades ago, the publishing company I worked for relocated. I was out of a job, and I decided then to freelance. The decision wasn’t easy. I faced a sluggish economy. If freelance statistics were correct, I was setting myself up to fail. Still, I decided to try. Here I am, twenty years later, still freelancing! It hasn’t always been easy, but it has been worth it.

If you are thinking about freelancing, here are some pros and cons.

pros

PROS . . .

You are the boss (most of the time). You own your business; you are responsible for every aspect. Still, you need to remember that yours is a service business. In that way you work for your clients.

You can pursue your passion. If writing is your thing, you can write. Maybe you love editing or consulting. Freelancing allows you to pursue what you love.

You control when you work. No more 9-to-5 job. You choose when you work; however, this comes with a hitch—you need to be self-disciplined and manage yourself to make the most of your work time.

You control where you work. All you need is a laptop and you can take your office anywhere. Using Skype or Facetime, you can even meet with faraway clients in your home, a coffee house, or wherever.

You get to choose. Maybe you want to specialize in an area that suits you, or maybe you want a lot of variety. You get to choose the kinds of projects you work on.

 

cons

CONS . . .

You wear many hats. Freelancing means that you do all the creative work as well as sales and marketing, invoicing, signing contracts, troubleshooting technology, keeping track of tax deductible business expenses, making estimated tax payments, and so on.

Your salary is unpredictable. You can’t control when projects come or how much you might earn in any given month. Often, you can’t control when you get paid. Some clients pay 50% when the contract is signed and 50% on the project’s completion. Others pay 100% on completion. Most pay within 30 days and others 60 or even 90 days.

Your schedule is unpredictable. You never know when a client will contact you with a project. All projects have deadlines. You need to decide how much work you can take on and still meet those deadlines. Sometimes, your calendar will be wide open. Other times, you will be juggling several projects at once and even have to turn projects down.

You worry about job security. There will be times when work is slow. Maybe you lost a big client. The publishing industry might be in a slump. There are many reasons to be concerned when you have no work for weeks or even months. It’s important to expect and to plan ahead for those times.

You feel isolated. Freelancing comes with independence and that can lead to isolation. You are the boss, but you have no employees. Your partners are your clients, but your relationship with them exists only in emails and occasional phone calls. Unless you make a real effort to take your office to other venues, you will be working at home all the time.

Weigh the pros and cons. Then ask yourself, “Is this for me?” If your answer is, “Yes,” then get going. Dive in. See where the journey takes you.

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and inspiration for writers.

august2016wordpress
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Filed under Freelance writing, The Business of Writing, Uncategorized