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Can you make a story out of a joke?

Wheezer

I wrote a short joke about psychotherapy and posted it on my SOL blog yesterday. I've been asked if it is going to be a story. Has anyone ever turned a one paragraph joke, or anything similar, into a story? Do you think I have anything to work with there?

graybyrd

It only takes the slightest spark to ignite something big. It depends on how much fuel there is in the tank...

Replies:   Bondi Beach
Bondi Beach
Updated:

@graybyrd


It only takes the slightest spark to ignite something big. It depends on how much fuel there is in the tank...


Amen. A quick comment by my younger daughter on the way to the airport early one morning turned into Cheerleaders in Paradise.

An aside by my wife about a photograph turned into Chloe. A snatch of song from a high school girl on the sidewalk turned into a character in Goddess.

EDIT to add: A vignette submitted in a Web contest by a woman's lingerie store was not accepted for publication, but turned into Swimming with Kate.

I'll leave it to others to judge how much fuel there was in the tank, but the spark that ignites is dead on.

bb

docholladay

@Wheezer

You can never tell where the inspiration will come from.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

If people are asking for a full story, then they clearly think your one paragraph joke has legs. It might take some work to flesh out a fully working plot, it might be worth investigating. But fans interest, and what you want to do with the story are two different things. Typically, each of my stories has something very specific to say (aka. it's "theme"). Without that, it's just a bunch of words and not terribly interesting to me. I've had multiple requests over the years to continue telling a story after I kill off the main characters, but for me, that's the end of the story. If I can figure out a new story (with a new theme) then I'll continue it, but it's got to stand on it's own, and not just be more of the same. Thus the final decision always lies with the artist, after all, it's his creation. If the readers could write their own stories, they'd be authors too (anyone care to try?). :-D

Replies:   Ross at Play
Switch Blayde

@Wheezer

Yes, of course. I wrote a short story based on a song and now I'm converting it to a full length novel.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer


it might be worth investigating


There's material aplenty there, but the problem with turning THIS spark into a full story may be the personal cost of investigating it.

Do you really want to go into therapy just to find out what wackos some psychotherapists are? :-)

Replies:   Wheezer
tppm

Google "Ferdenand Feghoot"

Replies:   Wheezer
Wheezer

@Ross at Play

Do you really want to go into therapy just to find out what wackos some psychotherapists are? :-)


One of my good friends was married to a woman with a PhD in Psychology. I know what a wack-a-doodle she was!

Replies:   Ross at Play
Wheezer

@tppm

Google "Ferdenand Feghoot"

:D

Ross at Play

@Wheezer

I had (on government expense) a female psychologist and male psychiatrist.
The psychologist managed to commit suicide in the back of a police wagon when her affair the psychiatrist busted up badly.
The psychiatrist was disbarred for having an affair with a different female patient of his.
... But it does not necessarily mean some of these wackos are not very helpful to others. Many are attracted to the field BECAUSE their wackos, but it's only themselves they cannot help (or very often, they are using helping others to avoid looking at themselves).

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
docholladay

I always thought ideas have two faces.

If kept to myself without mentioning them, they are mine to control until and unless someone else has the same idea.

Once an idea is shared regardless of the method, it becomes common property with everyone having the right to use it.

So for lack of a better idea. Just file those suggestions if they sound good. Who knows what idea might help in the development of a story or character.

Although I think personally an idea is worthless until its shared. Its like that expression: the only bad question is the one unasked.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
richardshagrin

A story about physio the rapists would fit here at least as well as a story about psychiatrists.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

But it does not necessarily mean some of these wackos are not very helpful to others. Many are attracted to the field BECAUSE their wackos, but it's only themselves they cannot help (or very often, they are using helping others to avoid looking at themselves).

If I may, it's not only that. Often, to truly understand a mental illness, you've got to be familiar with mental illnesses, and all the permutations. An outside observer is more likely to say "That's not related to the condition, it's a minor side issue", when they're all aspects of the same condition. Thus the wackoos might be better qualified. The caveat, is you've got to select a shrink who suffers from the same condition as you, even though they're not allow to declare they suffer from it. It's the perfect catch-22.

On the other hand, that's the entire history of psychiatry. The field was invented by Freud, who rejected his own hypothesis (about mental illnesses being the result of sexual assaults), after he discovered his own family was being victimized by his own father. Which is the reason why the field languished for so long, because it was built on a false premise, with everyone afraid to questions its roots.

Basically, it's best to get advice from people who have successfully waged their own battles, but you really can't trust anyone who won't admit to their own failings, while any field will freeze out anyone who admits to basic human frailties. AAAARRRGH!!! That's when getting coping advice from others in forums like this is more helpful than going to a profession dedicated to helping you.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@docholladay

Although I think personally an idea is worthless until its shared. Its like that expression: the only bad question is the one unasked.

I'd modify it slightly: the only useless story is the one untold. It's still intriguing, but until told, it's not really a story, just an undefined idea.

Crumbly Writer

@richardshagrin

A story about physio the rapists would fit here at least as well as a story about psychiatrists.

"Physio rapists"? Are those the guys in stretch pants who rape you to the beat of a dance/exercise routine?

Replies:   richardshagrin
Ross at Play

@Crumbly Writer

select a shrink who suffers from the same condition as you

I agree with most of your points about difficulties in finding someone who is helpful FOR YOU.
I would only add one caveat - not the "same condition", but something close. If their condition is too close, then they are likely to have some of the same 'blind spots' you have.
I was stuck in an utterly futile system for years. Long story, but the pseudo insurance company the government used was forbidden by its law to offer a one-off settlement in both parties interests.
THE BEST psychologist I ever worked said this when we started. "I will work with you for one year, and if there have not been substantial changes, I will arrange for you to see someone else."
In many cases, part of the patient wants to change, but the resistant part wins out. The devil they know seems less scary than the unknown. Occasionally, the therapist is not right for the patient.
My advice to others is try to find someone who will not persist if the results aren't coming.

richardshagrin

@Crumbly Writer

Physiotherapists. Spaces may make a difference in the meaning.

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