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Repurposing a Joke.

  Jokes are often micro fiction—very short, short stories—but they share some characteristics with longer stories. Most folks label a story as good if it keeps its promises and meets expectations. They may label a story as great if it exceeds expectations, but when it subverts or twists or upends expectations it can be brilliant or terrible depending on who reads it and how. These subversions are the basis of a lot of humor. Humor often relies on surprise, particularly the upending of expectations. Two different people can tell the same joke, and for one teller, it falls flat while for the other it invokes laughter. That is a separate, story-telling issue. When the joke is written as micro fiction, as many jokes are, then whether it strikes someone as humorous depends on the reader as much as the writer. This is why explaining a joke often destroys the humor. Explanations eliminate surprise. Recently, I’ve posted a few repurposed old jokes on Facebook, rewritten as political humo
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Update

I've been writing longer stories recently--a novel ( The Prometheus Proposal ) and several novellas (17,500-40,000 words) and novelettes (7,500-17,500 words). There aren't many markets for fiction longer than a short story (1000-7,500 words) and shorter than a novel (40,000+ words). Although short novels are popular in some genres, most adult science fiction and fantasy novels are more than 100,000 words. Some epics are twice that length. Some of my publications are listed on my Amazon Author's page . All my publications including textbooks are listed on my Website RonaldDFerguson.com . So far the only novella I've published is  The Last Starship from 51 Pegassi D .  A list of my short fiction publications since I started writing short stories follows. Those with asterisks are novelettes: His Brother was an Only Child (Copyright 2011)( Daily Science Fiction Stories - June 2011 ) (Also at 2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology ) Wake Up and Smell the Moonflowe

Quick Follow Up

It's been a while since I last posted. I've been busy (with a couple of months off for pneumonia). I finished writing both Tunnel at the End of the Dark and Rogue Knight . Tunnel at the End of the Dark is a sequel to The Princess, the Knight, & the Knave . Both are available on Amazon. Simply click on the links. I hope to start the last of the trilogy soon. The tentative title is A Stark and Dormi Knight . Rogue Knight has been renamed to Marked by Thor, a Rogue Knight Adventure . Marked by Thor is the first novel in a planned Rogue Knight trilogy. It is available on Amazon. Again follow the link. My latest project for 2014/2015 was  The Prometheus Proposal . I've been through a couple of drafts, and I'm shopping it around right now. If I don't get any acceptable offers, I will publish it on Amazon, perhaps this summer. The tag line for The Prometheus Proposal is "We don't have the technology to take ourselves to the stars, and so instea

Fable for a Political Year

Once there lived a silly goose named, Grover. Grover Goose had not felt well for a while, perhaps a simple malaise rather than a serious illness, perhaps something chronic and more serious. So Grover convinced himself that he was terminal. He consulted with his friend Harry Horse. "I just don't feel well," Grover said. "I have no energy. Everything irritates me. I'm mad all the time. I've alienated most of my friends. You're the only one left who still talks to me." "You should get a check up." Harry flicked his ear and tilted his head. "Better yet, a complete physical. Perhaps even see a specialist." "Healthcare makes me too angry." "Calm down, Grover. Everything makes you too angry. Maybe healthcare just makes you afraid, and that makes you angry." "Okay." Grover gave Harry the eye. Was his old friend conspiring against him too? "Maybe. Do you know a good doctor?" "I have

Kindle Digital Publishing Select

I have six books enrolled in the Kindle Digital Publishing Select Program. For those that don't know, the KDP Select Program requires that the books be offered exclusively on Amazon over a 90 day, renewable period, and that the books be available for free loan to Kindle users who belong to the Amazon Prime program. For less than $80 a year a membership in the Amazon Prime program gets you three major benefits: Free two day shipping for Prime eligible items. Free instant streaming videos from the Prime library. Ability to borrow KDP select books. What does the author get in return for allowing his book to be borrowed for free on the KDP Select program? Well, if the book is borrowed, then the author shares in a pool of money allocated for that month for the book loans. Sometimes these loan fees are as good as the royalty on a sale, sometimes not. A second advantage is a method to promote the book. The promotion method provides you with 5 days during the 90 day period where

2013 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest

I was just notified (March 14, 2013) that my 7700 word short story " Intent to Occupy "  placed second in The 2013 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest administered by William Ledbetter. Mr. Ledbetter just posted the results on his Facebook page , so I assume the results are now official: The winners of the 2013 Jim Baen Memorial Writing Contest are: GRAND PRIZE "The Lamplighter Legacy" by Patrick O'Sullivan 2nd Place "Intent to Occupy" by Ronald D. Ferguson 3rd Place "Improvising at Branson Six" by Sean Monaghan The annual contest is sponsored by Baen Books and the National Space Society in memory of the founder of Baen Books , Jim Baen. The judges consisted of Baen Books editors Hank Davis, Jim Minz, Tony Daniel and best selling Baen author David Drake. I'm very honored to have such illustrious judges select my story. My first reaction to the email from Bill Ledbetter telling me that I won second place was "Well, I

Campbell Awards

The Campbell Award for a new writer has a wonderful aid this year. M. David Blake with the support of Bruce Bethke at Stupefying Stories has a compiled a FREE anthology of stories written by new authors eligible for the Campbell Awards. As editor of  Astounding Science Fiction   (renamed  Analog Science Fiction and Fact ) from 1937 until his death in 1971,  John W. Campbell, Jr.   helped shape the "Golden Age" of science fiction. His influence launched the careers of dozens of famous writers including Lester del Rey and A.E. van  Vogt. The  John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer  is presented annually at WorldCon to an outstanding author whose first professional work of science fiction or fantasy was published within the previous two years. In the words of M. David Blake: Now, for the first time in the award's 40-year history, the  2013 Campbellian Pre-Reading Anthology  provides a much-needed and long-overdue guide to the newly emerging talents eligible for t