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Mar 29 2012

No Pun Intended

Yesterday, I had someone tell me about the starter’s pistol they bought for an upcoming play, how it was expensive, but that it would make a good prop and a great sound effect when they set it off backstage.

Then they were somehow offended when I told them that having it fire on stage would “give you the most bang for your buck.”

I ask you, how can I not take a setup like that? Anyway, I’ve been thinking about puns lately.

I just started writing a new project, but I couldn’t decide whose perspective it should be written from, a character or a disembodied narrator, and that’s when I finally realized why The Brain Ingredient came out as a comedy, even though I didn’t intend it to be.

The story is very serious. People lose their lives. The world, as far as they know, is overrun with zombies. Survivors, if that term even fully applies, struggle to salvage whatever they can of who they used to be.

But because it’s me telling the story, as a disembodied narrator, I couldn’t help but notice the multiple meanings of “brainless,” and there was no reason not to use that word where more than one meaning might apply.

I figured that touch of humor would give readers a break from the darker sections of the book, but I kept going, filling the story with bits like that, until the book itself became more joke than fright, all of which the characters within the story are completely unaware of. To the characters, it’s just their lives, but actually, I think that kind of applies to all of us.

When you step back and look at it, life is mostly ridiculous, and “bang for your buck” setups are just hanging there, waiting to be knocked down — and death isn’t a punchline, except when it is.

So the people who read my book can be afraid with the characters while they’re laughing with me. And that’s the story of how I realized my book is actually the world’s longest and most serious pun.