Little and Laugh
By Geoff Le Pard
My father was a man of many aphorisms, epithets, old saws and clichés. A know-all, really.
But one quote he shared with us that not only stuck but resonated was from an American poet, Ella Wheeler Wilcox
Laugh and the world laughs with you
Weep and you weep alone.
Laughter, in all its forms has taken centre stage in nearly every phase of my life, from irony to farce, pratfalls to priceless, life-enhancing fits of giggles. Whether it was as a defensive mechanism or merely because I enjoyed it, I don’t now remember but I’ve always wanted to make people laugh. Over the years I’ve tailored my delivery, become sensitive to my audience and played everything and anything for a laugh. I’m one of those people who you can always trust with a secret…unless it’s genuinely too funny not to be shared. In so doing I exaggerate, elaborate and elongate – no story can’t be improved with a new punchline, another character or an additional crazy side-tracking. Don’t let the truth get in the way of a good guffaw. I never have.
Writing for laughs, is, we are told, difficult. It requires precision, a well-oiled clockwork making the pieces slip together at just the right pace, in just the right places. That may be true of a novel (buy mine and find out!) but in a flash piece, in a limited word count, a simple phrase or a silly piece of alliteration can do what might take pages to set up in a book.
Don’t fight it; it is one of the most fundamental of human urges, this need to, and to make others, laugh.
Little and Laugh is your chance to raise a grin, trigger a giggle, release a chuckle, generate a guffaw, give life to a groan. Tell us a story – it can be true, it might be a BOTS (based on a true story) or it might be complete fiction – and see if what makes you smile, what releases your funny does that for the judges. After all being funny is no laughing matter.
You have 299 words, give or take 9 (ok, that means you’ll still be in the competition if you come in above 289 and below 309) to make us chortle. You need a title and, best of all, the title doesn’t count. Though a title that is similar to ‘This is a story of a Knight Errant and his lonely Pooch, Puddle who undertook a quest to better themselves when the world was young and Nutmeg still known as Crazy Megan…’ is not to be encouraged.
Using the form below, add your name or penname or a recognisable root vegetable and contact details to your story. (Note: These will be removed before judging so judging is blind and the root vegetable will be a small compensation for the blinding of the judges).
Copy and past your stories into the form.
The winner will be announced on Tuesday, November 14.
Contest now closed.
Judges will rate the stories according to
- Story length (289-309 words)
- Does it make us laugh
- Um, well that’s about it.
- I suppose we should add that Spelling and Grammar and Punctuation and all that goodstuff will be taken into account but, really? Nah, don’t care. Just make us laugh.
I am very much looking forward to your stories. I do hope you join in. Surprise me. Tickle me. Turn me into a gibbering fatsoid of mirth.
CHALLENGE OPTION: If you don’t feel up to entering a contest, please feel free to respond to this in the comments as a prompt challenge. Weekly Flash Fiction Challenges resume November 2.
About Carrot Ranch
Carrot Ranch is a literary community committed to providing all writers access to literary art regardless of backgrounds, genres, goals and locations. Common ground is found through the writing, reading and discussion of flash fiction. The weekly online flash fiction challenges promote community through process, craft and exploration, and regular participants form a literary group called The Congress of Rough Writers. Their first anthology, Vol. 1 publishes in 2017. Carrot Ranch offers an adult-learning program called Wrangling Words, available to all communities where Rough Writers reside.