Helaine Becker: My Magic Word Grid
In honour of the December 25 broadcast of "How the Grinch Stole Christmas!" with WireTap's Jonathan Goldstein, we're devoting ourselves to Canadian children's authors and other Seussian surprises here at Canada Writes.
Here, the author of the Canadian children's holiday bestseller A Porcupine in a Pine Tree on a word bingo that can have you hitting the writerly jackpot.
I like to write humour, and coming up with funny ideas can be tough. One technique that helps me come up with lots of ideas fast is a Word Grid (described in detail in my book Funny Business, from Owlkids). In one grid column I put nouns—the wackier the better. The next column gets verbs—nice juicy ones. And the last column is for places. Then I mix and match one from column a, one from column b, and one from column c—or any random mixture of words and phrases from any column to get absurd juxtapositions. I might wind up with 'A helicopter doing the hula in a bellybutton' or 'The insane coyote drowning in a black hole toilet.' If any of the combos makes me laugh, I know I have a good subject to massage into a nutty joke or a silly story that kids will laugh at too."
Helaine Becker is the award-winning author of more than 50 children’s and YA books, including the #1 National Bestseller, A Porcupine in a Pine Tree. She is also a three-time winner of the Silver Birch Award: for Boredom Blasters, Secret Agent Y.O.U. and What's the Big Idea? The Insecto-Files won the Lane Anderson Award for Science Writing for Children.