Monday, 15 December 2014

It's A Cracker!

I wish I were a Christmas Cracker joke writer, for they must be paid thousands in royalties - after all, it seems to be the same old jokes trotted out each year. Saturday was my writers’ circle’s Christmas lunch and there wasn’t one Christmas cracker joke I hadn’t heard before.

It reminded me that that’s what readers feel when a writer uses a cliché. There’s disappointment because the reader has read it before. Then again, it could be argued that there’s comfort in familiarity. As we chatter during our turkey and tinsel lunch, it seems publishers often want more of the same from their authors. In their eyes, readers know what to expect from Joanna Trollope when they pick up a Joanna Trollope novel, in the same way that Dan Brown readers know what to expect when they pick up a Dan Brown novel. 

It can be immensely challenging trying to be original and satisfyingly familiar. Yet this is where we should delve into our own emotions and experiences more. We’re all unique. Our interpretation and understanding of something is different from that of others. It’s our own outlook on matters that can help us find our originality. When you’re looking for an original way of saying something, draw upon your own experience and interpretation. What is it that makes you, you? That’s the way of making our work original.

Which response would you like your reader to make: one of surprise and delight, or one of groaning with despair? (How do you respond when you hear a Christmas cracker joke?) 

So next time you sit down and write something, ask yourself: is it original? Is it a cracker, or is it a Christmas cracker joke?

Good luck.

Question: What time do ducks get up?

Answer: At the quack of dawn.


  1. On a blind date, what did the author say to the librarian?

    I'm always left on the shelf.


  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. If you haven't had enough bad jokes from crackers, try the ones on Penguin biscuits. I love 'em. The biscuits and the jokes.

  4. 'Is it a cracker or is it a Christmas Cracker Joke?' is now written in bold letters on my whiteboard above my desk. Have a great Christmas, Simon. All the best.

    1. Brilliant! I hope you have a great Christmas, Nicola.

  5. I can never remember jokes. Such a shame cos actually I did get an original one from a cracker that made me laugh out loud this year. But it got lost and of course I can't remember it. Heyho!
    IS IT A CRACKER OR IS IT A CHRISTMAS CRACKER JOKE is really good. Thanks :0)

    1. I hope you have a memorable christmas, Sue, if you can't remember the cracker jokes!