I’m creating a new humor site called Doctors Etcetera. It officially goes live on Tuesday, March 26. But content is being leaked on there as we speak. This is the fourth part of a four-part series on SXSW. For your reading pleasure.
Can you guess correctly which of the following is the name of an industrial band and which is just a computer CAPTCHA? Good luck!
b) Nitzer Ebb
d) Die Krupps
f) The KLF
g) Test Dept
k) Front 242
l) Revolting Cocks
Industrial band: a, b, d, f, g, i, k, l
CAPTCHA: c, e, h, j
So, you want to write a whodunit novel? Join the club. The fact is, one out of every three people wants to write a whodunit. In other words, if you’re having a ménage à trois right now, one of you lucky bastards wants to write a whodunit. That’s just science.
Use the tips below to help guide you through the exciting process of writing your next whodunit. Who knows, you just might end up being the next Agatha Christie or even Angela Lansbury.
The key to writing a successful whodunit mystery is to first figure out what that person has dun, or “done.” Many whodunits are about a person who has done murder, but I think this plot has pretty much run its course. Try something different. Maybe instead of murder, the person is guilty of leaving the milk out all night, or not properly stacking the dishwasher, or sleeping with his wife’s mother while on ecstasy. That last one is really good because it’s like, Not my fault, I was on ecstasy!
The next important part of writing a whodunit is figuring out the setting. Where will this mystery novel take place? In the Himalayas? On a boat? What about in Heaven? That would be pretty cool because nobody has ever written about a whodunit that took place in Heaven. Then again, there’s no such thing as Heaven, so why bother?
Develop Strong Characters
A good cast of characters is key to a great whodunit. Strong, distinctive personalities are a must. I always use my family as a guide for developing memorable characters. A good for-instance is my Uncle Wally, who’s currently serving time for first-degree murder.
If I could just give you one piece of advice, it would be this: while writing the novel, you, too, shouldn’t know who committed the crime until the end. This will ensure that you’re not giving too much away early in the book. It’s also a great way to surprise yourself, and everybody likes surprises. Except my Uncle Sean, that is, because there are no good surprises in maximum-security prison.
Develop A Strong Protagonist
A good detective to lead us through the story is another core component of your whodunit. I’ve found that the most interesting detectives have some deep, dark secret or a burdonsome flaw that they have to battle internally as they try to discover who committed the crime. For example, in my last novel, the detective’s burdensome flaw was that he was really, really hairy. He had it on his back, shoulders, everywhere, and all this hair seriously weighed down on his self-esteem. Sure, he could shave it off, but it would just grow back. Another problem he had was genital herpes.
Do not, I repeat, do not wait until the very last chapter to introduce us to the person who had dun it. The character should be part of the story throughout the novel. There’s nothing worse than hiding the offender until the very end because it’s like, how were we ever supposed to guess who had committed the crime? I made this mistake once, but I don’t get too hard on myself about it because I was on ecstasy while sleeping with my wife’s mother at the time. I guess what I’m trying to say is, you can kind of get away with this if you have a good excuse, but it better be really good and the ecstasy better be primo shit.
Your Exwife And A Truck
This One Guy Who Has A Truck
Two Men And A Truck And No Brakes!
One Man And A 2002 Ford Taurus
Two Mohels And A Brit Milah
Too Many Men And A Truck
You And A Truck
Fact: numerology plays an integral part in our lives and helps us make sense of the world around us. Indeed, it informs and enriches us. Truth be told, I don’t know where I’d be right now without this elegant and beautiful field of study. Probably in the porn industry.
Now, let’s take a closer look at this fascinating topic.
The number seven is considered by many to be a lucky number, but it’s actually not very lucky at all. For starters, have you ever seen the movie Seven? Not the one with Brad Pitt, but the one I wrote and then shot with my iPhone4? It’s about a very unlucky guy (me) trying to win the affection of a beautiful woman (Janet) but faces a major obstacle (my wife). Suddenly the number seven doesn’t seem so lucky anymore, does it?
If I had to pick a lucky number, it would probably be zero. Why? Because zero means nothing, and I’ve found that it’s usually better when nothing happens to me. When something does happen to me, I can count on a million things going wrong, which is why one million is not a good number. The only time one million is good is when you feel like a million bucks. But let’s face it, when you consider inflation, one-million dollars is not a lot of money.
Three’s company, four’s a crowd, and five means you’re white trash. Six is a rave, and seven is a good time, but eight is a mess hall. Nine’s a prison fight.
Perhaps you’re thinking 100 is a nice number. Not too big, not too small, round and even. Well, you’re wrong. 100 might just be the worst number in the world. Think about it.
Of course, some numbers mean different things to different people. Twenty-three might mean a toga-wearing scavenger hunt with Meryl Streep to me, but to you it might mean a toga-wearing scavenger hunt with Meryl Streep. Actually, never mind, every number means the same thing for everyone.Six is a cool number, and so is 66. However, when you add a third six, it’s downright evil because now you’re just getting greedy and trying to hog up all the sixes. Here, you want 30,000 more sixes, too, you selfish asshole?
2,001 is a good number because that’s also the year my dentist told me I had no cavities. But 2,002 is a bad number because that’s the year I got kidney stones. You’re probably wondering why my personal life factors into numerology as a universal whole, and to that I can only say, “Who are you, my psychiatrist?”
Perhaps the sexiest number is 8 because, horizontally, it looks like a pair of boobies. You’re probably thinking, ‘Come on, get serious,’ and my response to that is, I am coming on and I am serious. Go ahead and look at this ‘8’ horizontally right now and tell me it doesn’t look like boobies. What’s the matter: cat got your tongue?
A lot of you are probably wondering what the number one represents in numerology, and to this I can only say I hope you’ve been saying a prayer every time you see the number. If you haven’t, try to estimate how often you’ve seen the number one and then look at the number negative-one the same number of times. Pro tip: just in case your estimate was wrong, head to your backyard now and start digging your grave.
To sum up, numerology is perhaps one of the most important –ologies out there. Without numerology, how would we know which cereal to eat each morning? Or who to vote for? Or whether or not we should keep the baby? So as you can see, numbers are indeed powerful things.
Perhaps too powerful.
This is the number 12: the Commodore 64 of numbers.
Have you ever thought about joining a gym?
Does this look infected?
How are you feeling?*
Do you believe in God?**
Now do you feel you’re qualified for this job?***
Who would you be, if you could be any character in the film Requiem for a Dream?****
*When followed by the question, “Now how do I feel?”
**When followed by the question, “How about now?” at which point the employer points a loaded firearm at the head of interviewee.
***When preceded by the command, “Take off your fucking pants.”
****When followed by the statement, “Now let’s act that shit out.”
Dear Valued Guest,
Hello, and welcome to Balmy Beach Resort. I’d like to offer you my sincerest gratitude that you chose us for your tropical getaway. During your stay, you’ll not only have unparalleled service, but also gourmet cuisine, incomparable amenities, a fertilized egg, and stunning island tours that will simply take your breath away.
You heard me right: incomparable amenities.
Yes, I know a lot of other resorts promise the same thing. But here, you truly can expect more. Like complimentary breakfast, free laundry service, beachfront suites, and an Ayurveda-inspired spa. Also, a zygote.
As we like to say here at Balmy Beach Resort, there’s simply no better place to relax, play, dine, and conceive. Period.
Why do we offer such extraordinary accommodations? When my grandfather founded the resort in 1952, he believed every guest should be treated like family. My father continued that tradition when he took over. Now I’m here to carry the metaphorical torch, just as you’re here carrying an actual embryo that, in roughly nine months, will exit your womb in the form of a living, breathing human being. All this, despite the fact that you weren’t with child prior to checking into our resort. I’d say, according to my watch, the conception process is probably in the capacitation stage, during which your affable egg is preparing to embrace the handsome spermatozoon as if in a sort of homecoming.
Maybe you’re thinking, ‘But, wait: I didn’t want to get pregnant.’ My response is two-fold, Valued Guest:
1) When Giovanni— the strapping, young groundskeeper who took you to his charming on-property villa last night—tells you he he’s had a vasectomy, don’t believe him
2) I probably should’ve slipped this letter under your door before your first night’s stay.
I’d chalk that up as a lesson learned on both our parts.
You might also be thinking, ‘Maybe he didn’t get me pregnant.’ And that is a nice thought. But consider this: it’s estimated that during ejaculation, 300,000,000 sperma are released, from which only 200 will reach your precious oviduct. But we know for a fact that Giovanni typically releases a very generous 400,000,000 sperma. You can probably carry the logic from here.
If that doesn’t convince you, perhaps the pregnancy stick under your pillow will.
Again, thank you for staying with us. And don’t forget to visit our gift shop to take home a souvenir (other than all the makings of a future son or daughter; twins?).
I think it’s needless to say your stay here will be unforgettable.
President, Balmy Beach Resort
The book isn’t out yet, but the early reviews of Huckster are pouring in:
This book will revolutionize the advertising industry. I’m willing to stake my reputation on it.
This is the definitive work on advertising that everyone should read?
- Tim Winesbury, AdMarket Guide
This is the kind of book you can read anywhere. For instance, I read it naked in the shower, curled into a fetal position.
- A reader of Huckster
It’s as simple as this: Read the book. Then regret reading the book. Then lose sleep over why you kept turning the pages even knowing you didn’t really want to, and then start questioning your judgment—how can you trust yourself to make the right decisions anymore? (For example, did you even marry the right person?) Then question the existence of God. Then burn the book, hoping the memory of what you read will also wither into ashes and be blown away into oblivion by a desert wind. Then thank that non-existent God of yours that at least you’re not friends with the author.
- A friend of Gene Albamonte
Sung to the tune of “The Gambler,” by The Kenny Rogers
You’ve got to know when to hold ‘em
Know when to fold ‘em
Know when to walk away
Know when to run
You never count your money
When you’re sittin’ at the table
There’ll be time enough for countin’
When the dealin’s done.
(WHISPERED): Baldwin Fairchild.
This is the cover of one of many “Mad” magazines I created when I was roughly eight or nine years old. Or somewhere around that age. Can’t quite remember.
Here is the Table of Contents of said issue:
Here’s one of the articles. As you can see, I was clearly aiming for high-brow humor:
More high-brow humor (or HBH, as I like to call it). Note the infamous ‘Crotch Leaf’:
Sorry, but the leaf on the bottom got cut off. But your instincts are correct—the name of the leaf is “The Crotch Letting Poop Out Leaf”:
I’ll post more articles in due time. Best to let these set in first, though.