Want to see my puppetry homework?

This is a good writing exercise, so I’m going to recommend it to you. Heartily.

  1. Buy a magazine that you wouldn’t normally buy. Not something that you’ll hate but something that represents a different worldview from your own. Like Chickens, or OFFGRID, or Girls and Corpses.
  2. Read it cover to cover, including all the ads, the letters to the editor, and staff bios.
  3. Write a 150 word monologue that someone who subscribes to this magazine might deliver.

Here’s mine, with a puppet.

And if you want to read the transcript, here you go.

Thank you, West Calabasas Garden Club for inviting me to speak about preparing your garden for TEOTWAWKI. The end of the world as we know it. As a first line of defense, I recommend old fashioned English roses. These have tight interlocking brambles that will snare and shred any…um…two-legged predators. Paired with blackberries, they make a positively deadly barrier, loaded with vitamin C.

But what happens if the um Fit Hits the Shan and roving bandits do get through? Preparedness. Locate your tool shed on a rise or in a tree. Now. Elevation means good lines of sight, and better sunlight for seedlings.

As for tools themselves, I favor a pick mattock over a shovel, because the double head offers both chopping and stabbing. I’m also fond of the Ruger 10/22 Takedown semi-automatic rifle which, if called into action, can be fired with one hand. Plus, the bayonet attachment easily converts to hold a sharpened trowel.

Never garden without it.


My initial draft was 250 words, and then I cut it down to 150 to really focus it and get rid of the fluff.

(Thanks to Greg Ballora, for the use of the practice puppet.)

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4 thoughts on “Want to see my puppetry homework?”

  1. Fantastic puppetry AND practical advice, what’s not to love?

    I’ve long used a variant of this practice (not gardening with semi-automatic weapons, the writing one). Most of my characters come from trying to write a monologue from the POV of somebody who has done things that irritate the heck out of me. It’s very salutary to figure out what might lead a reasonable person to think *that* was a good idea …

    I really like the idea of using the magazine, though. Especially including the ads and generally steeping yourself in the worldview. I will try it!

  2. Trying to figure out if it was a guns/survivalist magazine or a gardening magazine. 😉

    Also, when the fit does hit, I want that puppet on my side.

  3. Nicely done.

    But what motivates me to comment: I totally wouldn’t have recognized that as your voice. I’ve heard you do a handful of different character voices, but this one is completely new to me! (Not the accent or idiom, but the vocalization itself.)

  4. Well, THAT’ll teach me to watch a Twitter-promoted vid with my first morning coffee: *yawn*-WTF?-SPLORFLE!!! 🙂 Funniest thing I’ve seen in ages. Has Seanan McGuire seen it yet?

    And I’m with Sally on both points: I want your Ruger-toting little buddy on MY side during any zombie apocalypse, and WHAT was the magazine?

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