Watch Me: How a Meme Can Help You Write Better Fiction and Copy

How’s your week been so far? Awesome, I hope. I’d like to talk about something a little bit offbeat, and I’ll tie it in as we go along. For those of you who don’t know, I’m a gamer. (And for those of you who do know, well, you already know, don’t you?) You could also take a look here.

Let’s get to it for today. It all started with my brother (as a lot of hilarious things in my life do). He tagged me on Facebook so I’d look at a meme on a gaming fan page.

If you’d like to look at it too, go ahead–it’s over this way (credit to Runescape Memes).

To those of you who know what this is, this is an interesting version of “show don’t tell.” Or like what happens when you explain a joke to someone.

Why? Well, if you know about the game that’s in the meme and you know what the two objects (that aren’t the words) actually are, you can put them together. And then you can laugh, groan, or what-have-ya at the implication. But the impact is that much greater because nobody had to tell you anything–you came to the conclusion on your own, inside your own head.

Things get less and less funny (and therefore less and less “insider” and impactful because less and less is implied as more and more is revealed) as we go on.

If I were to tell you that the coiled thing is an (abyssal) whip, and the other brown blob is a toy horse (both in-game objects), that would give you more of a hint, for sure. You might be able to put it together now, but you may not be as amused because you didn’t get it right away.

Now, if I were to ask you what sound a horse makes, more of the layers would be revealed and there would be less to discover. You could still get the joke, and maybe you’d be a bit miffed you didn’t get something so “simple” right away (I’ll fess up, this did take me awhile too).

And if I were to mention the artist Silento, almost all the magic of the rebus/meme would be gone. Because you didn’t share in the inside info, you might be less inclined to care (and even less if you don’t like the artist/song/lyrics).

Sometimes it’s easier to do inside jokes with pop culture, songs, or what-have-ya. But it’s a little bit harder if you’re doing your own stuff. (Just like Charlie Russell). Every character and situation you create will have a catalyst to it, something that drives it. And if you only show the result and not what’s behind it (I don’t mean slam-bang conclusions out of nowhere), it can be more of everything. Something like:

“I’m really angry,” Richard said.

Richard stomped into the office, swept the papers off the desk, and slammed the door.

See? More punch (not to mention using “really” in the first one, which is almost never needed anywhere).

It’s like a secret game writers play with readers–dropping them hints along the way about different things…like me dropping movie or book quotes or making offbeat references (which those of you who’ve met me in person know that I like to do).

That’s how writers make connections with their readers, and keep them reading–it’s like a secret club within the club.

If you’re not a part of one, it’s something you can create just by being yourself and seeing what pops out when you’re experiencing emotions–happy, sad, or what-have-ya.

And if you’re a copywriter, you’ll keep watch over those emotions and use them in your writing.

Because everybody wants to be part of a club…especially ones with double meanings everywhere.

Until next time,



About Ty Mall

Thanks for stopping by. I've almost always been interested in writing, among other things. Along with discovering pop culture, I've uncovered a lot about the craft over the past 10 years. And whether you're a fiction writer or email copywriter, I'm here to pass on what I've found out. And have a ton of fun in the process.
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