Tips for Writers: Use an Irony Board

Irony Board

When creating a storyline, don’t just pull things out of the soiled ideas pile. Dig through it for something fresh. Inhale. Do they smell like something one of your characters would actually wear (think/do)? Good, but still not fresh enough.

Wash them using your “New! Improved!” Context. Let your, ahem, tide of ideas scrub away all that isn’t germane to the storyline you’re building. When they come out, they’ll be “like new!” But you’re not done yet. Now let them tumble dry in the back of your head while you take a much-needed thought-walk.

During your thought-walk ponder what’s in that dryer. Yes, it’s fresher, but it’s going to come out wrinkly (illogical, lacking clear motives and connections)! Dropping the laundry metaphor: Are you forcing your characters through a maze of plot points? Bad. How can they, by their choices, force themselves into and through that maze (storyline)?

One of the most valuable tools for accomplishing this is irony. Some examples:

  • How can character A’s very efforts to avoid danger ironically force him into a life and death situation?
  • How can character B’s dislike for character A ironically be the very thing that causes her to be his only ally?
  • How can character C’s total lack of leadership ability be the very thing that equips her to lead characters A and B out of the fix they’re in?

Now, pull your fresh-but-wrinkled plot points out of that thought-walk dryer, then get out your irony board (pad or computer)…

And press out those wrinkles!


About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in Humor, Story Power, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

28 Responses to Tips for Writers: Use an Irony Board

  1. Badfinger (Max) says:

    A useless bit of odd trivial knowledge… Gregg Allman wrote Whipping Post on an ironing board…well… he actually wrote it ON the ironing board with a crayon…so it works!

    Liked by 4 people

  2. Pam Webb says:

    You have created an *ahem* impressionable post.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Debi Walter says:

    This is perfect, and so thought provoking. Ironic, I’m doing laundry today too! How did you know?!
    I’m sharing this with my Writer’s Group – thanks, Mitch!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Grant at Tame Your Book! says:

    Love it! Thanks, Mitch.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. cigarman501 says:

    Great advice…unfortunately I rarely take great advice.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. I’m trying to iron out those plot wrinkles, but I’m refraining from starching them into submission.

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Great tips! Thank you for sharing them. Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Great advice, Mitch! God bless!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. frenchc1955 says:

    Mitch, thank you so much for a great and very useful post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. frenchc1955 says:

    Reblogged this on charles french words reading and writing and commented:
    Here is some very good writing advice from Mitch Teemley!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Daily Poetry says:

    Great tips. And just in time. I am starting a fantasy novel.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. robstroud says:

    If that’s a new weight loss program, sign me up.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Laundry… that was good!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Kana Smith says:

    Just this morning I drove by a carwash that had the following on their readerboard: “IRONY. THE OPPOSITE OF WRINKLY.” It’s that synchronicity with your title that caught my eye—and I’m glad. Might just have to dust of the ol’ Irony Board…


  15. This is really valuable, thanks!


  16. Lisa Bernard says:

    So clever, I love this! May I share a complementary metaphor? I told my daughter I had to dash to my study and write; I was ready to fold all the clean but wrinkled laundry of my character’s next scene. 🙂 Thank you for posting. Great stuff!


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