Friday Fiction and InMon too – Jokes

In a fit of serendipity, this week’s FF prompt fits so well with one of the InMon prompts that I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to combine them. Thanks to Roger for the picture too.

Once again, after the story, there’s a copy of the pre-edit version with a few notes about the changes. As ever, I’d love to see your comments and critiques, and any thoughts on the choice of genre in the heading.

(NOTES IN MY DEFENCE: Double bass is more words than cello; the boys are old enough to know about cellos but probably not double basses; the picture is an inspiration only … and they definitely aren’t guitars!)


 Jokes – Mainstream Fiction

“So, there’s two cellos, right?”


“And one cello says to the other, ‘I’ve got one broken string!’” Pause. “You geddit?”

“It’s not a joke.”


You’ve got one broken string. You’re one string short of a cello!” Matty laughs, and I find myself chuckling too. It’s not a bad joke and he’s right that Luke’s made-up one sucked.

“You don’t even know what a cello is,” Luke throws back. “You thought it was a guitar!”

We’ll have to step in soon, but just for this moment my husband and I share a secret smile, oddly proud of our boys.

Version 1:

“So, there’s two cellos, right?”


“And the one cello says to the other, ‘I’ve got one broken string!’” Pause. “You get it?” [many of the cuts were to remove words as draft 1 was 126. However, I also thought this conversation between two boys should have more casual language, hence the contractions]

“It’s not a joke. There’s nothing funny about that.” [tautology, and a good way to cut words!]


You’ve got one broken string. One string short of a cello, that’s you!” He laughs ,[I felt both boys needed names in their mother’s head, rather than ages.]  a little cruelly [I wanted to reduce the temperature a bit. The boys are arguing, but they are not being nasty to each other], but I find myself chuckling too. It’s not a bad joke for a ten year old and he’s right that Luke’s made up one didn’t work.

“You don’t even know what a cello is,” Luke snipes back. “You thought it was a guitar!”

We will have to step in soon, separate them before it gets nasty. But just for this moment, my husband and I share a secret smile, oddly proud of our boys.


Filed under Friday Fiction, Inspiration Monday, Writing

42 responses to “Friday Fiction and InMon too – Jokes

  1. Well done, Jennifer. Two challenges in one, or rather two for one. Expertly edited, as ever.

  2. I loved reading this and also thank you for including your pre-edited version. It is fascinating to see how your story developed and I think we can all learn from each others’ efforts. The edited version was fabulous with every word counting, just as each should.

  3. This was cute!! And add me to those happy you included the first version–I love seeing other writers’ processes 🙂

  4. Great job, Jennifer! You English types have us Americans on the run with those terrific stories and characters!!! I hope I catch up! Thanks for a great story!

  5. This sounds very home-y to me in a good way, just as people talk and act.

  6. Hi Jen,
    These seem like the kind of guys I’d enjoy having a beer with. Good lively dialog. Ron

  7. Dear Jen,
    We raised three boys. This exchange was indeed true to life. Those first attempts at joke telling are always a little pathetic. Thanks for sharing your process. Cello? Double bass? Sometimes a prompt is just a prompt.

    • Thanks Rochelle, coming from you with your experience, that really means a lot. And you’re right about the prompt too … a stringed instrument is a stringed instrument, right?!

  8. A great take on both prompts. Well done.

  9. Like the edition of the comments in brackets. Could develop that to help others, no?

  10. Dear Jen,

    I loved your story this week (including the lively in informative look into your editing process.) Isn’t it the way of young boys to try to ram home their assertion that the joke was funny by explaining it.

    Will Sebastian have a brother i wonder?



  11. Like how you explain the editing process…. Something to learn from.

  12. I like that you always deal with real subjects…funny little kids and not a bad joke for a ten year old.

  13. I enjoyed seeing the process of how you pared down the original. very nice.

  14. I’ve always been a string short, a card short of a deck, a brick short of a load, etc. Some have even said I’m not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Oh well, I can still cut the cheesecake.

    Maybe Luke can grow up to be a humorist yet.

  15. Ha, a cute piece, and off a nicely matched double prompt too. I’m on board with the others who said they enjoyed seeing your earlier version too – it’s really interesting seeing how pieces change edit to edit, and I wish writers would share more of their earlier drafts. Nice work!

  16. Cute! I love kid humor. I knew a kid once to whom the punchline to every joke was “cockroach.” And it was actually pretty funny.

    I enjoyed this. : )

  17. Pingback: Inspiration Monday: don’t touch the floor « BeKindRewrite

  18. a proud parent moment, to sit and watch what they do and wonder how we may have influenced it. well done. and i like “tautology.” is that a real word?

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