Me head's exploding!
By Maureen Lynas
I've been trying to respond to a request from a very important person to make Prince Bob the frog's idiolect more... idiotic. Can you make him more like his dad? Like him, but not like him. As funny as him? Funnier? But maybe reference froggy stuff? Because Bob's a frog?
But King Fred is special. He punctuates everything with a food reference to his wife. When all is going well these are sweet - My little cup cake, my little chocolate muffin. When all is not well between them they're a little bit acerbic – my little lemon tart. And when he's concerned for her- my wobbly jelly, my soggy dumpling. I love him.
So, like that but not that. Can I do it?
This was an opportunity for research (not procrastination) into catchphrases and comedy characters and emotional responses. Yay!
Where to start? Well obviously with random clicks, coffee, chocolate biscuits and Captain Pugwash.
Jumping jellyfish! Would alliterative adjectives and nonsensicle nouns do the job? I dolloped my doubloons and coddled my catfish and set to work.
Soon the desk was littered with post it notes - Leaping leapfrogs, jumping jellybellies, burping bullfrogs, lunging lizards, niggling newts, pongy pondscum. The desk disappeared under a sea of yellow, but I wasn't convinced, they didn't really sound like him. After all, Bob was a prince not a Captain Pugwash of the pond.
Aha! He's a prince!
More clicks, more coffee, more biccys’s and, with a hey ho, and a tish tosh, there’s the Prince Regent. Well, roast my raisins, hurrah!
‘I say!’ Prince Bob could say. ‘What awfully bad luck to be turned into a frog. Egad and by jingo. What’s a fellow to do?'
Or, 'Dash it all, Hagatha, you old evil hag you, I feel like such a nincompoop now that I'm a frog. Thundering gherkins, I'm doomed, doomed, doomed! Stap me vitals!’
No, no, no. That’s not BOB! Does he even know how to stap his vitals? Does he even have any vitals? Perhaps I need another approach. That doesn't involve random clicking.
In Scott Bell's Revision and Editing he recommends escalating emotional reactions by three steps. Which means Prince Bob actually needs an appropriate word/phrase for each emotional reaction in each situation. And he needs them to escalate in intensity as the story and the challenges and the threat of death increase.
Holey Moley, Batman!
This is a big job!
I wondered whether I was getting too fussy but I yam what I yam (obsessed) so tally ho and on with the cunning plan to be the world’s expert on catchphrases.
I searched again. But this time for a list of emotions. And. Eureka! I discovered Mr Plutchick. Robert Plutchick devised the wheel of emotions below.
All I had to do was think of the words, plot them onto the wheel and bazinga! Job done. With a yay, yahoo and a yabadabadoo I set out to achieve my goal.
I considered frustration first, an emotion close to all of our hearts. Prince Bob suffers greatly from frustration. So, let’s find it on the wheel.
Nooooooooo! Drat and double drat. There is no frustration on the wheel. D’oh! It’s bound to be related to anger, Grrrrrrr, but I want it confirmed.
So I find Professor Parrott’s emotions by groups, which is too big to post here and not as pretty as Pluttchick's flower. But Zipardeedoodah! Frustration is on there. Awesome! I’m cooking on gas.
The escalation of intensity is - Frustration – Exasperation – Anger.
So all I have to do now is come up with three character specific, absolutely hilarious expressions which will have kids rolling about on the floor laughing, or running around the playground shouting them at each other.
For this emotion. Then, there's love and joy and hope and glee and fear and...
Sludgeballs and slugscum! This is hard.
Other posts by MaureenSeven Steps of Structure
How Big Is Your Slushpile
Ready to Publish? Are you? Are You Really?