Suggestions and questions are welcome and encouraged.


December 18, 1994 92  PLOTBOILERS  Tell us what excerpts from celebrities' novels might look like.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Robert Pack  Text file | Post PDF 
April 9, 1995 108  NEAR MISSES  Come up with the first drafts of great lines in history, entertainment or literature.  HIS CUL LIT   Text file  Joseph Romm  Text file 
May 7, 1995 112  POOP FICTION  Come up with the opening lines of a book so bad it will compel you to stop reading immediately; maximum 50 words.  LIT   Text file  Kevin Mellema  Text file 
October 13, 1996 187  RACE TO THE FINISH LINE  In 75 words or fewer, continue in a productive fashion the story line of the provided real first lines of famous literary works.  LIT   Text file  Jonathan Paul
Susan Reese 
Text file 
August 31, 1997 233  SEEKING PARODY  Take any paragraph appearing on Page A1 of today's Washington Post, and rewrite it in the style of any famous writer.  WAS LIT   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
July 5, 1998 277  LIFE IN THE BLURBS  Come up a simple plot summary to help attract the modern audience to any classic work of fiction. It must be literally true and defensible.  LIT   Text file  Elden Carnahan  Text file 
March 7, 1999 312  BOOKS AND BOOKS  Combine any two works of literature--no movies or TV--into one, give its title and describe it in a brief, appealing blurb that might appear in Publishers' WeeklyLIT   Text file  Mike Long  Text file 
April 30, 2000 347
Capital Pun-ishment  Take an expression, or a lyric for a song, or any recognizable line of prose, and make it the punchline of an awful pun.  JOK LIT   Text file  Bill Strider  Text file 
June 18, 2000 354
Everyone's a Critic  Adopt the style of a famous writer and review any of the provided dishes.  LIT   Text file  Phil Frankenfeld  Text file 
September 17, 2000 367
Future Schlock  Come up with a line that will surely not appear in an upcoming work.  LIT   Text file  Chuck Smith  Text file 
March 25, 2001 394
Life in the Blurbs  Come up with a blurb used to sell a real or imagined book or movie that would be likely to have the opposite of the intended effect.  LIT MOV   Text file  Christina Mach  Text file 
April 22, 2001 398
Animal Magnetism  Make great literature and/or a significant expression of the human condition out of the provided randomly-selected words. Use whatever punctuation you choose and any of the words, but only those words, and use them only once.  LIT CUL WOR   Text file  Brian Foster  Text file 
October 7, 2001 422
Taught Language  Come up with lessons learned from (1) the movies, (2) popular songs, (3) romance novels or (4) the comics page.  MOV MUS LIT COM   Text file  Bob Sorensen  Text file 
February 24, 2002 442
Titletales  Take any real book or movie, change one word slightly, and describe the resulting new product.  LIT MOV WOR   Text file  Jeffrey Martin  Text file 
June 30, 2002 460
Pompous Assets  Come up with the first paragraph of a review of a real book or movie, past or present, that is narcissistic, pretentious, and self-aggrandizing.  LIT MOV   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
July 21, 2002 463
Retell Sales  Give us the beginning of any well-known story as retold by any famous person, living or dead, except for Ronald ReaganLIT   Text file  Jonathan Paul  Text file 
October 27, 2002 477
A Load of Bulwer  Give us the beginning of incompetently written novel.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Brian Barrett
Chuck Smith 
Text file (pub 11-10-02)
Text file (pub 11-24-02) 
January 5, 2003 487
Eee! Rotica  Come with a passage in a novel that ineptly describes hanky-panky.  LIT   Text file  Marc Leibert  Text file 
February 23, 2003 494
Quote-idian  Take any extremely banal piece of familiar writing and rewrite it in the style of a famous writer, poet or lyricist.  LIT POE   Text file  Jeff Brechlin  Text file 
September 21, 2003 524  Around Things Moving  Take the title of any book or movie, rearrange the words, and explain what the new book or movie is about.  LIT MOV WOR   Text file | Post PDF  Russell Beland  Text file | Post PDF 
February 1, 2004 543  Read Our Leaps  Fill any readers of The Washington Post on Sunday, Feb. 29, 2032, on: (a) the day's lead news story; (b) the highest-flying company and its business; (c) the best-selling self-help book; and/or (d) the day's winning Style Invitational entry.  WAS BUS LIT STY HIS   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 25, 2004 568  Tome Deftness  Make a pun or similar wordplay on a book title.  WOR LIT   Text file  Wayne Rodgers  Text file 
August 29, 2004 573  Thine Ad Goest Here  Propose biblical and other literary passages, poems, etc., that could benefit from product placement.  POE REL LIT BUS   Text file  Peter Metrinko  Text file 
May 15, 2005 610  MASH  Find two well-known movies, plays, or TV shows whose title have a significant word in common, combine their titles, and describe the hybrid.  MOV LIT TEL WOR   Text file  Paul Whittemore  Text file 
November 20, 2005 637  Full Steam Ahead  Write a steamy passage of a novel that's ostensibly by some well-known person who isn't a novelist.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Jeff Brechlin  Text file | Post PDF 
February 19, 2006 650  King Us  Give us a scenario for a horror novel based on an everyday item.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Russell Beland  Text file | Post PDF 
February 26, 2006 651  Show Us Some Character  Add a character to a book or movie and tell us what happens in it.  LIT MOV   Text file | Post PDF  Jay Shuck  Text file | Post PDF 
October 8, 2006 683  What a Piece of Work  String together words in a single scene, or two consecutive scenes, of "Hamlet" to produce one or more funny sentences, preferably unrelated to the original content. The words must appear in the order in which they appear in the play.  LIT WOR   Text file  Dennis Lindsay  Text file 
November 12, 2006 688  Making Short Work  Write a humorous six-word story.  LIT WOR   Text file  Michael Levy  Text file 
December 24, 2006 694  Hopelessly Ever After  Offer up a gloomy interpretation of any ungloomy piece of writing.  LIT   Text file  Cy Gardner  Text file 
February 11, 2007 701  Untitlement  Here are the covers for what just might be Bob Staake's next four books. What are they called and what are they about?  CAR ART LIT   Text file  Andrea Kelly  Text file 
April 1, 2007 707  What Would YOU Do?  Use only the words appearing in "The Cat in the Hat" to create your own work of "literature" of no more than 75 words.  WOR LIT   Text file  Chris Doyle  Text file 
July 29, 2007 724  Abridged Too Far  Sum up a book, play or movie in a humorous rhyming verse of two to four lines.  POE LIT MOV   Text file  Ellen Raphaeli  Text file 
June 21, 2008 770  A Knack for Anachronism  Take a famous historical moment, literary passage, or movie scene and place it in an entirely different age.  HIS LIT MOV   Text file  Rick Haynes
Peter Metrinko 
Text file 
July 5, 2008 772  Make It Simile, Stupid  Translate a sentence or two of literature or other good writing so that "Los Angeles residents under 40" can appreciate it.  LAN LIT CUL   Text file  Mike Ostapiej  Text file 
October 25, 2008 788  The Back End of a Bulwer  Give us a comically terrible ending of a novel.  LIT   Text file  LuAnn Bishop  Text file 
August 22, 2009 831  A Big To-Do  Name a "bucket list" item for a well-known real or fictional character.  LIT   Text file | Post e-version  Rick Haynes  Text file | Post e-version 
November 14, 2009 843  Prefrains  Provide a sentence or two of lead-in to the first line of a well-known book, poem, or song.  LIT MUS POE   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
December 5, 2009 846  Season's gratings  Write a brief (50 words or fewer) holiday letter from a personage from past or present, or from fiction.  HIS LIT   Text file  Peter Metrinko  Text file 
January 9, 2010 851  Going to the shrink  Downsize the title of a book, movie or play to make it smaller or less momentous and describe it.  LIT MOV   Text file  Adam Beland
Russell Beland 
Text file 
February 13, 2010 856  Titled Puerility  Here are some untitled book covers. For any of them, tell us a title and synopsis of a book that will never be published.  ART LIT   Text file  Jeffrey Contompasis  Text file 
September 18, 2011 937  Staake it to him  Write a caption for any of the five pages or details pictured from some of Bob's more than 50 picture books.  CAP ART LIT   Text file  Stephen Dudzik  Text file 
November 13, 2011 945  Laugh-baked ideas  Cleverly depict a person, event or phenomenon of the 21st century real history as well as scenes from movies, books, videos, etc. using edible materials, and send us a photo of your creation.  PIX HIS MOV LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Alethea Dopart
Kevin Dopart 
Text file | Post PDF 
May 6, 2012 970  Couple it  Take a line from any well-known poem and pair it with your own second line to make a humorous couplet.  POE LIT   Text file | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post e-version 
May 13, 2012 971  Double booking  Come up with a double book with a humorous connection; the first title must be an actual book, while the other may be your own fictitious title or a second real book.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF  Jeff Brechlin  Text file | Post PDF 
June 3, 2012 974  Eat our dust!  Write a limerick humorously describing a book, play, movie, or TV show.  LIM LIT TEL MOV POE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Chris Doyle
Text file | Post PDF (pub 7-1-12)
Text file (pub 8-19-12) 
August 23, 2015 1137  Be a published author!  Give us a spicy title for a boring book, real or imagined.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Amy Harris  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 15, 2018 1275  That is the question  Choose a line from Shakespeare (or a significant part of a line) and pair it with a question that the line could humorously answer. (Conversational textLIT QUE   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Brendan Beary  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 24, 2019 1324  Chapter and worse  Tell or describe a Bible story, or another classical or folk tale, very briefly (75 words would be lengthy) in the voice of a particular author or other person.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Frank Osen  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 21, 2019 1328  Hooked on 'classic': a do-over  Summarize a book or play by any author, or retell a scene (or even a moment) from one, in the style of some other person.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mark Raffman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
April 28, 2019 1329  Shakespeare + Thee: Tailgaters  Select any line from a work by Shakespeare (poetry or prose) and pair it with your own line to create a humorous rhyming couplet.  LIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Marni Penning Coleman  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version 
March 22, 2020 1376  Get thee to a funnery  Add a character (or more) to a Shakespeare play and supply some resulting dialogue. (Conversational textLIT   Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version  Mike Gips  Text file | Post PDF | Post e-version