Sunday, April 1, 2012

A is for Authorly Abilities: Unfair Advantage on April First

Happy April Fool's Day, and happy first day of the A-Z Blogfest!

On this special day of fooling people, might I say that I'm SO VERY GLAD that I'm not good friends with a special effects make-up artist. I mean, can you even imagine how much of a freak-out factor they could create if they used their abilities on the unsuspecting that day? [Shivers at the thought of a "scary creature" hiding in my closet, one of my kids showing me a terrible "injury," or an awful "sickness."] I mean, seriously. Someone using those kinds of skillz to fool me could put me need of lifelong therapy.

As writers, we have just as powerful of a tool as their make-up kit: words. I mean what's our job description anyway? To make people believe something that isn't real. To create characters and convince people they are real. To create problems and situations and plots and convince people they really happened. Sometimes to even create a whole new world and convince people it is real.

We've had a lot of practice making people believe us.

Two years ago, I underestimated this power we wield, and wrote an April Fool's post on my personal blog about how my family and I were going to move 2,000 miles away. I put just the right amount of specific details mixed with fact to make it believable. I somehow managed to make my friends, neighbors, and family freak out, made my mom cry (although in all fairness, I told her it was a joke before she read it), and got 7 times the number of unique visitors to my blog that day than my previous record.

But it came with guilt. OH, THE GUILT! Apparently you shouldn't use the kinds of powers we have on the unsuspecting. (Although, incidentally, it did convince me that maybe I did actually have what it takes to write believably.) I don't know about you, but if my kid came home with a fake-but-looks-entirely-real bone sticking out of his/her arm from how he/she fell on the playground, I'd kinda sorta freak out.

So here is my warning to you. Practice responsible blogging, people. Lest the guilt consume you.



35 comments:

Valerie Hartman said...

I think I will put Blogging from A-Z April Challenge on my Bucket List, cuz I am kinda sorta starting to freak out about trying to do that this year. :/

Big kudos to you and I can't wait to see what you have in store. You are inspirational, I tell ya'.

cherie said...

Ha! That's pretty funny, though I can understand the chaos it caused. I don't ever do pranks. One year, my daughter, who was just introduced to the concept of April's Fool, decided to prank me. It was easy enough--she hid the bar of soap so that when I step in the shower, I wouldn't know where it was. But I was totally unsuspecting, and let me tell ya, I got pretty mad (not at her, since I didn't know then that she did it), but having to come out of the shower dripping wet to look for soap was not fun at all. Heh.

Jeff Hargett said...

"...a fake-but-looks-entirely-real bone sticking out of his/her arm..." - stuffing thought into idea bag for future reference... I've never been quite that elaborate, but you've got to admit that this day above all others spurs quite a bit of creative originality in folks... except for maybe wedding anniversaries. After 27 of them, originality becomes a bit of a struggle.

Nice post.

Kelley said...

Haha. Great post Peggy!

Even though I probably shouldn't be so tricky, I'm kinda curious if I could get people to believe me... :)

Gwen said...

Please write responsibly. I'll do my best, but some times it's paired with impaired vision due to late nite sessions, and then I can't make any promises XD

Rob Z Tobor said...

No one ever believes a word I write on my blog. I don't know why because some of it is true, quite a lot at times, but not all the time. Good luck getting to Z

caramiaamore said...

Great post Peggy!

We do have an amazing amount of power to persuade people with our words. As writers -- especially fiction writers -- have to have the ability to convince our readers to suspend their belief and get lost into our worlds.

Cara

Cristina said...

you crack me up!!! My kid has been hugging me all day and wishing me a happy April fool's day, LOL

Donna K. Weaver said...

Perhaps that's why I've never been a huge fan of April Fools. You see, I was a nasty liar as a little girl. It took me three years to clean up my act and get my parents to learn to trust me again. Trust, once betrayed, is very hard to get back again. I guess I'm scared to risk it.

Christine Rains said...

The guilt would get me too! Happy April 1st! :)

cookie said...

I can never think of any clever pranks for April Fool's. Maybe because I don't actively start thinking about it until the week before.

Annalisa Crawford said...

Haha great April Fool, but yes, maybe too much realism in it if your mum cried!

Michael Horvath said...

Many years ago I told my mother that my wife was pregnant. It was about a year after we had gotten married and she had no grandchildren yet. When I told her "April Fools" she cried and cried.

Now my calendar goes directly to April 2nd after March ends.

Sarah Pearson said...

At the risk of sounding sexist, I swear there isn't a woman in the land that would dare pull the stunt that Michael above me pulled on his mother!

Iain said...

My Wii Fit told me it was broken this morning. And then followed it up with: April Fool!
Even technology is getting in on the act!

Tasha Seegmiller said...

I think words have incredible power and I feel honored to get to wield that power according to my ability :)

prerna pickett said...

so very true.

The Golden Eagle said...

I was once in a dance summer camp where one of the students was a make-up artist; he did at least two elaborate make-ups on a couple of the other students. While it was hilarious at the time (and I still think it's funny), now I feel a bit bad for the parents . . .

Great start to the A-Z Challenge! :)


The Golden Eagle
The Eagle's Aerial Perspective

Carrie Butler said...

Well said! :)

...I tried to come up with a convincing lie for my comment, but I drew a blank. Consider yourself spared on this April Fools! *Grins*

Julie said...

Haha, your poor mom! But, it must have been a very convincing post LOL.

I am terrible at pranks and can never pull them off, I always start laughing or do something else silly to give myself away. I come from a family of pranksters though and am usually the one getting fooled.

Fun post!

Susanne Drazic said...

Enjoyed reading your blog post. My hubby pranked me this afternoon and my son pranked me when he got home from work. Had hoped to make it through the day without anyone getting me.
: )

Susanne
PUTTING WORDS DOWN ON PAPER

Tonja said...

My husband did an April Fools gag in writing today on facebook. I don't think it's good to do that in writing. I like deniability.

Jaime Morrow said...

I never actually remember that it's April Fool's Day until it's too late to pull any pranks. I have fallen for a few jokes, though :D

Kimberlee Turley said...

That's a great April fool's gag.

I was half tempted to tell my dad I was expecting his first grand child, but going back on something like that and telling him it's just a joke is cruel.

Leigh Covington said...

LOL! Oh.my.word! You never cease to amaze. This is hilarious. Now I wish I would have read it earlier and tried it on my own personal blog. Bahahaha! Funny. You are right about words being a powerful tool! LOVE IT!

Jo said...

LOL!! Oh snap.

I confess I'm not a big fan of April Fools Day. My dad was always a big prankster when I was growing up... and some of them were funny, but I think mostly we just learned that he couldn't always be trusted, and I've ended up really disliking a day where you can't trust anyone to be straight-up with you. I just sort of go into hibernation on April 1st! :)

Jo
In Which We Start Anew

Krista McLaughlin said...

That is hilarious! The only April fool's joke I've really played is sticking a post it under a computer mouse (so it doesn't work) and telling twenty people that their shoelaces were untied.

Shannon Lawrence said...

Haha, this reminds me of when I was a kid. We were on a road trip on the west coast, driving up Pacific Coast Highway. It was pitch black and we were in the woods, no road side lights. I managed to freak my parents out, despite the fact they knew I was full of it. I had them convinced the person behind us was some psycho killer. It was one of those things where they laughed, but the needle on the speedometer kept creeping up and the car got quieter and quieter. Now that was power!

It would definitely be freaky to have a makeup artist be a friend on April Fool's.

Aside from that, I'm your co-host for the A-to-Z! If you didn't get an email from me the other day, it may have gone in your spam box. Please feel free to contact me via my profile or reply to that email if you need anything or have any questions.

Shannon at The Warrior Muse, co-host of the 2012 #atozchallenge! Twitter: @AprilA2Z

Lan said...

Is it bad that your story made me want to try my own April Fools blog to see if I could trick a few people? Probably not the result you're looking for huh? I love this post. Words have so much power.

Tara Tyler said...

blogging is like a loooong first date, we dont really know each other well because we try not to show our bad sides...

best foot forward =)

Valentina Hepburn said...

Just goes to show, we've all got our 'tricky' side. It makes us more interesting, doesn't it?

Susanna Leonard Hill said...

I've never been a prankster precisely for that reason - i would feel bad if I really fooled someone :)

Cherie Reich said...

Aww! I think I would feel the guilt too if people believed a prank too much.

Cherie Reich - Author

Surrounded by Books Reviews

TerryLynnJohnson said...

okay, can't get that fake bone gag out of my head now. too funny!

Joshua said...

Responsible Blogging. Is that like writing while wearing rubber gloves (i.e. "the safe way")?