Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Word Play

By Mark W. Danielson

Intuit (pronounced in-too-it) is a company that provides accounting software and other services for small businesses. They chose that name because it implies quality customer service, and in spite of some controversy and criticism, they appear to be doing well. That’s good, considering how our economy is struggling.

Intuit, the word, can also be short for intuition. One definition says intuition is the act where the mind perceives the agreement or disagreement of two ideas. A more common definition is it means understanding without apparent effort. But Intuition is also the name of a professional learning services company that focuses on financial markets, government, and life services. Companies love using word play like this because we notice it.

Along these lines comes the infamous “round tuit”. (pronounced ’round too-it) These little jewels are found in living rooms, kitchens, offices, bedrooms—pretty much wherever people hang out. Ever notice how people give you round tuits when you ask them to do something? Sooner or later, everyone gets a round tuit.
I was awarded some round tuits while in the Navy, and could trade them in whenever I found the time. Round tuits were handy when someone higher ranking than you asked why something wasn’t accomplished. Lacking any better explanation, you could could always say you never got a round tuit. Granted, this usually led to some remedial training, but at least you had the pleasure of collecting the round tuits from your subordinates. You see, a round tuit never expires, but I’m quite sure not everyone honors them.

Although everything I’ve said applies to daily life, it is especially true for writers. After researching their topics, authors must use their intuition to lead their characters into mayhem and back. Experience has proven that it’s easier to create chaos than to restore order and create an ending with its characters intact. Of course, sometimes characters must die. Just ask Leonardo Dicaprio about that. As best I recall, The Aviator was his last movie where his character survived. Apparently, his roles are to die for.

Some of the best word play is found in skits. Everyone over forty surely remembers Abbot and Costello’s Who’s on First skit. Saturday Night Live followed suit with numerous word play skits involving world leaders where their names are substituted for dialogue. It’s fun to involve word play, but not all audiences appreciate it.

The key to successful writing is making sure your content is suitable for wide audiences. Unless they are cute gift books, stories full of word play may not get published. So, authors, remember that if you’re struggling with words and you’re not that intuit, or you can’t seem to get a round tuit, then listen to your intuition and take a break from it.

’Nuff said.


Jean Henry Mead said...

Loved your post, Mark!

I've been meaning to write the Great American Novel but I've never gotten round tuit.

Mark W. Danielson said...

Thanks, Jean. I figured a lot of people could relate to this, but apparently they never got their round tuits either:) But don't give up on that Great American Novel. There's still plenty of time and we're all eagerly awaiting it.