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“As you know, most fisherman have the blandest, dumbest nicknames imaginable”

Mark Trail, 1/19/13

Here’s a free tip from a semi-professional writer person (and yes, the novel is coming along, everybody!): if anyone in your story says “As you know,” you’ve failed! You’re trying to wedge in some backstory in a “natural” way, but in the real world, people don’t go around telling each other things that they both already know. Try maybe introducing this information by having a character who doesn’t know it learn about it? Or even just have it conveyed by the omniscient authorial voice — there’s no shame in that, if you do it deftly!

Usually, of course, this clumsy technique is meant to introduce some information specific to the narrative at hand, but using it for a sweeping statement like “Most fishermen are good people” takes it to another level. I actually had never even considered that fishermen were more or less likely to be good than members of the population at large until ol’ Bluegill felt like he needed to make such a big deal about it; now I’m troubled by how little we really know about these sinister boot-wearing fish-murderers. Sure, they say their flies are made of fur, feather, thread, or other such material, but do we know for sure they aren’t made from human skin? It would be irresponsible not to speculate. If we went into Bluegill’s basement, would we find horrific kill-chamber? Almost certainly!

Slylock Fox, 1/19/13

Meanwhile, Slylock Fox continues to be the sleaziest comic in the newspaper. I don’t know if spraying a consenting partner with liquid out of your nose technically falls under the sexual category of “water sports,” but the satisfied, tongue-lolling expression on this duck makes it clear that this is no innocent bath.

Gil Thorp, 1/19/13

Speaking of bird perversions, you might think based on Scott’s thrilled expression in panel three that “the peacock” is what the kids are calling penises these days. Sadly, his girlfriend is just referring to an actual, albeit maybe magical, peacock.

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