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Ten-Step Humor

There is no guaranteed formula for comedy, but sometimes following an established form creates the conditions for funny things to happen. One tried and tested comedic structure is the Ten-Step piece, in which an “expert” offers humorous advice to a reader, usually concerning an absurd topic.

Take, for instance, the following two example of Ten-Step humor from Write It:

Ten Ways To Annoy Your Siblings
by Branalynn B.

1. Make sure that their money often disappears...
2. Always eat the last bowl of cereal.
3. Give them a big kiss after eating hot peppers.
4. Everything is “their fault.” (Including global warming.)
5. Always hold on to that embarrassing picture of them in their diapers.
6. Make sure to ask if they got their homework done in front of your parents.
7. Don’t return anything you borrow of theirs.
8. Make sure they are reminded daily of their grades.
9. Say “no” before they even finish asking something.
10. And most importantly. Scare them regularly.
A Ten-Step Guide to Living with your Snowman
by Nathan T.
Step 1. First and foremost, make sure your snowman isn't melted.

Step 2. Make sure you never name your snowman Sunny. If you do, he might never want to go outside again.

Step 3. Be sure when you take your snowman to the doctor, that the doctor doesn’t use the ultraviolet light. This may have an effect on your snowman.

Step 4. Be sure to feed him snowballs and ice. Never feed him pepper or hot chocolate.

Step 5. Make sure you go ice-skating with your snowman. Never, ever, ever, play hot potato with him.

Step 6. Make sure you take your snowman to the North Pole on an air-conditioned plane, or else.

Step 7. Teach your snowman how to use the heater wisely, preferably not at all... or else.

Step 8. Make sure your snowman takes a bath in ONLY ice water, or the next thing you know, your snowman will BE the ice water.

Step 9. Your snowman probably should sleep in a freezer, or he might literally wet the bed.

Step 10. Last but not least, make sure your snowman knows the difference between snow and Ice Melt. If he doesn't know the difference, teach him right away or else it will be sayonara snowman.

Conclusion: If your snowman and you follow all of these steps, you guys should have a long DRY friendship.


Ten Different Ways to be The Fashion Queen Now . . . and Forever
by Ashley W.

1. Have a little snack
before you go,
to prevent rushing,
wrong sizes
and fashion crises.

2. Wear comfy shoes,
but stylish shoes
because finding that perfect button-down
could take hours
and why not look good
while you’re doing it?

3. Bring a friend with
to help you make all those important decisions
“This BaHa skirt
or these cropped jeans?”

4. Bring enough money with,
you wouldn’t want to pull an
“Um . . . I don't want that sweater anymore!”

5. Hit the sale rack.
I mean c’mon
who doesn’t love to get what they want

6. Never have a time limit.
When rushing occurs
there are many side effects
like returns and ugh . . .

7. Don’t be lazy.
Try things on.
Nobody likes to go home,
plan their outfit for Friday
and then when Friday comes
they realize that the sizes at that store
run smaller.

8. Never settle with something
if you’re hemming and hawing.
Leave it behind!
Those perfect denim capri's
are somewhere else
for you!

9. Make sure you already own something
to match what you’re buying
or you’re planning on buying something to match
because we wouldn’t want it to sit in the bottom of your drawer for such simple reason as
you don't have that shade of teal.

10. If you want to be a better shopper,
take my advice #’s one through nine.
You’re going to be not only the stylish one
but the one who saves time,
and aggravation!

Your Turn

Make a list of silly subjects for a ten-step piece. Brainstorm as many steps as you can. Then, begin narrowing your piece down to the ten funniest steps. Make each step count!


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