“We struck oil!” he gushed.

images-1Preparing for a workshop on dialogue writing (2/28 in Knoxville), I’ve taken a wild detour into Tom Swifties, the fabulously inventive construction used by Dickens and perfected in the Tom Swift book series (1910 and onward) in which dialogue tags get subsumed into outrageous puns. There are hundreds, and hundreds more you can create with a few friends and some wine. Not that they’re recommended for high-style literary fiction, but they sure are fun. For more about the workshop (not Swifties), click here.

“I’ll have a martini,” Tom said dryly.
“That’s the last time I’ll stick my arm in a lion’s mouth,” the lion-tamer said off-handedly.
“I might as well be dead,” Tom croaked.
“They amputated at both ankles,” said Tom defeatedly.
“There’s room for one more,” he admitted.
“I gave him an haircut,” Tom said barbarously.
“I’m losing my hair,” Tom bawled.
“That is a whole lot of hay,” Tom said balefully.
“Now what did I want at the grocery store?” Tom asked listlessly.
“There must have been a power failure,” Tom said delightedly.
“I need a pencil sharpener,” Tom said bluntly.
“We have cause for a mutiny,” Tom said bountifully.
“Use your own toothbrush,” Tom bristled.
“It’s midnight,” Tom chimed.
“I find you guilty,” the judge said with conviction.
“But I didn’t go to Egypt,” said Tom, deep in denial.
“April was terrible and next month will be worse,” said Tom in dismay.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Tagged with: , ,
Posted in Under the Same Blue Sky, Writing
One comment on ““We struck oil!” he gushed.
  1. jimharb says:

    As the storm surged, and right before lightening struck to create a power outage, Tom said “I think these are delightful.”


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s


Sunday, May 6, 2pm reading from latest work at Hexagon Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN.

Thursday, May 10, 6-8 pm presentation on research on the historical novel, Blount County Library, Maryville, TN.

When We Were Strangers, Italian translation, to be presented in Pescasseroli, Italy, August 2018.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 2,017 other subscribers
%d bloggers like this: