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caption-writing tips

puns

I think some purists would probably say that puns are cheap. In many cases they are right. Truly tortured puns make me groan inside. But that doesn’t mean they’re all bad. I really love clever ones like ‘Slouching Tiger Hid in Drag’. An artful, elegant, witty pun is brilliant. A bad pun is really unforgiveable.

I also think puns should be delivered deadpan, without a capitalised ‘nudge nudge’ or a hyphenated ‘wink’. Even worse is the exclamation mark – surely a sign that the writer is throwing everything they can at trying to sound funny. And nothing is so unfunny as someone trying too hard to sound funny.

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written by Christionion
15/01/09 1:22pm

newcomers check before you post

Read all of the captions before you post yours just in case someone has already written it. It makes you look like you are either incompetent or a cheater!

;)

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written by Ian M
16/01/09 8:04pm

rudeness

Some contributions invite us to poke fun at the person in the picture and that’s all good fun. I try to avoid being too rude though. The victim may be a friend or relative of the person who submitted the picture. Anyway, being cruel is not the same as being funny – doing a ‘Russell Brand’ doesn't win my respect. I think this applies to swearing too. Implied references are so much more fun than blunt crudeness.

comment 3 comments
written by Christionion
15/01/09 3:12pm

puns

Often they are just not punny.

comment 2 comments
written by Keith McClory
19/01/09 7:34pm

4r's review, research, write, re-write

It doesn't look like much has been added here for a while so I thought I would share a few things that I have found that have been really helpful.

Review:
*Look at the upcoming pictures. For those that may be unaware (I was for at least 2 1/2 months) you can click on the orangey upcoming photo timer box (in photos) and it will transport you to all upcoming photos.
*For each new picture analyse the detail, what is the focal point, surroundings, situation etc
*Also look for what's not there but could/should be.
*Link words or phrases to the picture i.e For a juggling dog picture you may link, Mutt, Fido, Circus, trick, toss

Research:
*Use a thesaurus to look for other words which could be used instead of the ones you thought of i.e Circus, show, festival, spectacle. http://www.thesaurus.com/ is quite good
*Look for phrases, film titles, idioms, songs linked to the words. http://idioms.thefreedictionary.com/ is particularly good.

Write:
*Try to be punchy and concise
*Read it to yourself and try to imagine you are reading it for the first time. Does it make sense? Is it clear what is meant? Or is it like one of those text messages that makes perfect sense to you but to no-one else.

Rewrite:
Once you have written your caption and submitted it is never too late to edit it, make it shorter, make it longer or even change it completely. Some of my best captions have come from last minute changes of mind. You may also see the general trend of the styles of captions people are voting for and realise you are totally off the mark (these types can however do quite well). Different styles may include puns, be scenario based, use wordplay or punchlines.

Hope this is helpful to at least one person out there.

Leroy

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written by Leroy Brown
05/02/15 11:47pm

re visit a caption.

We are a fickle bunch. Most people loose interest with a thread once a few days have passed.
Often its the late runners that issue fab captions but are over looked when we all move on.
Before the final tally is made, pop back to review the latest captions. You may just unlock a last minute jem or think of something you hadn't before.

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written by Lisa Nelson
03/03/12 4:08pm

be kind to thy fellow captioneer...

...Especially ones who vote a lot. (Anyone else notice how devilishly handsome Chris Beach's smile is?)

Make a kind effort to avoid using the "add comment" to give scathing reviews or pass critical judgment... If a caption doesn't tickle your fancy, simply pass over it. One is certainly entitled to their opinions but it is with congenial tact to keep the nasty ones within the privacy of the home. As Thumper's father once taught us, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all."

I understand this is a competitive site, which is a great part of the allure, though I truly believe it's primary objective is to be fun and amicable for all. ☺☻☺

comment one comment
written by SHA SHA
03/01/11 6:05pm

have a go at the highest common denominator...

Never be afraid to be too clever or elegant. A beautifully-worded, Gary Larson-esque, third person soliloqy can be just as rewarding as a sharp, quick pun...

And, I think, that way, if someone gets it, they deserve to get it... They earned it.

:-)

Muff

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written by Paul (Muff) Diver
30/09/09 11:10pm

tactical voting

PLEASE DO NOT TACTICAL VOTE. Everyone at some time has had an urge to tactical vote, but don't do it. Voting on everyone else's negatively will not only make you suspicious but affect the captioneer themselves, making them produce lower-quality captions.

My account cannot logout so I am unable to tactical vote. If the negative vote was scrapped the competition would be fairer, but also more fun.

comment 4 comments
written by Ryan M.
19/01/09 7:10pm

don't copy

Don't copy someone else's caption, even if it is a slight rewording of the caption. There is nothing worse than to see the winning caption being your caption with an extra exclamation mark.

Feel free to relate back to other captions, such as the Swan Dive Lake/Nutcracker, but don't just plagiarise someone else's idea.

comment one comment
written by Ryan M.
19/01/09 5:07pm

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