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Learn how Eric comes up with his jokes
Q. Where do you get your inspiration?
A. I come from a family of storytellers. Humor and laughing was valued. At family gatherings and family reunions people still stand up and take turns sharing humorous and fun stories about people and memories.

Q. How do you come up with ideas for jokes?
A. Lots of different ways. I always carry a notecard and a pen in my pocket in case I see something that might be useful in a joke or a story. It's better than writing on your hand, especially if you bathe once in a while.

For example, last summer while on a family vacation, I sat in the back of a mini-van as we drove through Ohio and just took notes. I got lots of ideas from the countryside, billboards, animals and stores.

Eric Arnold I also often use wordplay. If my jokes are limited to a subject matter, like the Gold Rush, I research the subject and get pertinent information, as well as the vocabulary. I get to know my material. I look for double meanings and words that rhyme. And then I just play around.

Most importantly, I look at the words from all angles and I'm patient.

Q. What suggestions do you have for kids who want to write jokes?
A. Pick a subject and pick out some words that are important to that subject. For example, let's say the subject is George Washington. I would choose words like cherry, tree, Delaware, father, country and colonies. I would look at double meanings and words that rhyme with the key words.

Be open to writing and re-writing. You won't get it on the first try. Someone once said, "I'm not a good writer, I'm a good re-writer." So give yourself time and allow yourself to make mistakes.

Be sure to consider timing. A good joke has to flow. It has to grab the reader. If it is too long or too wordy it will get bogged down.

Remember, you are the first and most important audience. You have to please yourself as a writer. That is the key.

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