I can’t be sure, but I think it was the “little horse’s tongue cleaning your butt” line that did it.
I was working on an email sequence for a bidet company.
(I was hoping that would give you complete context, but you probably still have questions)
My memory’s a little hazy, but I THINK we were given carte blanche when it came to humour.
Now, as a frequent visitor to “What the hell were you smoking when you wrote this?” country (I now have dual a passport), this delighted me no end.
I held nothing back in my first draft. I let my imagination go nuts and came up with all manner of weird gags related to the art of bottom buffing.
Anyway, turns out there’s carte blanche…
… and then there’s what I wrote.
I’m not one to boast (because someone as awesome at boasting as me shouldn’t have to), but…
I think I might have invented a new category of carte blanche-ness.
(I’m going to call it: “For the love of God, John. Is everything OK at home?”)
As devastated as I was about my “freshly brewed arse cappuccino” line not making the cut, my copy chief offered some hope:
“I’d much rather you go too far. It’s much easier to tone something down than force some personality into something dull.”
Thing is, I knew this already… I just didn’t think anyone else did.
It’s something I learned as a magician.
You see, it’s easy for a performer who can handle rough crowds to tone down their performance for a quieter audience.
But a quiet performer is gonna struggle to engage the rough crowd at a sports dinner or the heckling, violent, drunken madness that is the Wythenshawe Octogenarians Floristry Society.
This “down is easier than up” rule (The Gravity Principle?) is why I’m a big fan of writing shitty, brainstormy, throw-every-brain-fart-in-there first drafts.
During my first draft of anything, I throw in everything I think I MIGHT use – ideas, quotes, gags, whatever.
Selecting and deleting is so much easier than staring at a gap and wondering…
“How the hell am I gonna fill that?”
And you don’t have to worry about “killing your darlings”, as Stephen King wrote. Just copy any deleted ideas into Evernote, and save them for another email.
I suppose it comes down to which writing problem you’d rather have…
1) Too many ideas
2) Not enough ideas
And if you’re in camp number 1…