Cambridge University says that two notebooks written by Charles Darwin with his ideas about evolution have been stolen. Witnesses described a suspect who started walking on all fours, then walked in a crouch, and finally walked upright.
How I wrote it:
I thought I could write a joke about this topic pretty easily because the two topic handles–“Charles Darwin” and “stolen”–seemed to have enough associations to link into punch lines.
I started with my Punch Line Maker #4: “Find a play on words in the topic.” I tried using wordplay to link one association of “Charles Darwin,” namely “evolution,” to an association of “stolen,” namely “theory of the crime.” The result was a joke that ended something like, “At first the police thought it was an inside job but their theory evolved.”
But I didn’t think that joke would be clear enough because “their theory evolved” seemed a little too far away from “theory of evolution.”
Then I started wondering whether “theory of evolution” was even the correct term. So I Googled it. When I did, this well-known illustration caught my eye:
And that illustration pointed me toward my Punch Line Maker #5: Visualize the topic. I wrote a punch line that links that pictorial representation of “evolution” to an association of “stolen,” “eyewitness description.”
Even though that illustration depicts five walking creatures, I only described three of them in my punch line because of my Joke Maximizer #10: Use the Rule of Three.
My original topic sentence didn’t include the word “evolution” so I went back and added it. That’s because the audience needs that concept firmly in their heads in order to make the mental connection to the walking creature illustration.