/ Article

Get your free email address:  you@dowse.com

Back to
Fiction Hub



S. Joan Popek's has had many articles published in print and electronic publications, including Writer's Digest, Fiction Writer, Southern New Mexico Magazine, Southern New Mexico Online, Writer's Hall, The Candlelight Poetry Journal, Feelings, FYI, The Advocate and Eclipsing. Many of her works have appeared in several small press anthologies and have won awards in the Best of the WEB contest by Predators & Editors, Eternity's Best of the Month contest and the Alien Songs Contest/Anthology.

S. Joan Popek's newest book, Jump Start Your Career With Electronic Publishers, offers even more advice to new writers. Coming in June 2001 at Crossroadspub.com. http://www.crossroadspub.com. This book belongs on every writer's bookshelf. For more information about S. Joan Popek and her writing, wisit her website at http://www.sjoanpopekcom

Feghoot? What the heck is that? Feghoots are Fun in the Pun!
S. Joan Popek

Ferdinand Feghoot made his debut in the "Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction" as the star of the series, "Through Time and Space with Ferdinand Feghoot" for years. Ferdinad was brought to life by Reginald Bretnor (1911-1992) under the pen name, Grendel Briarton. These short-short science fiction stories all ended with a pun. Hence, short stories ending with a PUNchline, became known as Feghoots.

Okay, that's the history. So what are they really? A true Feghoot is typically a science fiction short-short story under usually around 300 words but can be stretched to about 500 or so ending in a funny pun that elicits a chuckle or a groan from the reader. They have been referred to as "shaggy dog" stories and (for obvious reasons) "groaners." You know the type. Feghoots are the kind of stories you hear at the bar as you giggle into your martini. Over the years, the genre has faded, and today a Feghoot doesn't necessarily have to be science fiction.

Mark Rapacioli, Editor of PLANET RELISH E-ZINE says, "A Feghoot isn't just a short-short story with a joke at the end. A Feghoot is a short-short story that ends in a very groan-worthy pun."

A Feghoot is a complete story though, not just a joke. Like flash fiction, it must have a plot (however thin), characters, a beginning, middle and end, and the ideal Feghoot will give clues during the story that make guessing the punch line more fun. One of the most famous puns is attributed to Dorothy Parker when during a word challenge, she was given the word "horticulture" and challenged to turn it into a phrase. She blurted, "You can lead a horticulture, but you can't make her think."

Feghoots are stories ending in puns which are frequently Spooneristic, but not always. You can use "the switch," (turning a well known phrase or proverb into a pun) not a Spoonerism. "Okay, Ms. Smarty Pants." you might think. "So what does Spooneristic mean?"

Reverend William Archibald Spooner(1844-1930)who taught at Oxford University often inadvertently mixed up his words and phrases. The name "Spoonerism" came from his last name. One of the most famous examples of his twisted tongue was when he toasted the Queen during a Royal visit. Raising his glass, he said, "To our queer old Dean" That's a Spoonerism!

To make an intentional Spoonerism, you interchange the two sounds from the beginning of two different words/syllables like "Jelly Beans" could become "Belly Jeans" (okay, I'm reaching here, folks, but you get the idea). When you exchange the sounds, if you are writing them, you would spell the new word correctly. For instance, Isaac Asimov loved puns, and one of his best (in my opinion) is, "A Niche in time saves Stein." This Feghoot is a great example of Spoonerism & the pun combined. Notice how the spelling of "stitch" and "Nine" are corrected from the original "A stitch in time saves nine" adage. You can also make a Spooner with one word that has two or more syllables, but that's a lot tougher.

So, now that you have been bored silly with my explanation of what a Feghoot is, the burning question is, "Can you write one?" (There is a method to my madness--boring you silly is a trick to shift your mind into punster mode, and hopefully it drove you to the liquor cabinet for a refill to even more enhance your creative abilities for this little challenge.) Feghoots challenge your vocabulary and help you learn to make every word count in your writing just like flash fiction does because of the word limits.

Well, if you can write one, (and I have faith that you can) why not pen a winning Feghoot right now and have fun while you write?

If you still need more examples, or just want to have a groaning good time, visit these sites for some belly laughs.



If you are interested in reading original groaners from the fellow who started all of this madness, Reginald Bretnor, here is a list of some of his work. You can find most of them listed online at the more popular bookstores.

Gilpin's Space (1986) Schimmelhorn's Gold (1986) Collections The Compleate Feghoot (1975) (Yes, that's spelled right. Jo) The Schimmelhorn File (1979) The Timeless Tales of Reginald Bretnor (1997)

Or just type in "Feghoots" in any search engine and find a plethora of gut splitting sites.

Looking for another example of a feghoot? Read one of S. Joan Popek's very own delightful feghoots Princess Penelope And The Cook'

Then go to Fiction Hub and read some more good fiction.


Search the web



Back to:

Dowse Fiction Hub Contents
Dowse Science Fiction and Fantasy Hub
Dowse home - Web Gateway for Creative Minds


We hope you have enjoyed this page. Please go back to the Fiction Hub Contents to read another story or for more information. We believe you will also find that the Dowse Science Fiction Hub has much of interest.


Computing & Internet
Fantasy art
Myths & Legends
News & Info
Science Fiction
Security online
Web Makers Tools
Writing & Publishing

. How to make
  your start page
. Your free email
. Message Bds
   & communities

. Suggest links
. Link to us

. About dowse
. Search the web


Copyright © 2001 dowse.com
all rights reserved


Dowse Fiction