Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #12: Advice Column

Spookymilk’s WGOM writer’s challenge is in week 12, and the number of contestants are getting fewer. The challenge? Write an advice column question and an advice column answer, though they won’t be related to one another.

The writing has been getting tougher, but once I came up with a direction to take, most of the work was polishing things off. (1st half; 2nd half) — my results were split, but in the end The Winner Group once again squeeked by with a victory.

First, the advice column answer (to choice #1):

Dear _________,
My relationship is falling apart. I think my partner may be messing around. Do I hire a private investigator? What do I do?

(CarFix-itGuys)
TY: Well, golly, we get all assortments of car repair self-help requests – let’s see if we can’t help you out with this one. First off, forget the private investigator. Virtually everything car-related can be done by the everyday guy (and gal) with minimal help, and the cost of a private investigator is one expense you can avoid. When you’re working with cars, you’re going to get messy, and you just need to have the right cleaner on hand at the door when you’re partner comes in from a long afternoon of puttering under the hood. GOJO is a popular hand cleaner (available online or at many automotive suppliers), Goop is an old stand-by, and Armor All makes a nice wipe. You can’t go wrong with a little elbow grease and any of those cleaners.

ROD: Ty, you doofus, she’s saying he’s messing around with another woman, not getting messy working on his car! Why don’t you buy the game Clue and play it a few times, huh? Yes dear, I WOULD hire a private investigator.

TY: Oh. Well, be that as it may, any of those cleaning products I mentioned will still serve you well.

ROD: For crying in the beer…I give up on you, Ty. Next letter, please!

I felt like Ty on this one, not wanting to write advice about relationships, but it’s intentional on my part. I thought it might be funny if the letter was sent to the wrong audience, and while working on it, I ended up making it a two-person response team. This let me have one person beat up the other over his ignorance. Any resemblance to Click and Clack is (pretty much) unintentional. Turns out any resemblance to a Ty and Rod already out there is definitely unintentional.

For the second part, here’s my letter to the advice columnist for the given answer:

Helpful Guy
I know that you’re really “Helpful Guy”, Joe Gorelick, and I’m going to see to it that Mrs. Berquette throws you off the school paper staff! You’ve been spreading rumors that Steve and I have broken up ever since you tried to grope me when you got drunk at the gravel pit last summer, and I’ve had enough. I love Steve, and have NEVER loved you. You’ve twisted every letter I’ve sent in, and I’m also tired of you bringing up my brother Lynn all the time (no, he is NOT gay!). Shirley said you’ve tried hitting on her too, and that you’re more of a douchebag than I know. This is serious Joe – knock this crap off right now! By the way, your advice always sucks. And if you call me “Confused” one more time, Steve’s going to put a baseball bat through your windshield!

Cindee Kristoffersen

Dear Confused:

I find it interesting you reference that piece of history when talking about the problems you’re having with your significant other. I would tender a guess that your situation is actually the exact opposite. Have you discussed this with your brother yet? He will continue to play a role in all this until things are settled. And as far as what your best friend said, perhaps you should examine closely how much weight you give to her opinions. Has she led you down the wrong path before? A lot of couples in your situation find success with therapy, whether they go alone or together. Remain assertive, but cautious. Good luck, and keep us posted!

My thought on this one was to do something unusual, like a school newspaper, and then write it so that the advice person appears to be selectively ignoring the text of the letter. By having the writer be a teenage girl, I could then make the columnist be a spurned admirer, and the writing style would be pretty easy. The letter needed to include mention of a brother and a best friend, of course. Responding to “Dear Confused” was the little icing on the top.

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2 responses to “Spookymilk Survivor Challenge #12: Advice Column

  1. All credit to my teammates at the end of the day. I could not come up with anything for anything. I submitted crap just so that at least there was a submission.

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