The power of a fart

No writing update because … I’m ashamed to say I still haven’t been writing. My move has been taking it out of me. But my need to write has been tugging at me in the last week more than any other time this past month or so, and my novel’s character keeps knocking on my brain, so starting … tomorrow? … I’m going to start writing again.

But this post isn’t about my lack of keyboard time. And, it’s not actually about farting, either; well, not really.

The power of a fart is how it can, apparently, help middle-grade-age boys get interested in reading.

A story in yesterday’s Washington Post talks about how Ray Sabini, a fourth-grade teacher, wrote a book about farts to try to get boys to read. The Washington Post article says that boys are still trailing girls in reading and that the gap is widening. Sabini went the fart route to get boys into reading, and his book Sweet Farts tells the story of a 9-year-old boy whose science fair invention turns fart smells into whatever you’d like them to be, including summer rose, cotton candy, etc. Sabini self-published the novel under the name Raymond Bean, and it was at No. 3 on Amazon’s children’s humor book list in October thanks to mostly word of mouth. Sabini is publishing a sequel, Sweet Farts: Rippin’ It Old School, next month.

I haven’t read Sabini’s book, but it sounds like a great, fun idea. And that’s what I think books should be — fun.

Books tell stories, and we stories to be entertained. Sure, for some of us, that entertainment might be scary, or sad, or thought-provoking, but for middle-grade-age boys, it’s farts … or whatever else will keep their attention away from videogames for a few minutes.

So, whatever you’re writing…

1. know your audience – know what they’re interested in and write about that, even if it is bodily functions.

2. make it fun – funny, deliciously devilish, nice and spooky, tear-jerking sad, whatever emotion the story stirs, make it stir it well.

What are you writing?

Write On!

7 Responses

  1. amkuska says:

    I almost didn’t read this because of the title, but I’m glad I did. I’m not going to add a dose of farting to my story, but I am going to make sure it’s just as snarky and fun as I mean it to be. Thanks for the pep talk! ^^

  2. Laura Rackham says:


    So glad you’re back to writing in whatever form.
    Your title made me HAVE to read it… I do, after all, work with elementary kids.
    Fun is the key…and I’m trying to revisit my own elementary self as I revise my picture book.

  3. Thanks, Amkuska and Laura!

    And, Amkuska, yeah, books don’t have to have farting to be fun. hahaha

    Good luck on your writing.

    And Laura, good luck on your revision. I miss the critique group.

  4. Natalie Aguirre says:

    I’ve heard it helps to write about things like farts for boys.

    I’ve been revising chapters 1 & 2 of my second book to try to get the correct balance of back story vs. just telling the story. It’s not the easiest.

  5. Nancy Bowden says:

    Sam, your posts are always fun to read! Your posts count as writing!

    I remember my girls telling me about the “Captain Underpants” book and I’d never heard of it. I thought the title was a terrible thing–and I assumed it was based on a really awful disgusting idea. (Okay, I had one in diapers at the time.) And then I saw boys reading it–and the rest of the books in the series like crazy.

    I don’t write comedy, so I probably wouldn’t use farting, ha ha, in my stories. But OH I WISH I had excellent funny ideas for boy books. Even with a son of my own and having known my hubbie since we were fifteen, what goes on in the mind of boys is mostly a mystery to me. Occasionally boys speak to their moms.

    Needless to say, my WIP is a realistic YA romance!

  6. Thanks for the compliment, Nancy. I’m glad you like this blog.

    Yeah, there’s probably not much farting in YA romance (unless you’re writing a particularly uncomfortable date scene 🙂 ), but that’s what I meant in the post. Make your writing fun, i.e. fun for the genre. So if you’re writing a YA romance, your teen girl readers are going to be looking for lots of the fun parts of teen romance, the longing looks, the teasing, and, of course, the final kissing.

    Even a tragedy is fun to the reader — fun to read because of its interesting story. I love the story of Romeo and Juliet. As tragic as it is, watching it — and even reading the play — is fun.

    So, with your writing, have fun!

  7. blahblahblah says:

    You would like my friend Pink Me…

    Farts must be a hot topic right now, she told me of two books recently for young men about farts. Their humor is, timeless.

What do you think?