Insult Rounds - writercize #178 #AtoZChallenge

A couple of weeks ago as I was making my list of A to Z topics, I was in a bit of a funk after a series of grocery store run-ins with rather nutty people. 

First, there was the woman in line who scowled and coldly told me to keep "the children" (which read in her tone more like "the mutts," "the aliens," or "the disgusting small creatures I am horrified to be subjected to") away from her, despite the fact there were at least 15 feet and my body between her and my bitties. Guess she was allergic to kids.

Then, the next day was the incident of the drunken overgrown frat boy in his mid-40s or so who walked out of Trader Joe's at high noon, put his groceries in the trunk, and proceeded to walk to the wall in front of the car where I was loading my kids, drop his zipper and pee all over the wall. Again, noon. Broad daylight. On the side of a store with a very nicely equipped restroom inside.


I am not one for shouting or insults, and I was sufficiently shocked by both incidents to give dirty looks and leave it alone there, but I was wishing I had just the right barbs to throw back at both. Particularly the woman. The man I had plenty to say to, but was a little nervous he would turn and give the girls a bigger show than I was prepared for, so I honked as I drove away instead, and about a dozen people turned to stare and shout to him once my kids were safely out of the viewing area.

Instead, I kept my comebacks to both in my head.

Insults can be a lot of fun to write, and really spice up your dialogue. The literary king of insults, to me, was none other than William Shakespeare. If you are familiar with his insult prowess, you will recognize many of his insults were loosely tied to the character's career or place in society.

Here are a few examples, from the website Shakespeare Insults.

  • "I do desire we may be better strangers." - As We Like It
  • "The tartness of his face sours ripe grapes." - Corianus
  • "A knave; a rascal; an eater of broken meats; base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundred-pound, filthy, worsted-stocking knave; a lily-livered, action-taking knave, a whoreson, glass-gazing, super-serviceable finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that wouldst be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deniest the least syllable of thy addition." - King Lear (Ouch!!!)
  • "Thou art a Castilian King urinal!" - The Merry Wives of Windsor

There is also a fun Shakespearean insult randomizer at Shakespearean Insulter if you want to be surprised one insult at a time.

If you always thought Shakespeare was difficult to understand, look through his insults and you'll find he is actually pretty modern and understandable in his ability to cut a person down, and topics are common. He focuses on sex, food, intellect and potty talk for the majority of his jabs.

Now, mind you, I do not endorse going forward and insulting people in real life. However, I think that playing with insults in your writing and dialogue, even journaling, can inspire great creativity and release some of the stressors of everyday life!

image courtesy bobmobile photobucket
writercize: Pick a career type - real or imagined (i.e. actor, doctor, lawyer, teacher, plumber, housewife, farmer, dentist, superhero). 

Now create an insulting dialogue between two competitive people in that career field, using creative references to the career or character prototype in the exchange when possible.

If you can't make a dialogue, feel free to write insulting one-liners for the chosen career instead!

I have no doubt many of you will be able to knock this one out of the ballpark. It's definitely a challenge for me, but I look forward to some catharsis.

Leave your writercize as a comment and be sure to include a link to your blog so I can come visit you!

Note: I will delete any content that is offensive on the basis of religion, politics, age, sex, race or skin color. This is just for fun playing with career insults, so please keep it relatively light and on point.

Please click "read more" for writercizer sample response about an exchange between two mailmen.
writercizer sample response:

I have to come back for the dialogue because I just can't lock into a scene yet, so here are a few one-liners to tide you over!

  • "Too many licks on the old envelope slowing you down?"
  • "Put a stamp on it, will ya?!"
  • "You're the reason e-mail was invented."
  • "Don't make me go postal on you!"
  • "You know what you are? You're junk mail. Trash. A big bundle of shiny photos that no one will ever read, you unwanted, unread, good-for-nothing, paper-cut-inducing, hamster-cage-filler junk mail of a man. Go grow some content, then come back and talk to me."


  1. Likely the right barbs would have been wasted on them. For those folks, I usually just stick with the good ol four letter F word.

    The Brew Newb

    1. Yeah, I hear ya! I didn't think four letter words and four year olds mixed very well, though, so I bit my tongue and just told them that sometimes even grown-ups do rude, inappropriate things ... tough life lessons for little ones!


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