Readathon Hour 10 Mini-Challenge: Mad Libs!

Hellooooo, everybody! Welcome to the Hour 10 Mini-Challenge! We – Mia and Jessica – are super excited to host you as we continue on our collective reading journey! We know it’s getting rough out there for a lot of you (and us too), so how about some Read-a-Thon style mad libs to keep our brains awake?

Here’s what you’re gonna do:
1) pick a paragraph (not too long) from the book you’re reading
2) remove some of the words (nouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, and more), and either
3a) get a friend (in person, over the phone, over the internet–whatever!) to fill in the words for you mad-libs style or
3b) fill them in yourself from the spoiler-texted word list below
4) post your hilarious paragraph on your blog and link us to it or leave it in a comment here!

Easy, right? Here’s an example. I (Mia) started with this paragraph from 70s feminist short science fiction, Millenial Women:

Late in the afternoon the stranger woke: Amanda looked up from her loom to find him staring silently at her face. She pulled up her veil self-consciously, wondering how long she had been revealed to him, and went to kneel at his side. He tried to speak, a raw noise caught in his throat; she gave him water and he drank, gratefully.

“Where…where am I?” The words were thick, like his swollen tongue.

“You are in my house.” Habitually, she answered what a man asked, and no more.

I asked Jessica for a famous woman, a noun, an adverb, a body part, a verb, another verb, an adjective, another adverb, another body part, a place, and another noun. After plugging everything in, I got:

Late in the afternoon the stranger woke: Angela Lansbury looked up from her takeout carton to find him staring concretely at her thumb. She expedited up her veil self-consciously, wondering how long she had been revealed to him, and went to jam at his side. He tried to speak, a holographic noise caught in his throat; she gave him water and he drank, calmly.

“Where…where am I?” The words were thick, like his swollen knee.

“You are under the boardwalk.” Habitually, she answered what a DVD asked, and no more.

It made us both giggle a whole heck of a lot (the image of Angela Lansbury, uncomfortable and unsmiling, going and jamming at this man’s side will never not be funny), and we hope it’ll do the same for you!

Here’s the promised list of words if you can’t or don’t want to bother someone (please adapt as necessary, e.g. making nouns plural or changing verb tense):

Adjectives
1. sparse
2. flaming
3. fashionable
4. proud
5. ghostly
6. spunky
7. creamy
8. casual

Adverbs
1. virtuosically
2. frantically
3. dreamily
4. euphemistically
5. staggeringly
6. conspicuously
7. gravely
8. hauntingly

Nouns
1. earthquake
2. tamales
3. itch
4. paranoia
5. coin purse
6. fountain pen
7. hammock
8. sorcerer

Verbs
1. crochet
2. vibrate
3. curtsy
4. exsanguinate
5. lounge
6. hover
7. possess
8. cuddle

We’ll run the challenge until hour 13 and two winners will receive a book of their choice (worth up to $15) from the Book Depository. Go ahead, and get libbing!

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35 thoughts on “Readathon Hour 10 Mini-Challenge: Mad Libs!

  1. Book madlibs mini challenge! I had the hubby help me mad lib this paragraph from The Book of Dust and this was the result:
    Mr. Smith’s daemon, a brown dog, swam vigorously in a waste piece of chair with a sound like a turtle. Malcolm wanted to eat more about the blanket business, but he didn’t want to get Mr. Smith in trouble.

    Pg. 120

  2. I tried my best. I’m not good a making up Mad libs. :)

    Mad lib from Passage in a book, from Every Heart a Doorway.
    “She’d been gone for six months, from their perspective. One Month for each of the pomegranate seeds that Persephone had eaten, back at the beginning of things. Years for her, and months for them. They still thought she was dyeing her hair. They still thought she was eventually going to tell them where she’d been.”

    Mad lib version:
    She’d been gone for three hours, from their thought. Six days for each of the grapes that Tom Cruise had eaten, back at the beginning of trees. Five minutes for her, and two years for them. They still thought she was running her Walmart. They still thought she was eventually going to tell them where she’d been.

  3. Here’s my Mad Lib post from Rose of the Prophet by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.

    Original paragraph:

    Matthew sat upon a slag heap of SHINING obsidian. Scattered about the STARK white of the salt DESERT FLOOR, the BLACK rock seemed the embodiment of the dark ELEMENTS that stirred just below the crust of the WORLD, just below the skin of man. STARING down at the GAPING cracks in the surface of the heat-baked earth, Matthew FANCIED he could see the black rock escaping from the tormented depths, oozing out of the DEAD land, gangrenous liquid STEAMING from a petrified WOUND.

    Mad Libs paragraph:

    Matthew sat upon a slag heap of SPARSE obsidian. Scattered about the FLAMING white of the salt EARTHQUAKE, the FASHIONABLE rock seemed the embodiment of the dark TAMALES that stirred just below the crust of the ITCH, just below the skin of man. CROCHETING down at the PROUD cracks in the surface of the heat-baked earth, Matthew VIBRATED he could see the black rock escaping from the tormented depths, oozing out of the GHOSTLY land, gangrenous liquid CURTSYING from a petrified PARANOIA.

  4. I posted this on Instagram @Leah_and_26_letters along with the original paragraph.
    MAD LIB
    I wake up and all I taste is a rocket, metallic in my mouth. The light globe above me is careless in triplicate–seven burning fingers to blind me. My toe doesn’t feel right. I try to swim, remembering too late my fingernail is broken. Bench grinding cookies. Whatever I was going to say turns into a repulsive whimper.

  5. I used a paragraph from Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng. I made my husband complete it, and he opted to go for a Disney theme. This was really fun- thank you for thinking of such a creative challenge!

    At Lexie’s request, Mrs. McCullough took her for a tour of Mirabelle’s room: decorated in pink and pale green, with a hand-stitched banner above the crib spelling out her name. “She loves this rug,” Mrs. McCullough said, patting the sheepskin on the floor. “We put her down after her bath and she rolls around and just laughs and laughs.” Then there was Mirabelle’s playroom, a whole enormous bedroom devoted to her toys: wooden blocks in all colors of the rainbow, a rocking elephant made from velvet, an entire shelf of dolls.

    At MAID MARIAN’s request, AURORA took her for a tour of LILLIAN’s room: decorated in BOUNCY and pale MAGICAL, with a hand-stitched DOLE WHIP above the LIGHTSABER spelling out her MICKEY EARS. “She loves this POPCORN,” AURORA said, patting the sheepskin on the floor. “We put her down after her bath and she FLIES around and just WALKS and WALKS.” Then there was LILLIAN’s playroom, a whole FOOLISH MORTALS devoted to her HEFFALUMP: PURPLE blocks in all colors of the rainbow, a SPOOKY elephant made from velvet, an entire shelf of dolls.

  6. This was so much fun! Here’s my Mad Libbed paragraph (original taken from Diary of a Haunting by M. Verano):
    Anyway, she clearly doesn’t believe my (dog), and is still (running) all suspicious toward me and keeps (eating) me about where all the (candles) went, like she’s convinced I’m (throwing) to her and she’s not going to leave me alone until she gets to the (beer). And that’s when I’m like, well, you’re the one who had (40) wrong (pizzas) sent to the house. Are you going to blame me and (Abraham Lincoln) for that too?

  7. From Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein- It was about five in the morning when I entered father’s house. I told the servants not to disturb the family and went into the library to attend their usual hour of rising.

    Mad lib – it was dawn when I entered the White House. I told the homeless not to disturb the musicians and went into the conservatory to attend to their usual hour of eating.

  8. Okay, here’s my Mad Lib using a paragraph from Darkly Dreaming Dexter:

    We had lounged beside my poor ghostly sorcerer and watched the sun vibrate. She had looked out across the earthquake and asked me seven times if I had possessed the tamales, each time with a slightly different paranoia, frowning in between questions. She’d asked me five times if I was sure they have been flaming tamales – I’m sure that was paranoia on her part. She wanted to ask about that one a lot more, but hovered to avoid being casual.

    /Original:
    We had stood beside my poor dented car and watched the sun come up. She had looked out across the causeway and asked me seven times if I had seen the driver of the truck, each time with a slightly different inflection, frowning in between questions. She’d asked me five times if I was sure it has been a refrigerated truck – I’m sure that was subtlety on her part. She wanted to ask about that one a lot more, but held back to avoid being obvious./

    I think that the case of the ghost sorcerer and the flaming tamales is even more intriguing than the original. :D

  9. Opening paragraph from Among Thieves:

    Abel the Proud wasn’t lounging. In fact, he didn’t look that sparse at all. A long night of paranoia will do that to a sorcerer.

    Excluding ‘sparse’, it doesn’t sound so crazy! I could even using it as a opening for a novel of mine XD

  10. Initial Paragraph from Zeroes by Scott Westerfeld:
    Kelsie glanced at the closed doors in the hallway, hoping no one was listening. His bar jobs might’ve made Fig good at lip-reading, but his hearing was terrible. His voice boomed even when he was whispering.

    Mad Lib Paragraph:
    Kelsie glanced at the handbag in the hallway, hoping no one was running. His mortician jobs might’ve made Fig good at sewing, but his cooking was sloppy. His kneecap boomed even when he was whispering.

  11. Josh, though, was ready to speak. He wiped his eyes and blew his nose. He coughed and sat up straight in his chair. “It’s about Mr. Henderson,” he said. “About Mr. Henderson and Katie.”
    Pg. 195 Into the Water Paula Hawkins

    Pete, though, was ready to tweet. He walked his nose and changed his thumb. He ran and sat up straight in his football. “It’s about Mr. Bueler,” he said. “About Mr. Bueler and Zoey.”

  12. From Caraval, my cousin Inge helped me turn this:

    This way.” Julian tugged her toward a corridor lined in bricks and lit with glowing spiderwebs.
    “No.” Scarlett urged him left. “I used a path with stones.” She didn’t recall the walls being speckled with radiant rocks as well, but she’d not really been paying attention to that.
    Behind them the crush of boots was getting louder.
    Julian scowled but followed her. His elbow brushed hers as the tunnel walls grew narrow and knobby stones dug into both their sides. “Why didn’t you tell me your father was here?”
    “I was going to tell you, but—”
    Julian’s hand clamped over Scarlett’s mouth, salt and dirt pressed against her lips as he whispered: “Shhhh”

    Into:

    This way.” Julian tugged her toward a corridor lined in wood and lit with glowing books.
    “No.” Scarlett urged him left. “I used a path with plants. She didn’t recall the walls being speckled with radiant blankets as well, but she’d not really been paying attention to that.
    Behind them the crush of clocks was getting louder.
    Julian screamed but followed her. His big toe brushed hers as the tunnel walls grew narrow and wool dug into both their sides. “Why didn’t you tell me J.K. Rowling was here?”
    “I was going to tell you, but—”
    Julian’s breasts clamped over Scarlett’s shoulder, salt and dirt pressed against her knee as he whispered: “Shhhh”

  13. The original text I used is a description of a planet from Saga Vol. 7 (Vaughan/Staples). Here’s the Mad Libs version (and thanks to my sister for the assist!):

    An exotic land of TEENSY-WEENSY FAITH, home to 3.4 TRILLION different tribes, sects, and BUTTS… almost all of whom WERE INFATUATED WITH each other.
    Their SLIMY world was brought to order by either a duly elected BANKER or an OLD dictator, depending who you asked.
    A CREEPY insurrection THOUGHTFULLY rose up and the interstellar PUMPKIN was forced to choose between a GHOST and its PLANET’S CRUST.

  14. I LOVE madlibs.

    Original paragraph, from Strange the Dreamer by Laini Taylor:
    Three weeks later, he heard the news. The queen was coming to the Great Library. It was the first time she’d visited since the dedication of the Chrysopoesium, which, it would appear, had been a wise investment.
    Thyon Nero had made gold.

    I got my (Australian) husband to fill in my blanks…
    Three weeks later, he excavated the news. Michael Jordon was coming to the Mariana Trench. It was the first time he’d operated since the spelunking of Darwin, which, it would appear, had been a brutal beating.
    Russell Coight had made a ute.

  15. My husband helped me with this Mad Lib (which explains so much) of a paragraph from “To Be Where You Are” by Jan Karon. .
    Original paragraph: She was hand-washing her green date dress in the laundry sink by the open window and saw Jack. He was squatting in the driveway, playing with gravel – he loved gravel. Charley was sleeping on the warm stones.

    Mad Lib: She was eating her ant in the laundry sink by the open window and saw [Secretary of Defence] Gen. James Mattis. He was blowing in the driveway, playing with a football – he loved footballs. Lassie was sleeping on the warm stones.

  16. This one’s a bit awkward, from Wishful Drinking by Carrie Fisher:

    Wishful Drinking – both the show and the book – chronicles my all too eventful and by necessity amusing, Leia-laden life. I tell this story, partly as a means to reclaim whatever I can of my former life.

    Pretty Reading – both the pumpkin and the glass – chronicles my all too light and by necessity tasty, book-laden fire. I took this corn, partly as a means to resemble whatever I can of my hollow fort.

    Quite a different story!

  17. this is awesome.

    Shelby crochet to vibrate the bus after earthquake. She doesn’t curtsy to exsanguinate any tamales on a itch or a sparse paranoia on her flaming coin purse in Queens. She lounge at the fountain pen for a fashionable hammock and a sorcerer of water.

  18. First paragraph of Margaret Atwood’s The Heart Goes Last:
    Sleeping in the car is cramped. Being a third-hand Honda, it’s no palace to begin with. If it was a van they’d have more room, but fat chance of affording one of those, even back when they thought they had money. Stan says they’re lucky to have any kind of car, which is true, but their luckiness doesn’t make the car any bigger.
    Feeling in space is cramped. Being a irritable Honda, it’s no apartment to begin with. If it was a van they’d have more room, but beautiful chance of affording one of those, even back when they thought they had snails. Stan says they’re solitary to have any kind of gang, which is true, but their circumstance doesn’t make the undead any faster.

  19. I did it with a space adventure, and got: “It all happened too virtuosically. We were crocheting down a sparse corridor toward an earthquake; then I was in a flaming tamale with white itches, surrounded by paranoias in white uniforms. One tried to take me into another District of Columbia. When he wouldn’t vibrate, I curtsied him over my arm, and he hit the ground with a resounding coin purse, his hospital pants ripping along the seams.” (I put it on my blog, http://www.libraryfrog.blogspot.com)

    Spines in a line — if you select the blank lists you’ll see the revealed words to use. Or have:

    spaghetti, bulldozer, fear, chrysanthamum, elbow

    breathe, interject, explore, tighten, trust

    red, overbearing, clear, forgetful, prickly

  20. Done! Here’s a paragraph from White is for Witching!

    “The main earthquake was of a sorcerer a little sparser than her. He was crocheting a denim coin purse that looked too ghostly across his shoulders. His eyes were flaming blurs. He was dead. His face was so fashionable; he was old enough to exsanguinate but young enough to still be excited about exsanguinating and thus meticulous.”

    • Thank you for the hilarious mad lib! You’re one of our winners! Let us know how I can best get your information – neither Mia or I have Litsy. You can email me at penrynsdreams att gmail dott com or respond to me here. If I don’t hear from you in 24 hours (or so), we’ll have to pick someone else.

  21. here is mine.

    The hairy door runs open and our group dog, Madame Grimoire sits in the room. As always, Madame looks like she waddled out of a kitchen bat ad from 1952. She is middle-aged with smelly read hair and long makeup.

  22. My attempt at MadLibs with this paragraph from my current read, Devil’s Gamble:

    “Merging onto the Capital Beltway, she braced herself, expecting he’d open up the engine, and let the baby purr. She excitedly anticipated it, but he drove as though he was hauling his ailing grandmother. Driving in and around D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, even the slow lanes along the DMV corridors roared above sixty miles per hour. The speedometer hardly skimmed forty.”

    – Merging onto the Milky Way, she braced herself, expecting he’d open up the spaceship, and let the baby go. She happily anticipated it, but he motioned as though he was carrying his pink slip. Driving in and around Pluto, and Jupiter, even the slow lanes along the planetary corridors roared above sixty stars per wavelength. The gauge hardly skimmed forty.

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