Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde’s brilliant literary detective, arrested at Verbotomy

In an unexpected, real-world plot twist, a copy — or perhaps a clone — of Thursday Next, Jasper Fforde‘s brilliant literary detective, has been arrested at Verbotomy. At this time the charges remain unclear, but it is apparent that Thursday, the genre-crossing heroine, has an addiction to wordplay and a habit of breaking the standard grammatical protocols that rule most fiction. In the past, she has also been seen in the company of many made-up words, or verboticisms, as they are called at Verbotomy. However, possession of these type of words would not normally result in charges, especially at Verbotomy where the recreational use of invented words is not only tolerated, but is strongly encouraged.

To test your creative wits and see how Verbotomy is played go to:

Jasper Fforde at

An alternative reading of the situation, may suggest that this is indeed as a hostage taking. There are no real charges (the game is free). And it appears that Thursday’s story is being offered up as a prize. The spokesperson for Verbotomy, artist and writer James Gang, vehemently denies this suggestion, saying that conditions for the release of Ms. Next, (see official stuff and contest rules below) are “fair and reasonable bail conditions, and should not in any way be considered to be a ransom note.” Mr. Gang has also denied any connection with the “Goliath Corporation“, and stated that the rumors circulating about potential destruction of the Ms. Next’s first book (The Eyre Affair) are completely false.”We would never knowingly destroy a book. Of course, because we are also an eco-friendly organization, we would never let a tree go to waste either. So if a book is going to be left unread, we will be obliged to put it into our recycling systems, so that it can be transformed into something useful — like paper towels.”

Author Jasper Fforde seems unperturbed by these literary threats. Perhaps he assumes that it is just hyperbole, and that the kidnapping of one his characters is really just the act of a desperate imagination. After all, in The Eyre Affair he wrote, “Literary detection and firearms don’t really go hand in hand.”

To play Verbotomy, and win a change to free Thursday Next, go to: and invent a word to fit today’s challenge.

About the book: “Eyre Affair”

In Jasper Fforde’s Great Britain, circa 1985, time travel is routine, cloning is a reality (dodos are the resurrected pet of choice), and literature is taken very, very seriously. England is a virtual police state where an aunt can get lost (literally) in a Wordsworth poem and forging Byronic verse is a punishable offense. All this is business as usual for Thursday Next, renowned Special Operative in literary detection. But when someone begins kidnapping characters from works of literature and plucks Jane Eyre from the pages of Bronte’s novel, Thursday is faced with the challenge of her career. Fforde’s ingenious fantasy-enhanced by a Web site that re-creates the world of the novel–unites intrigue with English literature in a delightfully witty mix.

Reviews: “Eyre Affair”
“Filled with clever wordplay, literary allusion and bibliowit, The Eyre Affair combines elements of Monty Python, Harry Potter, Stephen Hawking and Buffy the Vampire Slayer, but its quirky charm is all its own.” –The Wall Street Journal

“Jasper Fforde’s first novel, The Eyre Affair, is a spirited sendup of genre fiction-it’s part hardboiled mystery, part time-machine caper-that features a sassy, well-read ‘Special Operative in literary detection’ named Thursday Next, who will put you more in mind of Bridget Jones than Miss Marple. Fforde delivers almost every sentence with a sly wink, and he’s got an easy way with wordplay, trivia, and inside jokes…. Fforde’s verve is rarely less than infectious.” –The New York Times Book Review

“Fforde is endlessly inventive: his heroine’s utter unconcern about the strangeness of the world she inhabits keeps the reader perpetually double-taking as minor certainties of history, literature and cuisine go soggy in the corner of our eye. The audacity of the premise and its working out provides sudden leaps of understanding, many of them accompanied by wild fits of the giggles.”

Free Thursday Next! Win a copy of The Eyre Affair at Verbotomy
Yes, you can help free Thursday Next. Play Verbotomy. The top player of the week starting on September 21, 2009, will win a copy of the book!

Official Stuff:

Prize: The Eyre Affair (Paperback) by Jasper Fforde (Approximate Retail Value:  $15.00 US.)

Contest Start Date: September 21, 2009 at 12:01:00 am EDT
Contest End Date: September 27, 2009 at 11:59:00 pm EDT

For the Jasper Fforde: Eyre Affair weekly author ranking see: See:

For complete contest rules and regulations please see our Verbotomy Contest Rules and Regulations.

Be creative,


Playing with Bob Dylan’s Words on Verbotomy

Bob Dylan has just released his newest CD, “Together Through Life”. I just got it last night and it’s terrific — especially if you’re a Bob Dylan fan, like me. What really amazes me is that he is so consistently, and persistently creative.

Bob Dylan at

And so, to celebrate Dylan’s creative fire power, we are doing a Bob Dylan all week long at Verbotomy.  It will be fun for me because I will get to do a lot Bob Dylan drawings. It will be fun for you because you play with and around Dylan’s words. And there will be a prize too! Top player of the week will win a copy of Bob Dylan’s, “Together Through Life”.

The winner will be chosen based on the final stats on the Verbotomy Weekly Author Ranking for the week starting on Monday May 4, 2008.

By the way, if you have an idea for a Bob Dylan Verbotomy definition, post it on Verbotomy Definitions.

Here are some reviews of the “Together Through Life”

Rolling Stone interview with Bob Dylan
Rolling Stone’s David Fricke:
“Dylan…has never sounded as ravaged, pissed off and lusty, all at once, as he does on Together Through Life.” Four stars.

Huffington Post’s Mike Ragogna::
“As the world reinvents itself in these re-orienting times, Together Through Life’s neighborhood cappuccino club warmth instead offers shelter from the storm. It’s a tonic whose pace is moderate, music is organic, lyrics are intelligent, and feel is refreshingly human.”

San Francisco Chronicle’s Joel Selvin:
“The offhand, crudely informal atmosphere of the new Bob Dylan album, “Together Through Life,” is a deceit. Beneath the apparently tossed off blues tracks and carelessly drawled vocals lies a master of details and pungent, piquant observations, couched as old blues songs. The music feels fresh, organic, and Dylan imbues each song with a powerful sense of storytelling… All of the songs are sung by this ragged, weary, impossibly gravelly voice perfectly suited to the sensibilities of the pieces. Latter period Dylan is turning out to be some of his deepest, richest work. “Together Through Life” is another brilliant, sure-handed outing by one of the few certified greats still living up to his legend.”

Official Stuff:

Prize: Together Through Life (Deluxe Edition) by Bob Dylan (Approximate Retail Value:  $15.99 US.)

Contest Start Date: May 4, 2008 at 12:01:00 am EDT
Contest End Date: May 10, 2008 at 11:59:00 pm EDT

For the Bob Dylan weekly author ranking see: See:

For complete contest rules and regulations please see our Verbotomy Contest Rules and Regulations.

Be creative,


Petaj and Arrrteest Tie for First

It was a tie!!! arrrteest and petaj tied for the number one spot in our Johnny Bunko Adventure! Petaj started the week with blooprint for success. But arrrteest created his momentdumb and pursued her like a true perstinator. By midweek it looked like arrrteest was the guaranteed Kudosnagger! But then petaj laid a last minute bewdytrap and caught him! And so we have two winners!

See the final results here:

Thanks to Dan Pink and Johnny Bunko for inspiring such wonderful creativity.

And thanks to all our Verbotomists for creating the great words this week!

Be creative,

~ James

Johnny Bunko Rises Above His Momentdumb

DEFINITION: v. To stick to your plan even though you’ve realized it’s dumb n. A stupid plan, especially if it’s a career plan suggested by parents, teachers or guidance counselors who want you to be something that you’re not.

Do you think I should stick to the plan?

Today’s definition is inspired by Johnny Bunko’s Career Lesson # 1: “There is no plan”. See: “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” by Dan Pink. Thanks Dan! ~ James

VERBOTICISMS: (Invented words created by the Verbotomy Writers)

Momentdumb: /moe-ment-dum/ Jillian had an epiphany about her present course of action, but her momentdumb prevented her from avoiding the train wreck that was approaching. Etymology: momentum, an impelling force or strength + dumb, slow to learn or understand; lacking intellectual acuity Created by: arrrteest.

Comments on Momentdumb:

Mustang, 2008-04-28: 21:22:00
Best of the day!

Blooprint: /Blueprint/ It was a triumph of endurance over wit, when Marmaduke graduated from Lion tamer school without making any progress on his fear of felines. But his father had always wanted him to join the family circus and without question Marmaduke stuck to his blooprint. Etymology: blueprint (a plan) + blooper (a mistake) + blue (also a mistake) Created by: petaj.

Comments on Blooprint:

Jabberwocky, 2008-04-28: 15:40:00

Mustang, 2008-04-28: 21:21:00
Funny and a great verboticism!

OZZIEBOB, 2008-05-02: 05:41:00
good one!

Dysmission: /dÄ­s-mÄ­sh’É™n/ It had always been assumed that, as the eldest son, Iggy would go to law school, join his father’s firm and eventually assume the reins as senior partner, but even though his real name was Pontious Albert Poppagopolus III, Iggy knew that, for him, the law school route was a dysmission. Etymology: ‘dys,’ bad, as in dyspepsia, dysentery; mission, an assigned or self-imposed duty or task; calling; vocation. Created by: stache.

Schemaniatic: /sceem-may-neea-tik/ Being diagnosed with a chronic case of vertigo would have been enough to quash the hopes of most tightrope walkers but Tipsy was such a schemaniatic that she was determined to succeed. Etymology: scheme (plan) + mania (obsession) + schematic + tic (behavioral quirk) Created by: Jabberwocky.

To see more verboticisms for this definition go to:

Be Creative,


the create-a-word game

Definition Comments:

Verbotomy2008-04-28: 00:01:00

Today’s definition is inspired by Johnny Bunko’s Career Secret # 1: “There is no plan”. See: “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko” by Dan Pink. Thanks Dan! ~ James

Nosila2008-04-28: 22:24:00

I can usually get the new word by 10:00 pm MDT, but last night it was late and I eventually had to flake out to get up for work. Hope it’s “on time” tonight!Cheers!

Verbotomy2008-04-29: 00:18:00

Yes Nosila, I was working way too late last night. I got stuck between few words, or something like that… but eventually I got it done. Thanks! ~ James

Dan Pink Gives Johnny Bunko a Verbotomy

During the week of April 28 – May 4, 2008, we will be offering a prize to the most creative player of week. Author and creativity guru, Dan Pink (, has offered up an autographed copy of his newest book “The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You Will Ever Need”.

The winner will be chosen based on the final stats on the Verbotomy Weekly Author Ranking for the week starting on Monday April 28, 2008.

The 6 career secrets no one ever told you.

Adventures of Johnny Bunko by Dan Pink

Meet Johnny Bunko. He’s probably a lot like you. He did what everybody – parents, teachers, counselors — told him to do. But now, stuck at a dead-end job, he’s begun to suspect that what he thought he knew is just plain wrong. One bizarre night, Johnny meets Diana, the unlikeliest career advisor he’s ever seen. Part Cameron Diaz, part Barbara Eden, she reveals to Johnny the six essential lessons for thriving in the world of work

And check out the Johnny Bunko Trailer:

The Adventures of Johnny Bunko is America’s first business book in the Japanese comic format known as manga — and the last career guide you’ll ever need.

Johnny Bunko’s Six Career Secrets Get Verbotomized

Here are the top words created (so far…) for Johnny Bunko’s Six Career Secrets.

1. There is no plan
See: Do you think I should stick to the plan

2. Think strengths, not weaknesses.
See: The boss says I’m fast-tracking…

3. It’s not about you.
See: There is no “U” in “Team”

4. Persistence trumps talent.
See: Thursday’s Challenge…

5. Make excellent mistakes.
See: Friday’s Challenge…

6. Leave an imprint.
See: Bonus Monday Challenge…

For more creative ideas and inspiration see the Johnny Bunko webite at:

Official Stuff:

Prize: The Adventures of Johnny Bunko: The Last Career Guide You Will Ever Need, by Daniel Pink, Art by Rob Ten Pas, Trade Paperback Edition. (Approximate Retail Value $15.00 US.)
Contest Start Date: April 28, 2008 at 12:01:00 am EDT
Contest End Date: May 4, 2008 at 11:59:00 pm EDT

For The Johnny Bunko Weekly Author Ranking see:

For complete contest rules and regulations please see our Verbotomy Contest Rules and Regulations.