Good-Luck Writing: Fortune Cookies

Ever since I stated on this blog that during my writing life, I’ve tried just about every type of writing, a surprising number of you have asked me to be more specific.  For instance, reader Donna asked, “What exactly did you write?  Some of us might want to try off-beat things.”

First of all, Donna, I didn’t do a lot of off-beat writing.  Mostly I wrote short fillers and anecdotes, meditations, magazine articles, short stories, children’s stories and such.  Although, come to think of it, one of my first writing jobs was pretty off-beat.  I wrote fortunes for fortune cookies.  (And you thought all those little slips of paper baked in the cookies were truly inspired.  Ha!)

Generic notes of hope and good luck were the easiest to write:

  • Wonderful news is on the way.
  • Opportunity will come knocking.  Be ready to open the door.
  • What you lost, you will soon find.

Trouble is, all those things had already been said.  Better were messages of encouragement:

  • Only put off until tomorrow what you don’t care if you ever get done.
  • Don’t follow the beaten path.  Forge a new trail for those who come after you.
  • Congratulations!  You brought opportunity to your  door.

Still, the most fun—though too often rejected—were the off-beat fortunes.  (You’ll like these, Donna!)

  • The best fortune is in another cookie.
  • You will be hungry again in an hour.
  • You’re seeking life guidance from a cookie?  Forget it!

Good News:  Writing fortunes is fun!

Bad News: Writing good, original, acceptable fortunes is hard!

Unfortunately, in this day of blog excerpts and online comments, there isn’t a lot of call for paid fortune cookie writers. Still, companies do sometimes contract a group of freelancers to write new messages to add to their data base.  I got my job by answering such a call in a San Francisco newspaper.  Of course, that was back in the Dark Ages before the internet.  But if you’re interested, check around online and see if anyone is hiring.

“I thought opportunity was knocking…But it turned out to be a woodpecker on the roof!”
—Ziggy

About kaystrom

Kay Marshall Strom, who am I? Well, I’m a traveler, a railer against social injustice, a passionate citizen of the world. I’m a follower of Jesus Christ. I’m a 21st century abolitionist who speaks out against slavery of all kinds. I am a beach walker and a gardener and the off-key singer of songs. I’m a wife, a mother, a sister, a daughter, a friend. Most people, though, know me as a writer and a speaker. So here is a bit more about that part of my life: Of my 43 published books, seventeen have been translated into foreign languages, and two have been optioned for movies. My writing credits include magazine articles, books for children, short stories, television scripts and two prize-winning screenplays. I love to write, and speak, about topics close to my heart. I speak at seminars, retreats, writer’s conferences, and special events throughout the country. And because I enjoy travel, I even speak on cruise ships. Because I don’t see how a writer can really reflect another people and land without spending time there, I’ve been trekking through India, China, Indonesia, Cambodia, Nepal, Sudan, Senegal, Morocco, Tunisia, and Egypt, Japan and South Korea, tape recorder and camera in hand, to gather stories from the world-wide family of God. Thanks to my “virtual friendship” with John Newton, 17th century slave ship captain turned preacher, I traveled through Ireland. In West Africa I toured an old slave fortress off the coast and saw a tiny set of baby manacles bolted to the wall. I was struck dumb. From that horror came a story question, and from that question, my foray into fiction: The Grace in Africa trilogy. Come join me as I travel and rail against injustice. Maybe you will choose to be a 21st century abolitionist too.
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6 Responses to Good-Luck Writing: Fortune Cookies

  1. Jean Stewart says:

    What fun! Even in fortune cookie messages your personality shines. Miss you. Love…

  2. kaystrom says:

    Awww… Fun writing, eh?

  3. B.J. Taylor says:

    I received the best “fortune” of all by meeting you and Dan at Cal State Long Beach and learning about writing from you two pros. The Best!

  4. kaystrom says:

    What a sweet comment! We feel the same way about you. <3

  5. Alice W. says:

    I don’t write but love those who do, my type of reading that is; fortune cookies, fiction, non fiction or any other that I can curl up, lose myself in on a cold winters evening or even a hot summers night. More power and blessings to all you writers.

  6. kaystrom says:

    And how could we do it without readers? Thank you, Alice. We love you!

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