Finding a Shetland Pony in a Pile of Poop by @rcpjallen plus a #Giveaway

CAllen post

One of my grandma’s favorite sayings when an imminent disaster on our Indiana farm turned into a hilarious moment was, “Well, I just found a Shetland pony in that pile of poop.” Everyone would laugh. I didn’t, because I was too busy looking for the pony! It wasn’t until much later in life that I understood her metaphors, and eventually, how they would help me in my writing.

Let’s face it, we all poop. (If you don’t, please seek medical attention immediately!)  When I’m contemplating a humorous scene, poop is a metaphor for anything problematic or “not usually funny.”  For instance, a funeral, a physical or mental condition, bad grades, getting grounded, bullies, and a million other issues can all be poop.  The idea of ‘finding the Shetland pony’ takes us to the hilarious result – something that happened through the unexpected, through a person, place or thing that is not usually funny.

The poop and pony lesson here is that the potential for humor is in everything. It doesn’t have to start out as funny. Actually, a very funny situation can begin as something not funny at all.

For an example, come with me into my first book, How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won a Bubba-Sized Trophy.  In this story, Lamar likes a girl named Makeda.  When he goes to her house to visit, Makeda’s grandma is always on the porch.  Makeda has warned Lamar that her grandma is senile.

Senility is not funny. Lamar visits Makeda again, and Grandma has a bowl of peanuts in her lap.  She offers some to Lamar, and he eats them — a lot of them — totally forgetting, or ignoring what Makeda had told him about Grandma’s senility.  Here’s the ensuing conversation between Makeda and Lamar.


“Are you eating peanuts from Grandma’s bowl?”

I nod because I’ve got a mouth full of them.

“Didn’t I tell you she was senile?”

I nod again.

“Those peanuts used to be chocolate covered. Grandma sucks the chocolate off, then spits the nuts back in the bowl.  We try to stop her, but she keeps doing it.  How many have you eaten?”

 Hello, Shetland pony!

The idea is to create a well-developed storyline out of a poopy situation. And then, add a humorous punch at the end. Your question may be, “Where can I find these opportunities for humor?”

crystal allen
They are everywhere! Here are a few places to consider:

  1. 1. An incident from your childhood, or someone else’s; (Don’t mention real names, or you’ll become poop to them!)
  2. 2. Joke or riddle books;
  3. 3. “What if” ideas

Yep, it’s that easy! So, try taking my grandma’s famous farm advice, and remember – “Where there’s poop, there’s ponies!”


AllenC_headshotCrystal Allen is the author of How Lamar’s Bad Prank Won A Bubba-Sized Trophy, The Laura Line, and The Magnificent Mya Tibbs – Spirit Week Showdown, all published by Balzer and Bray.  Her next book, The Magnificent Mya Tibbs – The Wall of Fame Game, will launch on January 30, 2017. Crystal lives in Sugar Land, Texas with her husband, Reggie, two sons, Phillip and Joshua, and very loveable dog, Angel. You can follow Crystal at and visit her website


If you are registered for Kidlit Summer School, you can download a worksheet of Crystal’s writing exercise at our Exercise Book. This is a password-protected area — only members allowed! Please check your email for the password.

GIVEAWAY! Crystal is giving away a copy of  The Laura Line, and of The Magnificent Mya Tibbs – Spirit Week Showdown. For a chance to win, please leave a comment below.

Don’t miss your chance to get perfect attendance! Leave a comment on this post within the first 24 hours. Moderators have to approve first-time commenters, so your comment may not show up immediately.

215 comments on “Finding a Shetland Pony in a Pile of Poop by @rcpjallen plus a #Giveaway

  1. Funny stuff! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Doris Stone says:

    I’ll save this post for a long time. Thank you! This was great advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Kim Chaffee says:

    This post had me laughing out loud! Great advice, too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. kirsticall says:

    Thanks for a really unexpected post.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I love this idea. Thank you for sharing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. susanzonca says:

    What a hoot! I certainly won’t forget this lesson. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Will be mucking story stalls to see what can be turned up.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Caroline says:

    Hah! This metaphor will definitely but, er, sticking around in my head. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hilarious! I love the grandma on the porch example you included in the post. I also enjoyed hearing you in person at the Tucson Festival of Books last year! Thank you, Crystal!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Natalie Lynn Tanner says:

    The title of you post ALONE made my day! You’re absolutely right! Ideas can be found ANYWHERE!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. phyllis chery says:

    What a disgustingly brilliant way to bring humor to a story. The children will definitely love the idea of peanuts once covered with chocolate and begin to gag and giggle. Perfect.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Kathy Levy says:

    It’s poopalicious! Thanks for the great idea!

    Liked by 2 people

  13. Debbie Austin says:

    Oh my goodness! Thank you for a funny and inspirational post. Genius!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Tracey Brown says:

    Great passage from your book!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Kristen Browning says:

    Thanks for the funny post and for my new favorite expression! I have a few rough drafts that I’m hoping have a pony in them somewhere 🙂 Great advice on finding the humor.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Sharon Giltrow says:

    Thanks for you “not poopy” post now where is my pony?

    Liked by 1 person

  17. She set up the punchline so well … you don’t see it coming because the grandma being senile isn’t necessary going to suggest that the peanuts aren’t good. This is so great!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Kim Pfennigwerth says:

    Absolutely LOVED this post! Grandma and the peanuts is hilarious!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Kathy Levy says:

    Wonderful post. I really visualized your humor and loved it!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. You deserve an award for the best post title!
    Thanks for putting a smile in my day.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Tina Cho says:

    Hilarious! Thanks for the advice!

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Lynn Alpert says:

    Funny post Crystal!

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Marge Gower says:

    Thanks for the ‘poop’ on the peanuts. I’ll be careful from now on. Great points and funny article. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Keila Dawson says:

    Too funny! I must remembe your grandmother’s line. You add suchicken laugh out lour lines in your books. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Juli Caveny says:

    Kids can say the darndest things. I definitely agree with this post! As writers, we have to “tune in” to what made us smirk as kids and “rein” that same humor in for our readers. Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  26. angelcat2014 says:

    I love the metaphor. This gave me a great laugh today. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Karen Leiby Belli says:

    Great post! Reminded me of some ironic “momisms” growing up. thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Just the line “Are you eating peanuts from Grandma’s bowl?” is funny! But I can also see the rule of three working in this dialog to set up the reader for the Shetland Pony. I just looked up Lamar on Amazon and man he has a great voice. Thank you for sharing him.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. mkresk says:

    Oh my goodness, this is priceless. And awesome. Thanks a poopful!

    Liked by 1 person

  30. Dawn says:

    Funny and the yuck factor! Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

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