The literary greats lay the groundwork for your very own odd, funny masterpiece.

For generations, slumber parties have consisted of three things: junk food, prank phone calls and Mad Libs. The latter are simple tales with words omitted, for which one partygoer — unaware of the story — is prompted to provide replacements by part of speech, with hilarious results. Now adults can get in on the fun too. The pseudonymous Wright N. Poorly has assembled Lit Libs: Mash-Up a Classic! (Potter Style, $10), a collection of 40 excerpts from classic literature using the same fill-in-the-blank treatment. We invited a group of esteemed modern authors to have a go at blindly rewriting the classics.

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Edgar Allan Poe’s “The Tell-Tale Heart
By Joanne Sydney Lessner
It is impossible to say how first the idea entered my    nostril   , but, once conceived, it haunted me day and night. Object there was none. Passion there was none. I   endured    the    number cruncher    . He had never      trusted     me. He had never given me     Rolaids    .  For his   I had no desire. I think it was his armpit ! Yes, it was this! One of his resembled that of an   armadillo   — a pale  fetid   eye with  Spanx   over it.

Joanne Sydney Lessner is the author of Pandora’s Bottle (Flint Mine Press, $14), a novel inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine. Her play Critical Mass, about married opera critics and the tenor whose career they’ve ruined, opens in New York in October.




Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter
By Caroline Leavitt
When the   boss   young woman — the of this   cataclysm   — stood fully revealed before the   roadkill  , it seemed to be her first impulse to clasp the   bell-bottoms  closely to her   tibia ; not so much by an impulse of   radness  , as that she might thereby conceal a certain   pair of hot pants   , which was wrought or fastened into her   tube top   . On the breast of her   giana shirt   , in fine red cloth, surrounded with an elaborate embroidery and fantastic flourishes of gold thread, appeared  jordache jeans   .

Caroline Leavitt is the award-winning author of nine novels, including the upcoming Pictures of You (Algonquin Books, $14).




Jack London’s The Call of the Wild
By Mark Rotella
All day Buck brooded by the pool or roamed  groggily   about the  playground   … At times when he paused to contemplate the  core   of the   soccer goal   , he forgot the pain of it; and at such times he was aware of a great pride in himself — a pride than any he had yet experienced. He had killed   a mole   , the noblest game of all, and he had killed in the presence of the   charcoal grill   and   a pair of vans   .

Mark Rotella lives in New Jersey and is the author of the new book Amore:
The Story of Italian American Song
(Farrar, Straus and Giroux, $28).



Your turn!
Fill in the blanks with words or phrases as indicated to create your own spin on the Jules Verne classic 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea.

(Click the image below to view then print.)

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