Matt Mayfield
How I write riddles:
I have a couple of different ways of writing riddles. One is to just free associate a list of answers. As I'm doing that, I often get an image in mind or sometimes a phrase pops up that sounds intriguing. I'll then take that idea as a basis for the riddle and go from there. The other way is when I'm out hiking or driving to just look at things and try to see them in a different light. My forest fire riddle, for example, came from driving by the remains of a forest fire and looking at the trees and seeing them as mourners.
What I like in riddles:
For a while now, I've also been working hard to come up with riddles that are more image or metaphor oriented and less word play. After reading the discussions of the riddle of the week, I'm also trying hard to keep the riddles in a fantasy context and to avoid the "ugly American" syndrome of using lots of American slang.
My secret identity:
In real life, I run a computer company ( Flying Duck Computer ) in Frisco, Colorado which shares an office with Cloud Kingdom. I'm also the webmaster for CKG and a few other companies including Sudoku-USA which publishes Sudoku variation and Cryptic crossword (word search, actually) books.
My favorite riddle that I wrote:
A Cyclops stares from pale white face.
Earrings seven his visage grace.
Atop his head are five tattoos.
Ebon black his pair of shoes.
On his pale back six scars dug deep.
He felt no pain and did not weep.
His job to tumble, bounce and fall;
But he's no fool. No not at all!
I wrote this one at GenCon in Milwaukee, probably in '92 or '93. If you know the answer, you'll understand why it was somewhat fitting to come up with it there.
My favorite riddle that I didn't write:
This artist draws a bow
But not across his strings
Instead his string he plucks
And death's the note he brings.
This one went up at GenCon Indy 2004. I like the imagery of it and how the three lines all seem to involve music. Spoiler alert: they don't.
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