From a daily.com interview with Lemony Snicket. How to tell a good bedtime story.
1. Ask your child what the title should be. This stalls for time and spreads the blame if the story’s no good.
2. Name the villains after people who wronged you in high school.
3. When you get stuck, remember Raymond Chandler’s advice: “When in doubt, have two guys come through the door with guns.” The bedtime equivalent is a clumsy talking animal holding a tray of cream pies.
4. At the end of the story, all of the characters should be very, very tired.
5. Don’t bring your cocktail, because you might accidentally leave it and wake your child when you sneak back to retrieve it. Alternately, you may forget about it entirely and three days later someone will find a warm martini on your child’s dresser.
(Note: This has never, ever, ever happened to him.)