The FakeAPStyle twitter feed is one of the true jewels found on Twitter. A spoof of the AP Stylebook feed, it’s hilarious, in part because the authors are working journalists.
They know where journalism’s skeletons are buried, and the resulting humor doesn’t just entertain, it also cuts like a scalpel.
So when the same group produced a book — Write More Good — I had to read it.
I’m just glad I wasn’t drinking coffee when I did.
When writing the initial summary of the deceased’s accomplishments, try to accent the positive
(“. . . whose single ‘Pretty Hula Girl’ made it to #97 on the BillboardTop 100 in 1957”) over the infamous (“. . . was found walking naked down Hollywood Boulevard in 1974 carrying the severed head of a prostitute”), as the latter points are better discussed in detail within the body of the article.
And this gem on headline writing:
A good headline condenses the story in a short, easily grasped phrase without resorting to cheap gimmickry or undue cleverness. A great headline, however, is all about cheap gimmickry and undue cleverness.
Write More Good is fourteen chapters of laugh-inducing weirdness, and while it’s unlikely you’ll read it from start to finish like a novel, if you’re like most of my readers (ew), you’ll definitely find time to read the sections on Sex, Grammar and Celebrities (and I was kidding about one of those).
Perhaps the only thing standing in the way of this book’s success is the nature of its primary audience; most contemporary journalists are either on unemployment or writing HuffPo posts for free, so they’re unable to afford cat food, much less a book.
Still, writers of all stripes will probably want to give Write More Good a test drive (if you’re unwilling to unconditionally accept my recommendation, you can read an excerpt here).
Keep reading (and laughing), Tom Chandler