University of South Carolina

'Write More Good': USC Sumter professor joins several writers in spoof of AP Stylebook

By Page Ivey, pivey@mailbox.sc.edu, 803-777-3085

Andrew Kunka’s friends swear they can spot the USC Sumter English professor’s jokes in the spoof handbook “Write More Good.”

Most of the time, Kunka says, they are wrong.

The book was inspired by a Twitter feed started by Kunka and 14 friends across the country who call themselves The Bureau Chiefs. The feed “FakeAPStylebook” was started about two years ago and offers tips such as “Use citrus adjectives to describe the physiques of baseball players: juiced, lime, fresh-squeezed, limoncello, Orangina.” or “Never bury the lede. Cremation is the only way to make sure it's really dead.” (That one got retweeted more than 100 times.)

Kunka says one of his best contributions (the one that got the most retweets) was: “The antecedent for ‘she’ in ‘that's what she said’ is generally understood to be ‘your mom.’ ”

“I wrote one that is probably the second-most popular one we ever had measured by number of people who retweeted it,” Kunka said.

The idea started as a gag. One of Kunka’s friends noted that the editors of the real AP Stylebook have a Twitter feed in which they answers questions about how to punctuate a sentence, which words to capitalize and whether fundraiser is one word or hyphenated. (It’s one word, but that has changed over the years.)

Kunka’s group started out trying to make each other laugh with fake entries.

 It worked.

“They made us laugh, so we said, ‘Let’s start a Twitter feed,’ ” Kunka said. “We started it on Friday and by Monday had 10,000 followers.

“Now we have 250,000 followers.”

The real APStylebook has fewer than 93,000 Twitter followers.

For the book, however, the group decided to write something original rather than compile their tweets in a book. For that, The Bureau Chiefs got kudos from Roger Ebert in the “Fancy forward” to the book.

Kunka, 42, grew up in North Dakota and came to South Carolina for the teaching job at the Sumter regional campus. His wife teaches English at Francis Marion in Florence, S.C.

Kunka’s previous publications have examined post-traumatic stress disorder in modern British literature.

“That is not funny at all,” he said.

His next project related to his day job is about racial caricatures in comic books, but he and the other Bureau Chiefs are also working on a second Twitter feed “FakePewResearch” that shares unbelievable statistics such as “In 8% of all peek-a-boo games, Mommy does not come back.”

 

By Web Communications

Posted: 11/02/11 @ 12:00 AM | Updated: 11/10/11 @ 10:05 AM | Permalink

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