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Searching for the Perfectly Awful Blog Post

Some of my students write blog posts as part of their writing component in class. I have been working on instructions and practice to show how blog posts are different than academic writing, and how online writing is different than the stuff they scribble on paper.

book coverThen I start reading a book “How to Not Write Bad” by Ben Yagoda (amazon). The basic premise is that over 20 years and 10,000 essays he has corrected, the errors fall into about 50 different rules. What he applies to academic writing, I would like to apply to blog post writing.

So for my first exercise, I am going to create the Absolute Worst Blog Post (aka The Perfectly Awful Blog Post). This in an amalgamation of the 500 blog posts from my students this year, along with remembered errors from years past.

This weekend I will write up all the rules violated, and add those in another post. But for now, I ask you for suggestions to make this worse, before we get to the rules. The post itself is complete fiction.

The 群馬 Bean Festival

Have you ever been to the 群馬 Bean Festival? I went to the 群馬 Bean Festival last weekend with my friend, my family and my dog. It was really hot and crowded, but it was so cool! We stayed all day and ate lots of beans, and watched the Mr. Bean Man sing songs and dance. Then we ate ice cream that was bean flavored. My dog Mitchi loved to run around the grounds too. Then we went home. I recommend you the 群馬 Bean Festival, it was great! Why don’t you go to the Bean Festival?

More later on this, a list coming, but hope to make it longer. The list is common errors Japanese university students make when writing blog posts, so it is pretty specific, but hopefully we can then make it modular for other situations.

3 thoughts on “Searching for the Perfectly Awful Blog Post”

  1. Kevin, this is a brilliant post and a big thanks for letting us know about Ben Yagoda’s book. I’m especially happy to find out that there’s a Kindle version of it. As for your blog post, that kind of writing seems awfully familiar. You seem to have a lot of elements in there that my students do as well. Looking forward to the follow up.

  2. Some things I would add to make it worse:
    -paragraph return after each line
    -two-byte characters somewhere in the text
    -something in ALL CAPS
    -no space after a few of the periods or commas
    -Change the first line to ‘Do you know 群馬 Bean Festival?’
    -take out all your plural marking
    -remove half of the past tense marking
    -work in an ‘I was very exciting!’
    -spell at least two words as katakana English
    -change the dog’s name to Rakki (Lucky) or Rashi (Lassie)

    Unfortunately, I believe there are more suggestions, I’m just too depressed to think of them.

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