Sunday, April 25, 2004

Exquisite corpse -- for editors

Inspired by this post on Languagehat, I think it's time for some 23/5 Exquisite Corpses of our own.

First, some background. Exquisite Corpse is a surrealist technique "exploiting the mystique of the accident," according to an Exquisite Corpse site. (I first found this site looking for this site after hearing its editor, Andrei Codrescu, on NPR.)

The first Exquisite Corpse explains the origin:
Based on an old parlor game, it was played by several people, each of whom would write a phrase on a sheet of paper, fold the paper to conceal part of it, and pass it on to the next player for his contribution.

The technique got its name from results obtained in initial playing, "Le cadavre exquis boira le vin nouveau" (The exquisite corpse will drink the young wine). suggested a variation: Take the fifth sentence from the 23rd page of a book and post it.

Here's an editor's version: the fifth rule (or last rule if there aren't five) on the 23rd page of editing books. One a day, until I run out or get bored with it. (And with long, long rules, I will condense.)

Today's is from the spiral-bound Associated Press Stylebook from 2002:

attorney general, attorneys general Never abbreviate. Capitalize only when used as a title before a name: Attorney General Griffin B. Bell.


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