A scrapbook of stuff I'm reading / looking at / listening to / thinking about...
Posts tagged "adjectives"
Feb 04, 2013
Substitute ‘damn’ every time you’re inclined to write ‘very;’ your editor will delete it and the writing will be just as it should be.
Dec 01, 2011
» A defense of adverbs
Without “lightly,” we would be having breakfast at Tiffany with Holly Go. Without “darkly,” we would not know how we see through a glass. Without “merrily,” we would row, row, row a boat down a stream and think it a nightmare. We still wouldn’t give a damn, just as Rhett Butler didn’t in Margaret Mitchell’s original Gone With the Wind, but without the addition of “frankly” we wouldn’t have one of the top movie quotes of all time.
The Great Gatsby is littered with them…
Nov 03, 2011
» Writing tagline copy for movie posters
Article about Richard Goldman, a “theatrical print copywriter,” or: dude who writes taglines for movie posters, DVDs, etc.
Richard’s favorite was one he worked on with David for an ESPN documentary called “The Streak.” It was about a wrestling team that had never lost a match; it had “the longest running winning streak in the history of high school sports.” But “the tension was so unbelievable. If they lost they would be disgracing their grandparents. So my line was, ‘The more you win the more you have to lose.’”
I asked why that was his favorite.
“Because it’s NOT clever.”
David and I both tell him well, yes, it is clever.
“No, it’s truth! It’s true.”
“So truth trumps cleverness?”
Forgot to post this morning, reminded after this post from Frank on “clever.” Clever is one of my least favorite adjectives people use to describe my work. But, you can’t get too hung up on what adjectives people use, because on the whole, people aren’t very good with adjectives. (Or words in general, for that matter.) As Harper Lee wrote, “Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.” And as Tyler Durden says in Fight Club, “How’s that working out for you…being clever?”
Jun 20, 2011
David Ogilvy on his famous Rolls-Royce ad:
I didn’t write that headline, it’s a quotation from an article which had appeared about 20 years before in an English automobile magazine.
Good ad. All facts. No adjectives. All specific. Sold a lot of cars.
Of course, there are quite a few adjectives in the copy…
Jun 10, 2011
» The Origin Story of Mad Libs
From the NYTimes obit of Mad Libs creator, Leonard B. Stern:
Mad Libs was conceived in 1953, when Mr. Stern was writing a script for “The Honeymooners.” As he recounted in interviews afterward, he was casting about for a particular word. His friend Roger Price, a humor writer, happened by.
“I need an adjective,” Mr. Stern said.
Mr. Price obligingly supplied two: “clumsy” and “naked.”
Mr. Stern laughed out loud. The word was intended to describe the nose of Ralph Kramden’s boss.
The men realized they had a commodity. But no one would touch it: Mad Libs was too gamelike for book publishers and too booklike for game manufacturers. So in the late 1950s they published it themselves, storing the first printing — 14,000 copies — in the dining room of Mr. Price’s Manhattan apartment. He ate standing up for the next several months.
Dec 09, 2010
Indexed » Blog Archive » Best, cleanest, and cheapest grilled-pork steak available at this truck stop!
The @brainpicker Twitter feed cracks me up for this exact reason: Maria comes up with great stuff, but here’s a sampling of adjectives from the most current tweets:
beautiful, important, amazing, amazing, amazing, increasingly important, groundbreaking, priceless, timeless, fantastic, ambitious, brilliant, interesting
“Atticus told me to delete the adjectives and I’d have the facts.”
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