Why I despise the AP Stylebook

Rules, after all, were made to be broken, and this helpful handbook was made to be hurled against the wall.

In his own private axis of evil, Tom Curley is slowly trying to drive me mad. What? You’ve never heard of Tommy?

Trust me, you have. In fact, you probably use his book regularly if you’re a writer. That’s because he is the CEO, president and chief villain of The Associated Press, publishers of The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law.

Being an English major, I never really had a need for an AP Stylebook until I landed a gig in a communications department.

Suddenly, stupid and seemingly meaningless rules started being spewed at me by a legalistic editor whom I’ll call Eva. Eva was disgusted that I had actually earned a degree without knowing this stuff. I reminded Eva that I have other plans, like writing a novel, or a screenplay or a blurb in the Laughter is the Best Medicine section of The Reader’s Digest, and that this writing job is just a steppingstone on my garden path of life.

Fourteen years later, I’m still here, and although Eva is gone, I now have a well-worn copy of my own personal AP Stylebook. Not worn from use, however, but from the way I drop kick it across my office when it pisses me off.

To read the full story, log in.
Become a Ragan Insider member to read this article and all other archived content.
Sign up today

Already a member? Log in here.
Learn more about Ragan Insider.