One of my favorite articles to write is my annual contribution to the EMS1.com April Fool’s Day edition. I enjoy the chance to stretch my creative brain. Two of my past efforts:
April 1, 2009: Stethoscope Calibration
April 1, 2012: Prepare for the Looming Oxygen Shortage
When I prepare an April Fool’s Day post I follow these general steps:
1. Riff off of current events. I find inspiration in the big events of our time. Start with something familiar to readers like the new Pope, foibles in Congress, the sugary drinks ban in New York City, or the NCAA basketball tournament. Or pick a topic more narrow, but well known to your niche. For example, NREMT applications are due 3/31 – a well known date to EMS personnel.
2. Approach the topic from absurd point of view. I try to write from the point of view of “this is so crazy I couldn’t make it up.” Paramedics and EMTs know well from their experience that anything that could happen (or be inserted) can and has happened (or been inserted). Brainstorm unconventional ways to approach your topic. Instead of the Pope’s first mass homily, how about recapping the first papal grace he led at the Vatican dinner table. Or get blasphemous and recap his curse laden outburst when he stubbed his toe during his first nighttime walk to the papal bathroom.
3. Make up and attribute quotes to made up experts. Add realism to the article by quoting fake experts. Quotes are a great place for pseudo scientific mumbo jumbo, meaningless stats, and irrelevant data. Puff up the expert by making them an MD, PhD, CEO, President, or high ranking government official. For example, Dr. Hugh G. Wasteline told reporters that, “7 out of 10 Americans add a non-sugar sweetner to their sacchrine based colas.” I bet you didn’t know that.
4. Add people and place names congruent with the parody. Hugh G. Wasteline is a good expert for a diabetes or obesity article, but not as good for a congressional parody. Experts quoted in, “EMS Agency Deploys First Pain Detection K9” included Dr. Jack Russell and P.B. Griffon Vendeen (both dog breeds). The EMS agency was Baskerville, as in the Baskerville Hound.
Finally, in a parody you need to decide how much to giveaway. Do you play it straight the whole article, drop clues for the readers with people and place names, or do let the reader in on the joke at the end? That is up to you …
Share your April Fool’s Day parody article tips in the comments.
This post was inspired by a ProBlogger.com Writing Project – write a how to post.