Tag Archives: style

Cassell’s Guide To Written English by James Aitchison

I read this book because I wanted to improve my writing by gaining a better understanding of the formal structure of written English, so I would know what the rules are and when I am breaking them. The author makes the point that breaking the rules unknowingly will alienate some of your readers, undermine your authority in your chosen subject area, and just plain distract and annoy more pedantic types; so you'd better be aware of when you're doing it.

The book does an amicable job of covering the various different types of speech, sentence construction, use of rhythm in writing, avoiding repetition and monotony; and more. I found the sections on the deeper intricacies of phrasing almost sleep-inducing; "almost" being a shame because I was suffering quite bad insomnia at the time, and could have done with something that forcibly made me nod off.

The author makes seemingly arbitrary … Continue reading…

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The Elements Of Style by Strunk and White

I'm embarrassed to say that when I decided to become a writer, it was about 18 months before I got around to picking up this seminal work on the craft. To my folly, I had churned out two drafts of my first book, and hundreds of other pages of content for other works before even acquainting myself with the basic wisdom enshrined in this book.

This is a thin book, and deliberately so; one of its main points is that good writing should be concise. "Let every word tell." It's got lots of great advice, but maybe it's a bit too thin, so I suggest you also check out the Cassell's Guide To Written English too.

If you want to be taken seriously in the written word, Strunk & White is essential reading, if only so you can drop the name around other writers and boost your street cred.… Continue reading…

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