It is an excellent easy to follow refresher in the fundamentals of writing. Jul 28, Amy rated it really liked it This book has a lot of great tips for revising in particular: what words and phrases to watch for, things to remove, how to make your writing flow better. Worse still, I had originally bought it for my son: to encourage him in his writing and give him a few pointers However, having made the start and being favourably impressed with the introduction: He says that there are five keys to great writing: 1.
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Pros: Grammar information with context! My lack of grammar knowledge may seem a bit odd given that I write for a living. For the most part I intuited what I needed to know; I learned it by reading a whole lot of books and imitating what I read.
But this still left me fuzzy on some points, and, well, lets just say that every writer has some room to improve. I bought a couple of grammar-related books, but somehow I could never bring myself to read one of them. Grammar seemed so dull — until I made an accidental purchase. It never made it onto my extensive wish list of writing books.
Okay, so I have a perverse fascination with writing books. It happens. Is there a step program for this? It sat on my shelves for a couple of months. But then one day I picked it up and decided to give it a try. But — Grammar? It always went in one ear and out the other.
Complex sentences, compound-complex sentences, participial phrases, subordinate… ah, never mind. Who cares? Those are all just dry terms. Except they do. They key is context, and Mr. Wilbers provides that in abundance. Fascinating, I know. All those little commas, colons, semi-colons, dashes, and periods.
Wilbers goes into great detail on them. What does it do to the rhythm of your words? What does it do for meaning and clarity? How does each punctuation mark influence the way a reader reads your work?
He does the same for sentence types. How can you use your choice of sentence structure to emphasize your point? Which sort of phrase allows you to end a sentence with style and flourish? How can you keep long, elaborate sentences from getting out of control? Which sentence type can create a feeling of expectancy or an engaging opening? Which sentence type allows you to emphasize similarities between things? In other words, how can you use the full range of techniques at your disposal to make your point clearly, succinctly, and persuasively?
If you are writing without using the full range of punctuation marks available to you, you are like a musician who never gets the timing right. No matter how fascinating the material, pages of grammar is the last thing you want to read. Those are his five keys to great writing. He also talks about purpose, point of view, organization, coherence, drafting, revising, and on and on. Not sure how to write a persuasive essay? Instead of telling you to quit using the passive voice entirely as many writers and teachers will , he explains the particular circumstances under which passive voice works well.
He breaks the massive task of revision down into a simple checklist that you handle in multiple passes, so you never have to deal with more than a couple of things at a time. His advice is level-headed, useful, and entertaining—and anyone who can make grammar entertaining has my respect! Audience This book is aimed primarily at non-fiction writers; many of its tips apply to everything from persuasive essays to business writing.
However, Wilbers does explain his tips in relation to narrative writing as well. No matter the type of writing you do, this book will improve your style.
During the course of reading this book I wrote one story and three essays. Each one came out better and more powerful than the last.
Keys to Great Writing
"Keys to Great Writing," Stephen Wilbers
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